It wouldn’t be going out on a limb to say that Gylfi Sigurdsson enjoyed his first return to South Wales since leaving Swansea for Everton in a club record deal
two-and-a-half years 18 months ago. Injured the last time the Toffees faced his old club away in April last year, the Icelandic international went into the belly of the Cardiff beast this evening as an ex-Jack and emerged the victor with two goals and a man-of-the-match display to his credit.
At a time when Everton and their manager have been under heightened scrutiny, they needed a big performance from somebody and Sigurdsson, the subject of plenty of criticism of his own lately, delivered with a brace of accomplished strikes that had the home side well beaten before Dominic Calvert-Lewin delivered the coup de grâce in second-half stoppage time.
If figuring out just how best to fit Sigurdsson into this Everton team remains something of a riddle, at least until a reliable, top-class goalscorer can be acquired, then at least the 29-year-old has been a regular source of goals from midfield this season. Indeed, he and Richarlison have been responsible for 21 of the Blues’ 39 in the Premier League this season and it was especially important that the Nordic star rose to the occasion because the Brazilian continues to struggle for form.
Substituted in the 66th minute at Watford 17 days ago following an almost completely ineffective outing, Richarlison was withdrawn with an hour gone at the Cardiff City Stadium having again failed to make much of an imprint on the contest. Unlike at Vicarage Road, the 21-year-old actually had a handful of chances to pick up the ball from the deep as he is wont to do and test the opposition defence but every time he either ran into a cul-de-sac or his normally assured touch deserted him.
His replacement, compatriot Bernard, made an altogether more impactful entrance to the game, his enterprising run eventually allowing Sigurdsson to ram home his second and effectively kill the game against a Cardiff side who would fail to register a shot on target all game.
That might have been different were it not for Lucas Digne who was in the right place at the right time in the opening few minutes to bail returning captain Phil Jagielka out of a potentially humiliating error. Cardiff had counter-attacked when an early Everton move involving Seamus Coleman broke down and Jagielka had come across to the right-back position to close down an overhit ball from Bobby Reid.
The veteran defender badly under-hit a pass aimed for Jordan Pickford which was seized upon by Kenneth Zohore but his square ball looking for Nathaniel Mendez-Laing in front of goal was knocked behind by Digne.
In general, though, while it wasn’t high on entertainment value, an Everton side featuring a couple of somewhat surprising changes that saw Coleman come back in for Jonjoe Kenny and Morgan Schneiderlin make his first start since September when André Gomes made his Toffees debut. Silva’s men were enjoying the lion’s share of possession and playing with greater assurance than has been the case in recent weeks. Sigurdsson and Idrissa Gueye stood out from an attacking perspective, with the Senegalese midfielder passing the ball in pleasingly accomplished fashion, the Icelander pressing from the front and Schneiderlin looking unusually comfortable in the holding role.
Of the few opportunities that Everton fashioned in the opening 40 minutes, both were half-chances that fell to Theo Walcott who was again preferred on the right to Bernard or Ademola Lookman. The winger pinged a volley across goal and wide when Jagielka’s header from a corner fell invitingly and then lashed a half-volley over the crossbar from Sigurdsson’s clipped ball forward.
The breakthrough, when it came less than five minutes before the break, began with an excellent ball down the line by Schneiderlin that released Coleman behind the fullback and his cut-back was perfect for Sigurdsson to stroke home first time into the bottom corner and silence the home fans who had booed his every touch to that point.
Cardiff’s only other opening in the first half had come when Zohore chested forward a pass from Aron Gunnarsson but sliced his effort wide and they would fail to test Pickford in the second half either, although they did cause the visitors one scare shortly after half-time. Zohore rather easily out-muscled Michael Keane but his cut-back from near the byline was cut out by Schneiderlin.
With Richarlison labouring to make any inroads, it was the change that introduced his compatriot that led to Everton doubling their lead in the 66th minute. Bernard twisted and turned Bruno Ecuele Manga before accelerating past him to the byline and attempting to fizz the ball across the face of goal. Neil Etheridge got a hand on the cross but could only divert it straight to Sigurdsson who hammered it back with interest, bulging the net behind the Filipino international who barely had time to react.
The two-goal cushion really allowed Everton to relax and dictate the game with a welcome confidence that has been sorely lacking over the past three months; it's been a while since the Blues have passed the ball as well. Calvert-Lewin drilled an effort a yard or so wide from just outside the box after being played into space by Sigurdsson, an exercise in adjusting his sights for a superbly taken goal from a similar position in the third minute of stoppage time.
Gueye was the provider this time with a drive past his man in the centre circle and then a superbly weighted pass through the middle and Calvert-Lewin had time to bend a shot past the ‘keeper and set the seal on a handsome away win that lifted that effectively banishes whatever remote chance there was that Everton could be sucked into the relegation dogfight at the bottom.
More importantly for Silva, it eases the pressure that was mounting on his shoulders and provides a timely shot in the arm ahead of Sunday’s Merseyside derby. Whether elements of his team selection had that clash with Liverpool in mind remains to be seen but he wasn’t let down at all by Schneiderlin in particular and while Jagielka’s return was enforced by Yerry Mina’s lack of match fitness and Kurt Zouma’s suspension, the skipper was an importance influence in defence after he had shrugged off that early mistake.
Although it has to be said that Cardiff were desperately poor, there were signs nonetheless of the Everton that looked so well-placed for a top-six challenge prior to the last derby. The key now is to carry that forward over the remainder of the season and afford Silva the breathing room to plan for next season rather than be looking around nervously for the potential chop.
Reader Comments (98)
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1 Posted 27/02/2019 at 07:08:58
I told Dave Abrahams when we walked out of Anfield back in December that we would win the return at Goodison. And despite all the dismal days we've seen since then, I'm still predicting it. 1-0.
