All that I asked for

By Paul Traill 07/02/2019 34comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 0 - 2 Manchester City

It’s been a strange build-up to this game with many wanting Everton to win, many wanting Everton to lose, but most in unison that we were likely to be on the end of quite a hiding. Myself, with the season going nowhere for us, I wasn’t overly concerned with the result from the game, but was with the performance. Our efforts have been so flat these last few months that regardless of the result, Evertonians really needed to see something from their team and it was pleasing to see the players put a shift in for the fans. Likewise it was great to see and hear the supporters rally behind the team.

We arrived at the pub in good time and found that Marco Silva had taken the opportunity to shuffle his pack. Perhaps a combination of Marco dropping some players after our poor showing against Wolverhampton Wanderers, and maybe with an eye on our somewhat more winnable game at Vicarage Road on Saturday. Either way, I was pleased to see Richarlison didn’t make the starting XI after a very poor showing against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Glyfi Sigurdsson, also disappointing against Wolves, also failed to make the team, while Seamus Coleman was replaced by Jonjo eKenny.

We spent a few minutes too long in the pub and only just made kick off, the teams all on the pitch and ready to go as we got to our seats. Goodison Park in fine voice with Evertonians well behind their team. Everton responded from the off, Dominic Calvert-Lewin counter-attacking from the off down the right hand side and putting a ball into the box. It goes to show, that if you give Evertonians something to shout about, they’ll always get behind the team.

Still, while Everton put in a very good effort, Manchester CIty should have been ahead earlier in the half. Aymeric Laporte headed wide with a great chance (yes, a free header from a corner), and Ilkay Gundogan slotted onto the crossbar when well placed inside the penalty area. Bernardo Silva also drove at goal only for his effort to deflect wide off Sergio Aguero. Otherwise, Leroy Sane struck just wide from the edge of the penalty area, and Kurt Zouma had to be alert to block an effort from Gundogan as Manchester City threatened. Everton stood firm though, and dug in well, and even, briefly, looked semi-threatening themselves in the first half, and it was Bernard who came closest to scoring for us when his header at goal deflected off Kyle Walker and drifted just by the post with Ederson scrambling.

Just as we looked as though we were getting to half time, disaster struck - as it always seems to lately, when Everton gave away their customary free kick. Idrissa Gueye flying in unnecessarily on David Silva and giving Manchester CIty an opportunity. Everton were caught out with Manchester CIty’s dummy run from the free kick. It’s a worry how easily this bewildered them, but David Silva’s ball in was met, unchallenged by Laporte, and just on half time Manchester City had an advantage. All that hard work in the first half undone by another defensive set-piece lapse, and it certainly again felt like Groundhog Day as the lads trudged down into the changing room, head-bowed. The stunned Goodison Park faithful applauded them off at the break, a break which saw some lad slip on his backside trying to hit the crossbar.

Everton began the second half on the front foot, and that they very much stayed for large parts of the half, albeit without creating a great deal. Idrissa Gueye let fly very speculatively from distance which Ederson quite comfortably held on to; but otherwise, despite a lot of pressing and effort from the lads, we couldn’t quite fashion the opportunity we craved. Confidence is still an issue for the players. They are trying, but perhaps need to be braver and show more belief when presented with opportunities to create something in front of goal..

While Manchester City won’t have many tougher games on the road throughout the season, they did grit it out and, especially in the last 10 minutes, managed those game very well with Fernandinho immense and doing a very good, if irritating, job of slowing the game down and seeing it out. Seeing Manchester City bring on Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and then Kevin De Bruyne also demoralised a bit, and as it happened the latter two of them substitutes combined with the last action of the game when De Bruyne slipped Jesus through as Everton tried to get forward. The Brazilian was able to score on the second attempt once his effort was well saved by Jordan Pickford.

So a defeat, but one in which you could at least be proud of the team. The players gave it their all and came up against the best team in the league. You can’t ask for more than that, and you really can’t say that much about Everton this season. The crowd acknowledged this also, singing and applauding the players off at full time.

I hope the players get the message now - that we are with them if they show us something. However I will remain sceptical that the players have it in them to put in a similar effort in our next game at Watford on Saturday.

It would be great to be wrong of course, but these new dawns really need to be seen to be believed from Everton..

