Excellent Everton brighten up the day

By Paul Traill 04/11/2018 19comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 3 - 1 Brighton & Hove Albion

With Katja driving into Liverpool anyway to attend a baby shower, I spared Dan the hassle of diverting to mine to pick me up and got a lift over for the game early doors. I got to the pub in time to catch most of the first half of the Bournemouth vs Manchester United match and got chatting to a good bloke at the bar. It’s things like that which going the match are all about. I’ll probably never see the fella again, and I never got his name, but for a good hour or so until the rest of the lads arrived, we were best mates as we talked all things Everton while watching the match.

We were a bit surprised to see that there were no changes to either the starting XI or the substitutes bench as we felt maybe Walcott might make way for Lookman or even Tosun, but the team remained, and I’m delighted it was the correct decision by Marco Silva as Everton, especially in the second half, ripped Brighton apart in what was as fine a 45 minutes I’ve seen from the Blues in some time.

It was very autumnal and blustery at the game with grey clouds up ahead. Everton attacked towards the Park End in the first half against a Brighton team who had just completed three successive victories, and featured Ex-Evertonian Shane Duffy, and veteran attacker Glen Murray. David Coote (anyone heard of him?) officiated.

Prior to kick-off, there was a period of silence to commemorate Armistice Day, and the sad passing of Vichai Raksriaksorn and the others who perished in the awful helicopter crash outside the King Power stadium a week ago. The tribute was also observed on the pitch by Fahred Moshiri and Bill Kenwright.

We began well and took the game to Brighton. Gylfi Sigurdsson, usually so reliable in such situations, twice missed the target when well placed inside the penalty areal You got the impression that the visitors game plan was to try and contain us and hit us on the counter attack and make good use of set plays. It just so happened that WE then went and scored from one of their corner kicks and what a goal it was too.

A good header out by Kurt Zouma was picked up by the alert Gylfi Sigurdsson. He ran the ball on and found Bernard who had taken up a good position out on the left. He ran, and then found Gylfi who, as he often does, had covered great ground. The Icelander took the ball on a little further and slipped in Richarlison who finished brilliantly first time with an unstoppable drive past Mat Ryan. A great team goal on the counter-attack by Everton and on 26 minutes Everton had a deserved lead.

Following that, our play was okay, but we failed to meaningfully build on the lead. At 1-0 you are always a little vulnerable. Idrissa Gana Gueye got back well to make a good tackle, but Everton failed to defend the resulting corner kick well, and a well-worked corner kick from Brighton caught Everton out, and Solly March’s delivery was quite easily headed in by Lewis Dunk. Brighton levelled and The Seagulls supporters enjoyed the remainder of the half in good voice. At the break, it was frustrating to be level having been ahead, but you were optimistic we could finish the job in the second half.

The half-time ‘Hit The Bar’ competition was interesting in that Yakubu, returning as a guest for the day (and looking fitter now than he ever did when he played for us!) was allowed to have a go on behalf of the contestant though failed to really fare any better. He was a great striker, Yakubu, and it was a shame he got that bad injury away at Spurs. I remember that day well as we were a little late getting through the turnstyles and by the time we’d arrived in the ground he’d already been stretchered off and he never returned the same.

Gary and I were chatting about the day we signed James Beattie back in early 2005 on our infamous march to the Champions League (quite sad that this is essentially our highlight of the last 23 years). I remember that night as we were playing Portsmouth at home and Gary was telling us that James Beattie was a poor signing and that we should have signed Yakubu instead. What great foresight that turned out to be! That evening, Yakubu scored a screamer for Portsmouth, but Everton won deep into injury time courtesy of an excellent Leon Osman strike. “I missed the last train home that day as I spent too long celebrating in The Blue House” said Gary.

The second half performance from Everton was outstanding and we ran out deserved winners. Everton supporters were a bit aggrieved with the officiating from David Coote in the first half, and I feel I have to point out he gave Brighton very little in the second half, but that wasn’t why we won, we were just too good. Well too good in fact.

We began the second half like we meant business and nearly had the lead again early on when Idrissa Gana Gueuye hit the inside of the post with a great effort from the edge of the box. Barnard got to the rebound and put it across the box for Walcott who couldn’t convert at the back post. Too much pace on the cross possibly as it seemed a pretty easy chance.