2 Posted 27/02/2019 at 07:49:23
Need to keep up the level of performances of yesterday and keep personnel changes to a minimum for Sunday.
3 Posted 27/02/2019 at 08:10:18
Cardiff are undoubtedly a poor side but so too are Brighton and Southampton and we lost them.
Sigurdsson made a mockery of people saying drop him for Davies, Baningime, or anyone at all.
I've said all season that Gylfi is the ONLY midfielder we have capable of scoring goals, the man is class in front of goal and as far as I'm concerned you don't take that out of the side until you can equal it with like for like or better.
Bernard must start on Sunday also as whilst he frustrates he has the ability to hurt teams and can go on either foot.
It was good to see Calvert-Lewin score late on and credit to him for that as it was rapidly passing him by but his task is to add that type of finish on a regular basis and that kind of run in behind is what I love to see from strikers, more please!!
We dodged a bullet in the first minute however with Jagielka, best put down to rustiness but we won't get away with errors like that on Sunday.
4 Posted 27/02/2019 at 08:17:54
Everything now is about next season. There is a platform for a good side at the moment, some of the pieces are in place. I think it is going to take proper shape over the next 2-3 years.
5 Posted 27/02/2019 at 08:25:13
Let's start believing, and let's hope the players can go and win on Sunday, for the fans.
Fuck City, definitely fuck Liverpool, let's go and win this derby match for Everton, because it's been a long time coming, and as you say, the makings of a good team will only get better with confidence.
6 Posted 27/02/2019 at 08:32:03
I can't agree with you I'm sorry!
Yes, we may lose on Sunday but we should be aiming to beat them and that means leaving every last residue on that pitch.
As long-suffering fans we have been listening to “it will take 3 years to get right” for far too long.
I don't want the jam tomorrow syndrome at Everton Football Club anymore, I want bravery at guts right here and right now.
If Crystal Palace, Newcastle and Leicester can beat Manchester City this season then Everton can beat Liverpool and that's the ambition that everyone at this club needs to have between now and Sunday.
I've waited too long to see a Merseyside derby celebration in Blue shirts and I'm not willing to wait 2-3 more years.
7 Posted 27/02/2019 at 09:09:49
Any inclination to change the manager should now be put to bed and hopefully with improved performance he can justify an extension.
In my books if you play Sigurdsson then you can't play Gomes as we get overrun in midfield. A much bigger test awaits on Sunday.
8 Posted 27/02/2019 at 09:21:59
Last night was the biggest 3 points of the season IMO. Lose last night and we would be in serious trouble. At least now, we have Pickford, Digne, Zouma (won't happen if Chelsea's ban sticks), Gomes needs to be signed, Gylfi and a kick up the arse for Richarlison to build on.
9 Posted 27/02/2019 at 09:23:48
10 Posted 27/02/2019 at 09:25:56
Sigurdsson showed what he is capable of when ghosting into the box and getting on the end of crosses. People have sometimes argued he should be played in a deeper role. I have never subscribed to that view. His game is only suited to the final third. The problem is that when we struggle to build any decent attacking momentum against better teams he becomes largely redundant.
Gueye had another very good game. He will take some replacing if he leaves in the summer.
11 Posted 27/02/2019 at 09:26:57
I agree with all of what you say apart from that. Man City winning the league will save me a lot of money on a two-week holiday. I could not be in the vicinity of them if they did win it. I know it's illogical for a man of my age but I hate them with a passion.
12 Posted 27/02/2019 at 09:30:44
The big negative for me was Walcott, again. Everything he touches goes to shit. He mustn't start against the shite.
13 Posted 27/02/2019 at 09:31:57
Until we sign another midfielder capable of doing what he does then its up to the manager to best compliment the midfield around him but he seems at his best with the energy of Gana (although that might be gone in summer).
Gomes is a fine player but isnt very mobile and whilst Davies works hard he doesnt possess the athleticism or engine to do whats required and that for the moment leaves Gana as the next shoo-in to Sigurdsson so its up to Gomes, Schneiderlin, Davies or McCarthy perhaps to be the third man in.
Bernard should be a regular starter now also and then let the rest fight for a place on merit.
14 Posted 27/02/2019 at 09:46:07
Some of the comments I read pre-match when the team was announced I shudder to think what reaction Silva would have got had we not won, but doubt any will come on today and admit he picked the right team on the day.
I also think he will change the side again for the weekend probably Zouma replacing Jags and maybe he may start Bernard and put Richarlison on the bench. But he could easily play Bernard on the right and Richarlison on the left. There is no doubt Richarlison is not in the best of form but he is a goalscorer.
15 Posted 27/02/2019 at 09:53:15
I think he's a very good player but he relies a great deal on players making the right runs into the right space. When that space is not available or the players are not making the right runs he can struggle and the game can pass him by. What he is not often capable of is beating a man and creating his own space.
We cannot rely on him (and Richarlison) for goals. I was encouraged to see Calvert-Lewin score and indeed strike another effort cleanly and not far wide. I've always worried that his essential shooting technique was poor but perhaps he's been working on that.
Some very interesting decisions for Silva ahead of the derby. Jagielka or Zouma? Schneiderlin or Gomes? Walcott or Lookman? Richarlison or Bernard?
I think he may well start with the same team as last night and the plan of sitting deeper and hitting them on the counter with the pace of Calvert-Lewin, Walcott and Richarlison. The latter two will have to up their game considerably if that plan is to bear fruit.
16 Posted 27/02/2019 at 09:59:41
Having a better defence proved the springboard for a better attacking display, once we scored the first goal we looked comfortable. There are still big question marks about Silva, but this must-win game will give him a platform for the remainder of the season... a win on Sunday will put us in dreamland. COYB.