Player ratings:

Pickford: Had one moment which he got away with when he came out to punch and Aguero nearly scored with an overhead volley, but otherwise he was fine and distributed well. 7

Digne: Did fine. 6

Keane: Not bad defensively but his distribution is very poor at times. 6

Zouma: Did fine. 6

Kenny: An excellent effort from Jonjoe, and he must have done his long term prospects no harm at all. It’ll be interesting to see if he keeps his place on Saturday. 7

Gueye: Is certainly missed when he isn’t there and puts in a lot of good tackles. Made a silly, and costly, foul for the goal though. 7

Gomes: Not quite at the races. The game seemed a bit too quick for him. 5

Davies: My man of the match. He was everywhere and lead by example. Well done Tom. 7

Walcott: Had a very good 35 minutes in the second half before being substituted. 6

Bernard: Worked hard but didn’t quite get on the ball enough. 6

Calvert-Lewin: Led the line well, was brave and kept on going. 6


Sigurdsson (for Gomes): Got involved. 6

Richarlison (for Barnard): Did OK. 6

Tosun (for Walcott): Also got involved and worked hard in his time on the pitch. 6

Reader Comments (34)

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David Pearl
1 Posted 07/02/2019 at 02:29:21
Great report Paul. And you actually saw the same game l did (and didn't feel the need to put the boot into Walcott, just for the sake of it). Davies has had a couple good games and perhaps his little break has done him good. However l would still say our manager has not managed his squad anywhere near as good as he should. Good effort all around but a hard away game to come, for us and our manager. Rubber snakes are sold out around Watford.
Jay Harris
2 Posted 07/02/2019 at 02:44:46
agree with your overall assessment Paul but would disagree with a couple of ratings I thought Digne and Keane struggled a bit tonight and Keane was once again caught napping for their second goal. I would give them both a 5.

Thought Zouma was excellent and earned a 7 while Richarlison did nothing for me and wouldnt get more than a 5.

John Raftery
3 Posted 07/02/2019 at 08:52:18
It was a much better team performance, albeit without a positive outcome. I agree, Tom Davies was Man of the Match, Kenny was not far behind him and Calvert-Lewin showed well winning countless aerial battles. I thought Gomes was better than a 5 rating. The substitutions did not really help us with Richarlison in particular running into blind alleys.

The shape of the team in open play was much better. We looked less of a soft touch, harder to get past in midfield, which is something we must repeat in the games to come. The foul by Gueye, coming as it did just before half-time and just outside our area was stupid. The way we conceded from the resulting free kick was abject.

Well done to those supporters who stayed behind for a minute to applaud the team off the field. Overall, this was the nearest we have come to a 90-minute performance at Goodison Park in several months.

Eddie Dunn
4 Posted 07/02/2019 at 09:09:01
Interesting, Paul, and I was also glad to see our fight. Walker terrorised Bernard and Digne at both ends of the pitch but my Man of the Match was Zouma. He intercepted so much; if they all gave as much as him every game, we would be in a far better place.
Thomas Lennon
5 Posted 07/02/2019 at 09:48:00
Oddly, this game was one where, in a way, there was less pressure on the team, perhaps that helped the performance a little? Not expected to win, in fact more than a few hoped that they didn't. No disgrace in losing to a top side at home – just needed a decent performance.

Fix the dead-ball goal leak and all is well? If this is a watershed moment (unlikely, Ferguson once said improvement doesn't happen in straight lines), then fair enough – let them build confidence once more without being booed. The Watford game will be interesting.

Gaute Lie
6 Posted 07/02/2019 at 09:58:29
We lost, but I believe we lost while putting in a good effort.


Peter Mills
7 Posted 07/02/2019 at 10:05:06
John #3, I was one of those who stayed behind for a minute to applaud our team off the pitch. I then remained for another minute to applaud Man City (and noted John Stones acknowledging Gwladys Street).

I know City are unpopular with many because of their wealth, but I enjoy watching them. Some have commented that they didn't get out of 2nd gear last night; I disagree, I thought they had to dig deep to achieve their victory, it was a real title-winning performance. They defended well when they had to, and Fernandinho was excellent, breaking up play and fouling when necessary (he was fortunate the ref was lenient).

As you say, our young lads Davies, Kenny and Calvert-Lewin showed what they are capable of and City will have known they were in a game. If we can show the same effort in our next home game, we can get something from it. It would be nice if we could help ourselves a bit by not conceding silly free kicks, and our defenders heading the ball.