But Everton were cooking and it didn’t take long for Seamus Coleman to put us ahead with a sweetly struck shot from about 20 yards. The moment he hit it, you knew it was arrowing into the corner. He celebrated wildly, charging off towards the Gwladys Street while cupping his ears. I don’t know if that was some sort of retaliation to some of his critics of late, though I haven’t heard much in-game criticism of Seamus, only really online. Maybe he was letting out a bit of frustration having returned from such a lengthy injury, maybe a bit of both. If it was aimed at his detractors, then it was with some justification, I feel. It was a long way back from injury and it can’t have been easy for the lad. Let’s hope he can kick on a bit now as today’s performance was much improved from the last few games.

Though Brighton offered minimal threat second half, such was Everton’s dominance, you couldn’t quite relax while it remained 2-1 as you felt a corner kick could easily result in another Brighton equaliser. Thankfully, the game was settled by our maverick Brazilian on 76 minutes. Upon seizing on a loose Lewis Dunk pass up by the half way line, Richarlison sharply poked the ball past Shane Duffy and charged at goal with slick composure. He rounded Mat Ryan, and finished calmly to wrap up the points. A wonderful goal by Richarlison and now you could relax and enjoy the closing stages with Everton in cruise control.

After last season's misery, it really is fun coming to Goodison Park again, better than I can remember for a long, long time. “From famine to feast” was how Ste described it. Carry on like this, and you have to be excited about what our future holds. Well done, Everton, let’s go again at next week’s test at Stamford Bridge.

Player ratings

Pickford: Very little to do really. 6

Digne: Fine. His consistency given his short time here is quite remarkable. 6

Keane: Did very well. It’s nice to see he’s made himself an established first XI player as the jury was very much out in the summer. 7

Zouma: It was a big game for Kurt as he can’t play next week of course against Chelsea, and he did well. You have to assume Yerry Mina will replace him next weekend, and if he does well, this produces quite a selection headache for Everton. What a nice problem to have. I can’t remember Everton ever having selection problems with quality, performing players. I love it. 7

Coleman: Much better from Seamus. Nice to see him getting down the line again and getting crosses into the box. At Old Trafford he seemed terrified to take his player on. Great goal as well from Seamus let’s hope he can kick on. Big test next weekend. 7

Gueye: Does a sterling job defensively and was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet as well. 7

Gomes: He seems to take a bit of time to settle into the game, but once he gets going he really purrs. Who knows what the future holds for Andre. Will Barcelona want him back? Will he want to stay with us? Will he attract interest form other clubs? Whatever the outcome, let’s enjoy what we’ve got – a world class midfielder. A great player. 8

Bernard: Very good and very lively. 7

Walcott: Like Seamus, has also been off colour lately but was much improved. Needs to maintain this. 7

Sigurdsson: Could have done better with his two first-half chances, but was instrumental throughout and put in a heck of a shift. 8

Richarlison: A splendid performance. Before the match we were saying how he’s better served on the wing and for Cenk Tosun to be given another go in attack, but he made a mockery of this claim. A wonderful performance from Richarlison, full of heart, and two great goals. What a player we have there. My Man of the Match. 9

Lookman (for Bernard): Did okay. 6

Calvert-Lewin (for Walcott): Did okay. 6

Mina (for Sigurdsson): Lunging in on the Brighton player was very unnecessary. He could have got himself booked or even sent off, and could have injured the player (or did he even?). Otherwise, he got involved and got on the ball. Impossible to judge him on five minutes of course, but that lunge did worry me somewhat. We’ll get more of an idea about him next weekend, I assume. 5

Reader Comments (19)

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Ben Howard
1 Posted 04/11/2018 at 15:57:22
Thanks for the report, Paul.

Does anybody else think Chris Hughton could be Richarlison's dad?

Jim Bennings
2 Posted 04/11/2018 at 17:05:29
Some good stories there Paul.

I remember that day we signed James Beattie from Southampton too, early January 2005.

I always admired Beattie at Southampton in the two or three years prior to joining us, he was a proven Premier League goalscoring striker but my reservations about whether we would give him the service from wide areas (something from which he thrived on at Southampton) was a concern and I think that's why Moyes tried bringing wingers in like Simon Davies and Andy van der Meyde but both failed dismally and for me we never ever got to see the best of Beattie anyway.

Yakubu thrived in a team with Steven Pienaar, Mikel Arteta at his peak, Tim Cahill and Leon Osman, the Yak was outstanding in that 2007-08 campaign and one of the coolest cucumbers I've seen in front of goal.

Good stories there on how it feels the club has moved from one rung to another over the last decade or so.

I thought it was a quite mesmerising performance yesterday from the lads and I wouldn't single anyone out as having a poor game.