17 Posted 27/02/2019 at 10:04:30
I suspect that if we are patient, and persist with Bernard, he will do for us, what Deulofeu is now doing for Watford.
18 Posted 27/02/2019 at 10:09:01
That does not mean people who were critical of him before that were wrong though. Until last night, he has had minimal impact on most games over 90 minutes which a player who is so highly rated shouldn't. I get the impression that he comes to life when the team are doing well but goes missing when we don't. I know he has scored a decent amount for a midfielder this season and plays the odd good pass every game but that is not enough. He needs to be at it all game, every game in our whole play – too often he goes missing.
As usual, we looked better with Jagielka back in defence with Seamus too. I know we cannot keep relying on them into the future but we still only look solid with the Moyes's old guard in place at the back.
19 Posted 27/02/2019 at 10:37:52
When I was asked by anyone the other week, who I wanted to win, I told the truth and said City. Me telling the truth, gave them room to start diggin me out, until I asked them why they wanted Everton to suddenly win a game of football?
They hate us, they only wanted us to win for themselves, so that's why I say fuck City John G, because I just want to beat Liverpool for ourselves.
Let's make Klopp eat his really embarrassing, switching of the gear, words, and let's celebrate for Everton, if we can also help Man City along the way!
20 Posted 27/02/2019 at 10:50:44
Confidence is massive in football, that mental attribute was a physical thing and visible last night.
After the first goal went in, we looked better; after the second, we looked a class apart as Cardiff's confidence drained away. The third goal maybe can give us an extra boost of confidence going into the derby.
21 Posted 27/02/2019 at 10:52:30
I posted on the Echo site the other day, on a Shite thread, pointing out their lack of respect and class when they started chanting at Old Trafford right in the middle of the applause for Gordon Banks. I wasn't aggressive in the post and used no profanities.
My post lasted less than an hour before disappearing. Sums them up.
22 Posted 27/02/2019 at 11:02:05
Klopp's demented charge on the pitch shows what a World Cup it is to them as well. The fact the ref let him off as well is typical.
Let's just do them on Sunday!!
23 Posted 27/02/2019 at 11:08:40
How can a manager who runs on the pitch celebrating like his team have just won the cup, then say its like a World Cup final, for his opponents?
Because hes a Liverpool manager of course, and the saying, “you cant have it both ways” doesnt exist for the reds.
24 Posted 27/02/2019 at 11:27:32
25 Posted 27/02/2019 at 11:33:55
By that I mean everyone in the ground an hour before kickoff singing and making a raucous intimidating atmosphere for that lot across the park.
It hasn't felt like derby day at Goodison for years and I'm not just referring to the playing side of it but from the stands.
For years on end up until the late 1990s maybe early 2000s the anticipation and atmosphere of a Goodison derby had the place rocking, none of this coming in a few minutes before kickoff and sitting there in silence.
I urge people to get there early, create a hostile environment, make noise, wear blue, bring scarfs, flags, anything at all to make it our own Blue Wall and let's give those fuckers something to worry about, they are coming to Goodison Park!
26 Posted 27/02/2019 at 11:39:09
I have been one of the posters saying to drop Sigurdsson, it's not due to the player himself though.
When Sigurdsson plays, along with 2 wingers and a striker, we effectively have 4 attacking players and very little cover for the midfield 2. We then rely on the full backs to get forward to cover for this, leaving us potentially open at the back.
We played Cardiff last night, they couldn't capitalise because they aren't good enough. Therefore it worked.
For Sigurdsson to work as a Number 10, we need at least one of the wingers to play more as a wide midfielder to compensate for the lack of numbers in midfield. Richarlison did this well at the start of the season.
Sigurdsson is one of our better players; however, the team is often set up wrong with him in.
27 Posted 27/02/2019 at 11:39:16
I don't think Silva would drop Keane though, he will just tell him to raise his game. I think Keane and Seamus will struggle a bit on Sunday, but they have to rise to the occasion if we are to win.
28 Posted 27/02/2019 at 11:43:03
The system seems to be the problem to me. I personally would like to see if Sigurdsson could play as part of a midfield 3. He runs about enough, and he's good in possession. This might make us stronger defensively, and I'd like to see what Sigurdsson could do passing the ball forward, as opposed to always receiving the ball with his back to goal.
Anyway, it was a welcome 3 points last night. Let's hope for another good performance on Sunday. COYB!
29 Posted 27/02/2019 at 12:01:41
I was only saying not too long ago that the 2 big centre half roles do not compliment one another and that a quicker sweeper who reads the game is a better option and although Jags. looked a little off the pace early on he settled in well.
Obviously against Cardiff he wasn't exposed too much apart from the first couple of minutes and because of his age he won't see much more time but I would like to see if they can get a similar type of player. He has been a consistent performer.
30 Posted 27/02/2019 at 12:03:14
I agree I think a lot of our problems are caused by pushing both full backs forward to early, before we have secured possession in the opponents half. Then if we lose the ball in midfield which we do frequently, then we have 2 central defenders against 2 attackers and because the full backs have pushed up they have no cover.
As I said yesterday the main problem we have is our inability to look after the ball when it's played forward. Calvert-Lewin is having to learn his trade on the job and its hard for a youngster to play as the main striker, as Has happened when another young man Richarlison has played in that position.
So without retaining ball possession our midfield players are reluctant to make forward runs without the ball, as if the run ahead of the main striker and he loses possession it leaves the midfield short. I know I keep banging away on the same subject but we really have to get other players to score other than Sigurdsson or Richarlison.
Bernard technically a very good player but has yet to score a league goal. Walcott 1 league goal since August, and Lookman still to open his account. I can't think of another team in the top 10 who have such a poor goal return from their front 3 as we do.