Benjamin Dyke
8 Posted 07/02/2019 at 10:09:52
This to me was Silva's second audition for his job and I saw enough to rekindle a small flicker of confidence in him. The players clearly knew his job was on the line and they responded with some real fire in the belly. I actually like Tosun again!

It's going to take a lot more of these kind of performances, coupled with actually winning a few matches before I can ever say its a must that Silva stays and is given the chance to continue the rebuild. But we saw something again last night.

He dropped Sigurdsson and Richarlison, and Coleman etc. We saw aggression! We saw a couple of local lads giving it some and I, for one, LOVED that – it was one of the standout things for me – feels so, so good and meaningful to see Kenny and Davies out there and playing so well...

Ryan Holroyd
9 Posted 07/02/2019 at 10:48:35
'Zouma was excellent'

Was he? Left his man for the first goal. Again.

Steve Ferns
10 Posted 07/02/2019 at 10:56:30
Rooted to the spot, Ryan. Nothing zonal about that failure.
Brent Stephens
11 Posted 07/02/2019 at 11:04:59
More like it! For the first time this season we went a full game showing passion, fight, movement, etc. Zouma, Kenny, Davies very good. And Calvert-Lewin battled so well all game. Frailty – thy name is 'set-piece'!

Unhappy to lose. More than happy at the performance.

Tony Abrahams
12 Posted 07/02/2019 at 11:15:04
I thought Walker was too quick for Bernard, but I didn't think the game was though, Paul. If anything he's the one Everton player who was ahead of the game, but we l,ack both movement and bodies at the top end of the pitch.

Not a criticism of last night, I didn't expect us to be flying forward, but this will change if we keep the same effort in every game, which should be the only thing we should be certain about... If only.

Mark Murphy
13 Posted 07/02/2019 at 12:20:26
I'm going to Watford and I'll be very happy if Sílva starts with the same 11 as last night with the possible exception of Richy in for Walcott.

My MotM last night was Idrissa Guaye and that's very relieving as I was very concerned he'd sulk! We look much better with him in the side.

My main concern is Pickford and I think a lot of the defensive nerves could be eliminated with the addition of a commanding keeper!

Joe McMahon
14 Posted 07/02/2019 at 12:23:34
We are still crying out for a decent striker. Only Yakubu for a while.. and Lukaku in over 20 years.
Pat Kelly
15 Posted 07/02/2019 at 14:20:13
Only losing two-nil with hardly an effort on goal is the new progress.

Silva can have all the time Moshiri is prepared to give him. It'll just delay the inevitable.

Paul Richardson
16 Posted 07/02/2019 at 14:54:39
Joe #14. Spot on. And for at least 15 other teams in this league. So that's where we sit.
Clive Rogers
17 Posted 07/02/2019 at 15:13:41
Peter, #7,

Our next four home games are Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, then Man Utd. I can see us losing all of them. Our front 3 never threatened the goal at all. They wouldn't have scored if they had played till Xmas. They are just not good enough.

Rob Halligan
18 Posted 07/02/2019 at 15:16:38
One thing I noted in the first half was how quiet the Man City fans went as the half wore on. It seemed they thought they were in a game and not quite getting things their own way.

I know there is a saying "Keep the opposition fans quiet" but not surely the away fans?

Brent Stephens
19 Posted 07/02/2019 at 15:20:40
Mark #13,

"I'm going to Watford and I'll be very happy if Sílva starts with the same 11 as last night, with the possible exception of Richarlison in for Walcott."

And me.

Dave Abrahams
20 Posted 07/02/2019 at 15:36:05
While I have no objection to Walcott being dropped, why would you want Richarlison to replace him, he has hardly done anything noticeable in quite a while. He has come from the ghetto in Brazil where you have to fight every day to alive, so I've read, he must have broke all his fingernails scratching his way through life there.

There is absolutely nothing manly about the way he plays for Everton, he offered little last night, the same as the last few weeks, plays like a big soft girl and the referees are starting to treat him like one, just ignoring his trips to the floor for the ridiculous gestures they are: grow up, lad – you are making a fool of yourself.

Eddie Dunn
21 Posted 07/02/2019 at 15:41:40
The worry is that, although our starting 11 really put in a shift, the total lack of cutting edge equals zero goals.

Although Richarlison has been annoying us all, and Sigurdsson remains an enigma, the two of them have scored goals and none of the other buggers look remorely like doing so.

Tom Bowers
22 Posted 07/02/2019 at 15:48:23
Although it appeared to be some improvement the bottom line is that Man City barely got out of first gear and Everton's attempts on offence were very poor.