Walcott remains frustrating at times but in the first half I thought he at least started having a run forward more.

Gana was simply out of this world with the energy levels and he was everywhere, must have been a nightmare for Brighton.

A good win but next week will be another test of the resolve and the mentality at Chelsea.

Can we go there and make them worry about us and give them problems?

Bill Watson
3 Posted 04/11/2018 at 17:56:10
What on earth is a baby shower? lol
Jim Bennings
4 Posted 04/11/2018 at 17:58:43
It’s when you walking down the street Bill and all of a sudden instead of rain, babies come falling out of the sky lol
Gordon White
5 Posted 04/11/2018 at 18:05:05
Very pleased. Enjoyed the game. Feeling better about the Chelsea game now.
Andy Crooks
6 Posted 04/11/2018 at 18:26:51
Top stuff as usual, Paul. Thank you.
Colin Leckey
7 Posted 04/11/2018 at 18:50:36
Only 6 for Digne is very harsh. I thought he was top quality as usual.
Paul Turner
8 Posted 04/11/2018 at 19:20:44
Jim #4, could be worse – when spare parts from old Japanese cars fall from the sky... "It's raining Datsun cogs".

(Okay, it's an old one – but at least it doesn't involve a fish pun.)

Bill Watson
9 Posted 04/11/2018 at 20:05:32
Well, away from the American cultural imperialism and back to the footy!

Excellent report, as usual, Paul, but I think you were a bit stingy with Gueye. He was immense and a contender for MotM.

Bob Parrington
10 Posted 04/11/2018 at 22:07:10
Wow! Paul. Good read. But....

We're all looking' forward with excitement to watching the team play when you give no less than an 8 and perhaps even a couple of 10s! :) :) :)

Mike Jones
11 Posted 04/11/2018 at 22:14:56
I'm trusting Silva and Brands. I want a winning team mentality. Look at Sarri's comments tonight about Morata despite a 3-1 win and Morata scoring twice. That's what makes winners.
Neil Cremin
12 Posted 05/11/2018 at 09:39:08
I think you were generous with Walcott and Sigurdsson. Both missed good chances and in games against the top teams such chances have to be taken. At least we are creating but as with Man Utd, we need to finish them off when we do create the opening.

Also, I would have given Seamus the 8 you gave to Sigurdsson as he did score and set up a couple of chances not taken.

Liam Reilly
13 Posted 05/11/2018 at 12:14:13
I think you're being harsh on Sigurdsson, Neil; the first goal is all about his run from defense and the pass to Richarlison is exceptional and it's because of his pressing high up the pitch that the defender's pass is under-cooked for the third.

He's also the only attacker who made it into the box for the third to give Richarlisdn options; so he's some engine.

I thought he had a great game.

Frank Wade
14 Posted 05/11/2018 at 13:55:52
I'd agree with Jim Bennings and Bill Watson, I reckon Gana was MoM and a 9. His ball recoveries, interceptions, tackles and pressing are up there with the very best and he played an absolute blinder against Brighton. Playing with Gomes suits him a lot better than with Schneiderlin and he is back to his best form.
Neil Cremin
15 Posted 05/11/2018 at 14:00:43
Fair comment, Liam.
John Hammond
16 Posted 05/11/2018 at 17:34:52
I didn't think Coleman had that great a first half but was back to his best in the second.

Walcott got in some great positions and looked dangerous but again did nothing and his passing was terrible.

Gomes is a joy to watch just gliding around the pitch, so comfortable on the ball. I'd like to see more of those surging runs he's capable of.

What a difference from last season with most of our new signings fitting almost seamlessly into the starting XI.

David Pearl
17 Posted 05/11/2018 at 22:07:17
We have to make moves to sign Gomes in January if it's possible. He just gets better as the game progresses. Starts slowly maybe but he makes up for it... such a difference to have him in the team. What a player.

I can't see Tom Davies getting a look in. I don't like to see a few loan moves next window, maybe not for Davies but definitely Dowell, who needs to play.

Jim Bennings
18 Posted 06/11/2018 at 08:23:43

I agree!

I think Dowell will be off on loan again in January (was a bit of a surprise to see him remain here in summer?).

Davies and Schneiderlin have little chance of ousting Gomes who is very quickly showing us what difference it makes to have a true elegant quality player in that position and that's not being disrespectful to the others but they aren't in Gomes's league.

Bill Watson
19 Posted 06/11/2018 at 16:35:56
Jim #18,

Totally agree.

Much as I like Davies, when you see Gomes, you realise just what you've been missing. Pure class!

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