31 Posted 27/02/2019 at 12:13:24
I've got a real feeling about Sunday, we are certainly overdue and every bad run comes to an end eventually.
32 Posted 27/02/2019 at 12:26:56
Of course, there are better players out there than Siggy but what chance of Philipe Coutinho coming to Goodison? Zero.
He's about the best player available to a club in our position and Silva seems to recognise that and hopefully can get the best out of him by building a team around him.
34 Posted 27/02/2019 at 12:59:17
In addition, once again, IMHO he should be playing the way Neves does for Wolves, which is a bit deeper so he can use his passing range and he can ghost into the box.
But onto the game; it's amazing what confidence does to a team. After the second goal, the passes were crisper and both ball and players moved quicker. To go back to the Derek Mountfield interview on ToffeeTV, which he said the team went from abject (and take it from me they were dire) to brilliant on the back of winning; sometimes ugly, but it gets to be a habit.
35 Posted 27/02/2019 at 13:19:09
Yes, he's got games like this in him but I'm afraid they are few and far between. He's gone missing in most of the big games and if I'm totally honest I'm afraid he'll go missing on Sunday.
In my opinion, vastly overrated by a lot on here but, then again, it's all about opinions. I just hope he is the hero on Sunday; until then, I won't hold my breath.
36 Posted 27/02/2019 at 14:00:29
Against Millwall, Wolves and countless others this season, when defending free-kicks into the box our defenders set up in a high line but then start to move backwards towards our goal when the kicker is approaching the ball and so by playing all the advancing forwards on-side. Last night, led by Jagielka the first movement was forward, away from the goal, which on almost every occasion led to a Cardiff attacker being off-side, and hence there was no panicked attempts to clear knock-downs, or clear chances on goal.
He might be rusty but he still has the ability to organise the back line. I think he will be replaced for Sunday by Zouma. I just hope that they can maintain what they were doing last night.
i Thought that Schneiderlin played well last night, very similar to when he first arrived, and that the balance of the midfield was as a result much better
37 Posted 27/02/2019 at 14:09:52
Something tells me Richarlison needs to start learning a bit of English and quick coz he looks like a little lost boy scurrying round a Marrakesh souk. Take his PlayStation away Marco, make him move in with you in the granny flat and nail some English into him before it's too late.
He sees Marco as a father figure and a good father will have no qualms with spanking his behind if he doesn't start toeing the line pronto. Reminds me of when Cus D'Amato took a teenage Mike Tyson off his crack Ho Ma and turned him into the undisputed heavyweight champ at 21, tough love is all it takes and he could be a world beater, keep letting him get away with murder and we've got another Danny Cadatomato picker on our hands. IMWT COYB FTRS
38 Posted 27/02/2019 at 14:16:57
39 Posted 27/02/2019 at 14:43:06
Strange you don't rate Sigurdsson, I'm always open to suggestions as to who might be better? Enlighten us.
Without those 2 goals of his last night we probably wouldn't have won. He's our top scorer and plays in midfield, the whole team has been missing for the last 2 months but you single out our best player, bizarre.
40 Posted 27/02/2019 at 14:52:20
I'm still buzzing from my first Goodison games less than two years ago, when things were going so well and the crowd had the place rocking. What a rush you will experience for this game, especially if we win it. All the best to you, sir.
Regarding your comment at #15 that "We cannot rely on him (and Richarlison) for goals"... we sorta have to, don't we?
41 Posted 27/02/2019 at 14:56:45
In Hills Everton are 9/2, 5/2 the draw and 8/15 Liverpool.
42 Posted 27/02/2019 at 14:59:12
I am still one of the few who does expect to win on Sunday. I always expect to win. This is a chance to NOT play nervously and to carry on the momentum shown in the last 20 minutes of the Cardiff game.
We seem to treat the RS with far more respect than they ever deserve. I don't want to win because it might help Man City. I want to win because we are Everton and for ever I would prefer to be a losing Evertonian than a winning RS.
43 Posted 27/02/2019 at 15:01:09
44 Posted 27/02/2019 at 15:12:22
You obviously never read what I wrote. I said he's got games in him, like last night, and like I said, he took the goals very well. It's not strange I don't rate him. The game is all about opinions and my opinion of Sigurdsson is he hasn't done near enough to justify that massive fee. (Not his fault, by the way.)
Maybe it's just me that doesn't see what other.s see but don't call me down for expressing an opinion — an opinion, by the way, that I feel is justified after attending games for more than 50 years I will agree with you on one thing though: He hasn't been alone in being poor — the whole team has...
45 Posted 27/02/2019 at 15:18:24
His goal tally is impressive and we would be in dire straits without his goals but, as a midfield player, there are aspects of his game which must improve if the team is to function effectively against better teams.
I am pleased that he did well but let's see if he can reproduce this form on Sunday.
46 Posted 27/02/2019 at 15:22:03
Well I hope you have a great day and lose your voice cheering us on to victory.
Do you live abroad? I always take note of your posts, usually very sensible and to the point,I hope you take many happy memories from Sunday and wish you safe journeys there and back.
When you write your post about Sundays visit give us a brief history of how you became a Blue, are you a Scouser? Doesnt make any difference because you are definitely an Evertonian, Im just naturally a nosy bastard, you dont have to put your blood group or national insurance number in your profile by the way.
47 Posted 27/02/2019 at 15:30:47
I'll have that. Never intended it to come across as I hate them more than your statement.
Apologies if that's the way it looked.
48 Posted 27/02/2019 at 15:34:49
49 Posted 27/02/2019 at 15:37:26
50 Posted 27/02/2019 at 15:45:36
Lets go for it .got a good feeling about this one.