Walcott was excellent years ago when with a good Arsenal side but can only have an impact when chasing long balls one on one. He really cannot get past anyone when they are in front of him. Surely he will be let go at the season's end along with some others.

I question why some other players on the books have not made the advances expected when starting regulars are performing so abysmally. Vlasic and Baningime come to mind.

Can it really be that the whole squad is sub-standard or just the recent managers?

All I can say is thankfully they got some results before December – otherwise, they could be fighting a relegation battle.

John Pierce
23 Posted 07/02/2019 at 16:22:29
Walcott was horrible last night. I will however cut him some slack, we repeatedly fail to utilize the player he is. We negate his strengths almost every game.

Last night, for example our centre-halves and keeper repeatedly launched floated diagonals at ‘Walcott the Salmon', he failed to win any aerial duel; unsurprisingly, until early in the second half, in doing so he got destroyed by Laporte.

It's brain dead footy, the fella if he has any worthwhile playing time at Goodison left needs it in behind/over the top. He is asked to get the bye line and cross it? That's not him. Between centre-back & left-back coming right to left.

Is it Walcott or is he being tasked with something he cannot do?

He symbolizes the manager's need to play an expansive game with players ill suited to that style of play.

The effort was there last night to stop
a hammering and save some face, but it's another defeat only a week after Newcastle beat them.

City missed a bucket load of chances, Sane should have scored in the opening seconds, Agüero skewed his bicycle kick with the goal gaping. They hit the bar in the first half. We in turn flickered for seconds before turning back and Ederson fielded a back pass from Gana.

Maybe this will be Silva's bent for the remainder of the season. If he continues in the same expansive vein as before we'll ship a horrible amount of goals. Now under pressure to stop it all ending prematurely he may now shut it down & limp to the end of a really poor season.

Most of our points are likely to come on the road, a place we've in-fact played better this season but harvested a pitiful return.

I will be hugely surprised if we win more than three games with the games we have left.

As usual we have a ‘massive summer' to come. Pfft!

Colin Wordsworth
24 Posted 07/02/2019 at 18:10:02
In my opinion, Gomes and Bernard did not contribute at all last night and Gueye strolled around, hardly making a meaningful pass all night (he was poor). I can't understand the praise for Zouma, he didn't look bothered and was seriously at fault for the first goal; if Jags is fit, Zouma needs dropping.

Half a shot on target is really a shocker (it was more a pass back), despite Davies and Kenny having excellent games. If this had happened under our last manager, this site would have exploded. Silva needs to go, this is relegation form.

Tom Bowers
25 Posted 07/02/2019 at 18:23:11
I would dearly love a player similar to Jags when he was a top performer. His speed, positioning and anticipation was brilliant. Playing with two centre-backs similar in stature just doesn't work unless they are quick and on the same wavelength as Everton's aren't.

The goals shipped in from dead ball situations are alarming.

Man City, of course have first-class cover for all their positions and even David Silva at 33 thinks and moves quicker than most in the Premier League.

I believe that any starting eleven Silva put out yesterday would have still left us with nothing. I agree Everton will be hard pressed to win another 3 games this season so let's get it over with.

Jay Harris
26 Posted 07/02/2019 at 18:28:12

You must have seen a different game than me.

I thought Zouma was outstanding and covered Keane's arse a few times and Gueye made a massive difference in midfield.

I have criticised our midfield setup all season but I thought Gomes, Davis and Gueye looked a good combination.

Agree with you about Bernard but at least he ran his heart out.

Colin Wordsworth
27 Posted 07/02/2019 at 18:49:30
Jay, it's all about opinion. I feel that Gueye and Gomes can't play together and both look backwards and sideways for passes, always taking the easy option. Davies was the difference last night, he drove us forwards better. Problem was both outlets were marked out of the game, at times, particularly Walcott unfairly so!
Jay Harris
28 Posted 07/02/2019 at 19:01:18

I thought Gueye got forward and passed forward quite a bit last night... in fact, he was the only Everton player to draw a save out of their keeper.

Joey Crawley
29 Posted 07/02/2019 at 19:07:41
I believe Howard's just retired, we need to get him in to coach Jordan how to use his muscle to come out and collect a ball. I'm thinking he's more concerned about mashing up his not so pretty little face as he doesn't like to rumble, only to rave I guess.