3-0 to us
51 Posted 27/02/2019 at 15:49:50
He pretty much went back to the game plan at Wolves and rebooted from there.
I still saw the same yawning gaps in the middle, we played a team incapable of exploiting them. Truly abject that Cardiff side.
Still his reliance or blindness were our right hand side is concerned is troubling. Walcott is now so out of form I guess maybe he might come full circle back into form, no, I dont think so either. Coleman was okay last night, did well for the goal but Kenny is the better pick atm.
Could it be hes rested players for Sunday? Has he learned to rotate with back to back games in mind? That would be a start for sure.
He certainly has some headaches looking at Sunday. At the back Zoumas pace gets him back in at whose expense? Oddly I think it might be Keane.
Gomes, Lookman and Kenny all have reasonable shouts too.
Not sure in 17days hes changed anything at all.
52 Posted 27/02/2019 at 16:12:19
I wasn't calling you, I was inquiring as to who you think could do a better job? I think we would all like to see improvement.
I too have watched the blues for over 50 years and have seen some great players in the past. The game has altered, there are no Alan Balls out there anymore.
53 Posted 27/02/2019 at 16:34:53
54 Posted 27/02/2019 at 16:52:36
That said, Silva changed the formation last night. He put in someone to hold and this had two effects, firstly it allowed Gueye to hunt the ball and get forwards. Secondly, if gave a counter balance to Sigurdsson. Suddenly we had a shape and a lack of gaps. Players also seemed to have a lot more energy (17 days off does that) and covered the ground easily. We looked so much better by using a holding midfielder.
We need to continue to rehabilitate Schniederlin or sign a better version or both.
55 Posted 27/02/2019 at 17:04:53
But I doubt the blues will find a central midfielder who will score that amount of goals by February for a very long time... and, without his goals, we would be certainties for relegation.
56 Posted 27/02/2019 at 17:09:02
When the team was announced I noted that Silva had clearly gone for Premier League experience.
With Mina still not fully fit and Zouma
injured suspended, Jagielka was a shoo-in to return.
Coleman replaced Kenny.
Schneiderlin replaced Gomes.
Walcott was preferred over both Bernard and Lookman.
Contrary to some claims, the shape and tactics remained largely as they have all season, so this was no Damascus moment, no radical shake-up by Silva. Just a change of personnel.
Nobody played very badly (Richarlison being the poorest, but not out and out rank). Some played very well. Some played better than they have of late.
It's not surprising that goals breed confidence. We were the slightly better team in the first half, but not significantly so. When the goal did come it was very well crafted and finished. The timing would have given the team a huge lift going into half time.
We dominated the second half, playing some very nice football at times. The second goal gave us another lift and the third goal was the icing on the cake.
For all of those saying, 'yeah, but it was only Cardiff', I don't see anyone making any extravagant claims on the back of this win. Perhaps the overriding emotion is one of relief, because any lingering doubt about relegation can surely be put to bed now.
This may help the team relax a bit more and continue (as they did in-game last night) to play themselves back into form.
Possibly the biggest and most telling (and interesting) switch last night was Schneiderlin for Gomes, assuming the sitting role in front of the defence that Gomes has occupied for a number of games now.
For some months now in this poor run, plenty on TW have questioned the worth of both Gueye and Sigurdson to the team, whereas Gomes has been given pretty much a free ride.
I have consistently defended Gueye in particular and Sigurdson for his goals and assists, bewildered by claims by some that neither can pass, and that both are slow and technically poor and are more a hinderance than a help.
I have consistently said that the weak link in the past 3 months has been Gomes. Yes, he impressed early doors, but generally he tended to have one good half and an anonymous second half even when playing 'well'. For some time now, he has been poor over the full 90 minutes.
Teams got wise to him and doubled, even trebled up on him in possession. As a result his effectiveness diminished even further. He was constantly getting caught in possession and both his short and long passing was very poor. He started to look goosed by the end of December, but Silva persisted in playing him. He even rested him for the cup game vs Lincoln, but then subbed him in at half time, so he got no rest at all.
Now unlike some, I was never overly impressed by Schneiderlin, even in his so-called 'Golden Period' when he first joined us. Last season he was a disgrace. But when the new manager spoke specifically of one player at the start of the season and his importance to the team, that player was Schneiderlin...and he actually started the season very well!
He was unfortunate to get injured, but since Gomes was selected, Morgan hasn't had a look in.
Now Morgan has obviously been fit for the bulk of this season, so it begs the question, given both the team's and Gomes' own prolonged poor form, why the manager didn't at least try something different and recall Schneiderlin earlier?
He is, furthermore, our own player. Gomes is just a loan player.
Delighted with the result. Delighted with the performance. Delighted the manager finally got a tune out of his side. But given my assessment above, I'm not quite ready to fully exonerate either the manager or players just yet on the back of last night's result, as welcome and as joyful as it was.
Let's now see how the manager lines them up on Sunday and how they play against that lot.
57 Posted 27/02/2019 at 17:14:32
Let's hope for all of us it is a memorable one that seriously torpedoes t'other lots title ambitions.
58 Posted 27/02/2019 at 17:22:38
Did not realise you were based down sarf.
If you have availability next week, let me buy you dinner/lunch.
Have seen you post many times as the voice of reason amongst the tempest that is a TW thread.
Let me know? Anywhere Central/North London is best.
60 Posted 27/02/2019 at 17:41:53
That sounds as if you thought Gomes was good for us at first, not a weak link (having to treble up on a player seems to say they aren't the weak link); and that he became less effective as oppositions trebled up on him (I'm not surprised with three men on you!). I'm not really sure what your position is on Gomes.
61 Posted 27/02/2019 at 18:07:59
"Yes, he impressed early doors, but generally he tended to have one good half and an anonymous second half even when playing 'well'. For some time now, he has been poor over the full 90 minutes."
I'm pretty sure I wasn't alone in noting Andre rarely put in a good full 90 minutes performance.
In his 'good spell', I loved the way he retained the ball under pressure, twisting and turning and getting the ball away to a blue shirt. He is evidently technically adept and was very influential in how we were playing, up to and including the game at Anfield, where he possibly had his best 90 minutes with Everton to date.
The Premier League took note of this. The opposition strive to negate your most creative and influential players. Thus, the crowding out of Gomes when he gets on the ball.
Since that has been the case (and I'm surprised if you haven't noticed it for yourself, Brent), neither Gomes nor his manager have found a solution to counter the opposition's counter and his effectiveness is nowhere near as influential as when he first burst into the side.
Silva has tried playing him in a deeper role, presumably with the idea of giving him more time on the ball rather than expose him to the white heat of central midfield, but that has not seen any improvement on how little he now influences the game.
Increasingly, he has become the man to be substituted in games and last night he was dropped from the starting XI altogether. And arguably, the team benefited from this change as a result.
62 Posted 27/02/2019 at 18:24:00
Pretty much everything Richarlison tried didn't work at all, and when the little fella replaced him we looked dangerous every time we went forward. Still not confident going into the weekend, but we can hope!!
63 Posted 27/02/2019 at 18:26:32
64 Posted 27/02/2019 at 18:45:20
65 Posted 27/02/2019 at 18:45:43
For me, it beggars belief that a midfielder who scored goals gets so much criticism. Too many people on here are obsessed with what they want players to be, rather than the players they are. Siguurdson runs his socks off, links the play well and scores goals. That's what he does. In a team that is often static/ponderous. Imagine if we had players that moved better off the ball, other players that gave some goal threat?
It's like when Lukaku was here, "If you take away his goals, what does he do?"
In this age of meaningless stats, it's ironic that so many disregard the most important one!
66 Posted 27/02/2019 at 18:49:48
Jay, please don't be condescending - I did read your whole post. I'm just asking a genuine question in a civil manner.
"...he impressed early doors, but generally he tended to have one good half and an anonymous second half even when playing 'well'".
Do you think it was his good half or his anonymous second half when teams trebled up on him?
67 Posted 27/02/2019 at 18:51:56
I also hasten to add that I truly hope you witness a long overdue victory, even if it's a 1-0 by virtue of a Van Dijk or Henderson own goal, or even better a 96th minute fumble by Allison, which is duly nodded in by Pickford with one second remaining.
I also note from other sources, Silva and allegedly Sigurdsson have started taunting Liverpool about Sunday. Why don't they keep their traps shut, it will only encourage them to be even more resolute to avoid any sort of defeat.
It's not as if we have just beaten City away with a deserved performance, we have just beaten a side which has one foot on the slide, and the other on a bar of wet soap.
Team selection will be vital for Sunday, like it or not, it has to be 'trench mentality' where all are fighting towards the common cause, there will be no room for shirkers and ne'er-do-wells!
68 Posted 27/02/2019 at 19:08:09
That Mike Tyson wasn't up to much. All he did was knock opponents out
70 Posted 27/02/2019 at 19:22:27
Replay the 1981 Cup game 5th round, on Saturday afternoon to the squad, a reminder of another day when Everton, were supposed to get hammered and on the day, true grit and guts won the day.
Yes lets damage their title hopes... We can live in hope and dream, and it can come true.
74 Posted 27/02/2019 at 20:19:06
Amit @58, that's extremely civil of you. I may have quite a manic week next week due to a new job but will let you know.
Jay and Derek, thank you! Hoping I can be a lucky mascot of sorts.
79 Posted 27/02/2019 at 22:33:33
So are we truly safe by now? I'd like us to run as many young ones as we can, if so. Especially against LFC, we need non-mercenaries... So let us go for it!
81 Posted 27/02/2019 at 22:48:19
Whatever happens between now and the end of the season, I really hope we start with a new manager next time around. If Silva is still with us, I can only see more of the same. This season has been a fucking calamity.
82 Posted 27/02/2019 at 23:08:10
Having watched the blues for over 30 years, I agree, some of the football we've played recently has been pants. We will not get anywhere sacking managers every season.
Moyes finished 17th in his first full season. We have lost our identity since he left. We have to find a new identity. We should be careful with our vilification. It could be a lot worse.
Having watched the abhorrent teams of the 90s, the promise of a new dawn and stadiums, under the likes of Agent Johnston and Kenwright... at least the latter kept us going out of business. Short memories.
83 Posted 27/02/2019 at 23:42:57
I am hoping my voice comes back after cheering the lads on at Cardiff last night. Although there were quite a few empty seats, the support was amazing when taking into account our form and a Tuesday night in South Wales.
As Jim Bennings states above, we need to make Goodson a bear pit on Sunday. We can beat the Red Shite if we all pull together (in the same direction even!) and partisan support can make such a difference.
As for last night's team selection and performance; there have been lots of posts saying Silva has no Plan B and does the same old thing every game. Well last night he made a very astute change by playing Schneiderlin and it paid off. Schneiderlin stuck to his role well and allowed Gueye to play a more forward role which he excelled in. Gylfi was immense and got better and better, great to see after his recent form.
Bernard did well when he came on as did Lookman. I can't make my mind up if they should both be starting or are more effective coming off the bench.
Only really Walcott and Richarlison struggled, I think Richarlison is trying too hard and gets really frustrated very early in the game. I am struggling to figure out if Walcott just couldn't be bothered or simply doesn't have what it takes anymore, sometimes he seems to put the required effort in and other times looks like he would rather be sitting in the stands with a packet if crisps.
A special mention for Calvert-Lewin who gets more flak than most but never gives up. He put himself about last night and scored a very well taken goal – well done lad!