We also need a defensive coach who can show these CB fairies how to attack a ball in the air — what's Stubs up to? He'd laugh off a fractured skull and spit his teeth out in his opponents face before he'd be taken off.

Then we need a striker's coach, a poacher's coach if you will, What Bluenose was the best striker / poacher we've all witness grace the Goodison turf these last 50 years, anyone? I'll give you a clue, he was at the game last night and his name rhymes with blobby howler.

Kevin Prytherch
30 Posted 07/02/2019 at 19:39:18
Joey - I seem to remember Howard being the only keeper to come off his line and make himself look smaller, not the commanding keeper you remember. Martyn was the last commanding keeper we had.

Howard looked better because of the defenders in front of him and because he was a brilliant shot stopper. I definitely don’t remember a commanding Howard.

Joey Crawley
31 Posted 07/02/2019 at 19:47:25
Exhibit A

Exhibit B

My point being the guy was a loon and he wasn't scared to throw his face into anything, hence why he's so pretty.

John Raftery
32 Posted 07/02/2019 at 22:11:29
Peter (7) I agree City play some great football, the best in the league at present. Your point about their use of the tactical foul is well made. They make it very difficult for teams to build momentum. Referees generally allow them to persist with it until the last twenty minutes by which stage they have usually sown up the points.

It is very rare these days for fans to acknowledge the performance of opponents. Back in the 1960s it was commonplace when a visiting team had played well. I recall United fans applauding our team towards the end of a game at Old Trafford in August 1969. We won 2-0 and played United off the park.

I noted during last night’s game there was no booing of John Stones, a player who was not universally appreciated during his time with us but one who delivered over £40m profit on transfer fees. Who can blame these players for taking the opportunity to play for a top team competing for domestic and European titles? I still live in hope that one day in the not too distant future, top young players might see our club as offering similar opportunities.

Bill Watson
33 Posted 08/02/2019 at 01:33:53
I must have missed Walcott's 'good' 35 minutes and thought Gomes had a decent game.

I agree on Davies as MotM closely followed by Kenny who must surely now get a run of games. I, too, would play the same side at Watford but with Richarlison replacing Walcott. Richarlison has suffered with being played down the centre. Play him where he's most effective.

A word in defence of Pickford. Apparently, he's under instructions to stay on his line and leave the high balls to the centre-backs.

Like Paul I'm sceptical we'll see the same effort on Saturday but we live in hope. We really need something from that game.

Jerome Shields
34 Posted 08/02/2019 at 09:48:04
Davies is a improvement on Sigurdsson, because he is more mobile. In my opinion, this is Davies's hallmark and is not coached into him. But he needs the support of Gueye to be more effective, to reduce his tendency to become a headless chicken.

Sigurdsson is not mobile enough and can become isolated and peripheral in games. I have often thought that he would be better played deeper in midfield, coming forward.

Gomes is seen by the opposition as the player in midfield to harry and mark. Again, he isn't mobile enough and is trying to play a defensive midfielder / playmaker role, ineffectively.

Gueye is told to stay deep. He did play better, because he didn't have to cover the right flank with Kenny on it.

The improvement in midfield is down to Davies and the fact that he is playing with Gueye in the side. Even with this, the midfield is too static. They should be operating as a midfield trio unit with interchanging play, getting turnovers, positioning to receive the pass, and attacking. Interestingly, Bernard has a high successful tackle rate per game.

In my opinion, Silva instructions in midfield are for Gueye to stay deep, protect the backline and get turnovers, pass to the carrying midfielders; for Gomes to stay deep, carry the ball, bring the wingers into play and support; for Sigurdsson to stay forward and position for on-target shots. Davies is given a free role supporting the midfield and attack.

Tosun works hard, but needs the ball played to his feet. With Richarlison and Walcott on the pitch together, this game is not going to happen. He is a different prospect when playing with Bernard and Lookman.

Again, Walcott had the lowest number of ball touches than any other Everton outfield player. He has earned this accolade in every game he played in, since way before Xmas,

In my opinion, there are the players in the squad to have a good team, but the coaching and organisation is deficient, preventing this being achieved.

Silva, if he gets the required points for safety, will definitely be Everton's Manager next season. Hopefully he will improve. I will be giving the Summer transfer window a miss. I refuse to increase my frustration. It will be a tug of war with Moshiri's wallet and regulations. Last-minute. com as usual, with loans out and not want back transfer shenanigans.

This question is, are Everton out of the basket case stage of the development plan?

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