Overall, an excellent result coming from a professional performance. There are no easy games in the Premier League, particularly away from home. Well done to Silva, the team and the fantastic support.
Looking forward to Sunday and a long awaited win.
84 Posted 28/02/2019 at 01:04:55
...and the saying, “you cant have it both ways” doesnt exist for the reds.
In my time of Blueness, I think this statement most succinctly sums up their support, from my observations, albeit far afield, and nails their mindset.
Never our fault, always excusing anything negative, justifying every action, deed, and word.
They are the most delusional Club / sporting team I've ever witnessed.
Chelsea are high on the hate factor for me. Too snobby-posh. Hate the buy, buy, buy, replace manager merry-go-round.
The New York Yankees are lamentable. Their fans by far the most obnoxious on earth.
The Canadiens fans are hated for their uppity attitude, and "we are SO fucking French and we invented hockey" demeaning culture.
But Liverpool takes the cake for me. They supplanted #1 on the "I think I literally hate these fuckers" list. It's the complete lack of owning up to anything.
For once, just once, say your manager was in the wrong. Just once say that your player acted inappropriately. Just once take responsibility for your fans' behavior. Just once own up to any-fucking-thing.
We have to win. Just once.
85 Posted 28/02/2019 at 01:08:21
I can not believe you got a derby for your first trip to Goodison!
You hit the lottery or something?? What the hell, man!
Have fun. I personally can't wait to read your article. I live vicariously through all these "first trip to Goodison" submissions on TW.
Have fun. Happy for you.
86 Posted 27/02/2019 at 01:23:32
99% of the criticism Sigurdsson gets is justified.
You can't complain about him getting stick simply because his latest performance was a good one. He's been missing for weeks, FFS. When an experienced international as talented as he is goes missing for a game, he deserves to be criticised. When he goes on a mid-season break, he should be hauled over the coals.
I can't recall criticising him myself, but I most definitely nod in agreement when I read people say he's been dogshit for long periods. This "Yeah, but wait till he's in the mood" defence is illogical. Whilst we can rejoice in the fact that he has found his shooting boots, let's not lose sight of the fact that he has been AWOL when we badly needed him.
The opposite can be said about Idrissa Gueye. He has never gone AWOL, but to listen to some people who seem to think Tuesday night offered a true representation of a decade of playing, he has morphed into our very own Xavi.
"Who says Gana can't pass?" I fucking do. What do I base it on? I base it on a decade of virtually zero creativity from him.
Let's give some balance to this discussion by first giving credit where it is due. I fucking hate the term "joy to watch" – it's bland and is all too often used to describe the slightly above average... but Gueye's performance on Tuesday did give me a feeling of genuine joy. He was fabulous. Cruyff turns, nutmegs, little give-n-goes, it was all there.
The way he exposed the Cardiff midfield as they threw bodies forward trying to salvage something was something we have been crying out for for ages (intelligence). The goal he set up by slipping Calvert-Lewin in grabbed the headlines, but he had two other drives for the Cardiff jugular which could easily have ended up with a goal.
Loved it. loved it, loved it... but is anybody expecting him to play a similar game on Sunday? Or the game after? Will we play another team as desperate as Cardiff this season? A true passer of the ball can do it against a team holding its shape.
Gueye attracts a lot of comments about his lack of creativity for a very good reason. That may be a little unfair, especially as he is clearly prepared to run through a brick wall for us. We only have to look at the Spurs game to know how crucial he is to us.
Sigurdsson's criticism (for me at least) is a little more deserved. The stats (damn them) will tell you he puts in the yards... and he probably does, but they are not what I call 'hard yards'. There is often little purpose or intent to his game. He gets the stick because he often appears to be going through the motions.
His two goals came as such a welcome relief on Tuesday and I'm not sure we have another player who would have scored them... but does that exonerate him from criticism when he fails to show for 5-6 weeks?
Anyway; By attempting to explain or justify criticism, I feel I'm focusing too much on what they cant do. Let's concentrate on what they can do.
I believe If these two players bring their A game on Sunday, we will beat the Red Shite; if they don't, we won't.
90 Posted 28/02/2019 at 06:30:23
With better players around him, especially a centre forward who makes clever runs, the better he will become. For now, I will settle for the fact that he has scored more league goals this season than the following players:
91 Posted 28/02/2019 at 07:23:51
There are lots of players in this who don't score. Apparently, it's not their game. Sigurdsson does, so when he doesn't, the knives come out.
He's been poor recently, but I always think he's got a goal in him. In this team, that makes him more of a necessity than a luxury.
92 Posted 28/02/2019 at 07:56:37
Having said that they are human, and the odd off-day can happen to anyone... but not off-weeks and months, that is down to the Manager, who should identify this before repeatedly including them in the starting eleven.
I also believe that Silva does not know what his best combination of players is, and as for tactics, this must be varied dependent on who the opposition are. Otherwise, you become so predictable that any opposition Manager has an idea of how to nullify and capitalise on your predictability.
93 Posted 28/02/2019 at 09:03:06
Calvert-Lewin took hid goal well but there were some crosses he should have got to but didn't seem to commit.
No real reason why we shouldn't beat the RS on Sunday!
94 Posted 28/02/2019 at 09:38:23
The Mike Tyson comparison falls short too really. Tyson in his prime dominated opponents mentally before a fight even started and was almost the complete boxer in terms of movement, footwork, speed and power. He was not just about throwing a few big punches and knocking people out alone. yes he did this but only on the back of everything else that allowed it to happen.
Sigurdsson needs to add a lot more to his game before he can be compared to a complete machine like Tyson at his peak. This may not be technical skills – a lot of his failings IMO are around doing the ugly things well and dominating games through his aggression and personality. Until then, he is a luxury player for me who has the odd good game now & then but can go missing for long periods.
If he were that good, we would not have been so bad for most of the season. Yes, it is a team game but truly great players can raise a team's performance levels on their own to some degree.
It is not about suggesting other players who could come in to replace him either. That is not pre-requisite for having an opinion on a player. Just because there may not be anyone else free to bring in does not change what we are seeing on the pitch.
95 Posted 28/02/2019 at 10:00:45
Sigurdsson has the Cahill factor, and the Naismith factor. Not in any style of play in particular, or overall ability. Just in the natural born instinct of being in the right place at the right time to score. Coupled with a great ability to finish.
Anticipation can't really be taught, it is instinctive. All those player have it to varying degrees and it is of great benefit to the team.
[Especially when you haven't got a 25-goal-a-season centre-forward.]
96 Posted 28/02/2019 at 11:49:27
Unless I am mistaken, isn't his job to create as well as chip in with a few goals? The goals we have got but the creativity is sadly, completely missing. I still don't believe he is the midfield maestro we have yearned for all these years and his form had been woeful up until the Cardiff game.
A good game from him – absolutely; a midfield creator he is not. Nor would I call him a classy operator. Having said all that, here's hoping the lad produces a match-winning performance against the unmentionables!!
97 Posted 28/02/2019 at 12:03:50
Somebody posted on Twitter the other day Sigurdsson's stats for the season, and he comes out as best for most forward passes completed, 2nd to Digne in assists, and joint top scorer.
There were other stats that I can't remember that had him in 1st place so, despite the criticism of Sigurdsson, it seems the stats paint a very different picture. Then, when you put his goal stats against the rest of the Premier League midfield players, he comes out as one of the best.
98 Posted 28/02/2019 at 12:32:02
Our problem is a collective one – we've won 3 games since December 2nd last year, that's 3 months and those wins were against Cardiff, Huddersfield and Lincoln City. Shocking form from the entire team.
It's no wonder half of us were happy to have 17 days without a game to worry about.
99 Posted 28/02/2019 at 12:50:53
Does Moshiri want to now bumble along as Kenwright does, having squandered hundreds of millions already, or does he want to spend again to try to get top six and thereby increase his/our revenues to sustain his/our new stadium and our attractiveness to better players? Takes a brilliant accountant to work that out.
100 Posted 28/02/2019 at 13:02:52
Sunday — have no illusion... we'll get smashed.
Sam Hoare, I hope you enjoy the game, lad. I live in London and, when not posted all around, I go to every home game and plenty of aways... no excuse, lol.
101 Posted 28/02/2019 at 13:07:03
Sigurdsson was great the other night, as was Bernard. I'd love him to get in the box with the Red Shite defence, penalties all day. Gana seems to be on a roll, so midfield should be gritty. COYB .
102 Posted 28/02/2019 at 13:13:37
103 Posted 28/02/2019 at 19:34:20
And I take your point but after we scored the 2nd goal we looked half decent.
James #98, youve forgotten to include wins against Burnley and Bournemouth which still means our record is poor bug at least 66% better than you thought!
104 Posted 28/02/2019 at 19:51:55
I'm not happy with how we have been playing but I was over the moon how they played against Chelsea and Liverpool. We have the core of a good side, we're building a good management structure (well, apart from one), we have stronger finances and a new ground on the way. There is a lot to be positive about. Form is temporary, the direction Everton are going is a long-term plan.
105 Posted 28/02/2019 at 20:49:50
You could feel the confidence returning in the players and away support when we scored the second on Tuesday. The most positive I have felt during a game for a while.
Overall, we are still heading in the right direction, no-one said it was going to be easy. We just need to get behind the team and the manager and support them all we can.
106 Posted 28/02/2019 at 21:41:43
I believe the team spirit is not what it should be in the dressing room, the togetherness a group needs to succeed is not there. If we score on Sunday, to take the lead or level the score, and the players don't go nuts as the fans surely will, then something is definitely not right... but, then again, when is something not right at Goodison – these days it goes with the territory.
COYBs – Your fans need you to turn up and do your duty on Sunday.
107 Posted 28/02/2019 at 21:43:05
People have a right to be realistic and have an opinion if they go to matches every season and not be delusional just because it comes across being negative... truth hurts.
108 Posted 28/02/2019 at 21:50:58
Away support sing over us and you get the feeling we're the away team unless we score. The players notice it and it needs to be sorted out. Imagine a bigger stadium with the same support...
109 Posted 28/02/2019 at 23:15:27
#108, yes the atmosphere at home is and has been a problem for some time. It comes across as supporters can't be bothered and that cannot help the team in any shape or form. We need the team to get stuck in from the off which will get the crowd going; unlikely to happen the other way around even for a derby.
110 Posted 28/02/2019 at 23:53:08
Everton try to play one touch to get behind the opposing defense after allowing a team to get back in shape and loose the ball when defensive midfield is in no-mans land and the counter is deadly. Counters are high-speed and, if wing-backs are out of position, our central defenders are lumbering.
111 Posted 01/03/2019 at 20:57:15
112 Posted 01/03/2019 at 22:44:08
You say the team needs to get stuck in from the off to get the crowd buzzing and you're not wrong. However, to counter, take a look at the Anfield crowd and how they are riled up and singing before the team even come out of the tunnel. I know they have a little more to cheer about than we do, but at some point, one of two parties has to take the initiative.
It's no use saying "the players should give us reason to cheer" if that's not what they're doing. Almost every single player in the senior squad is a mercenary with no ties to Everton Football Club except a bank account number and an agreement to turn up to training every day.
Like I said, I don't disagree with you at all, but I think the initiative needs to be taken by the supporters at home matches.
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