Everton edge thriller

By Paul Traill 01/09/2019 18comments  |  Jump to last
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"Everton edge past Lincoln in thriller" screamed the headline on BBC Sport on Wednesday evening but of course that wasn't quite true. A good game it was, but winning by two clear goals is not exactly what I would calling "edging" or indeed a "thriller". We discussed the Lincoln City game and how great it was to see our players standing up for each other in the pub before the game, Ste joining us a little later on looking a bit worse for wear following a night in Manchester yesterday evening.

In good time, we were into Goodison Park, even with time to spare to catch a bit of the Old Firm on one of the screens, before taking our seats for the sirens.

Now this game against Wolverhampton Wanderers was one more akin to a “thriller”, especially with the way the game begun with three goals within the first 12 minutes in what was a pulsating start to the game. A clumsy mix-up between Conor Coady and Rui Patricio opened the door for Richarlison who made no mistake, pouncing on the loose ball and slamming it into the empty net first time after only 5 minutes.

The joy was short-lived when Adam Traore got past Lucas Digne on the byline a little too easily before squaring the ball across the box which Coleman couldn’t quite clear and the ball was presented to Romain Saiss who made no mistake in levelling the scores.

That was on 9 minutes. Just 3 minutes later, however, we were ahead again this time when an exquisite ball in on the bounce from Gylfi Sigurdsson was well headed home by the lively Alex Iwobi and Everton had a 2-1 lead. A crazy 12 minutes, two teams giving it their all and a pumped-up atmosphere meant you knew there was a lot more to come in this game.

It looked as though Wolves were going to provide it too, not least when Patrick Cutrone’s effort at goal was somehow repelled by Jordan Pickford to preserve our lead. Raul Jimenez, who tormented us at Goodison Park last season, also twice came close in what were comparatively easier saves for Jordan Pickford.

Thankfully, the game finally settled down a bit for the remainder of the half but the tempo and verve was still there, just Everton had finally got a grip on the midfield with Fabian Delph and Andre Gomes both doing well in the middle. We got to the break with the lead preserved.

The second half began with Everton carrying on where they left off – a bit more robust than they had been in the opening 25 minutes in what was an often cagey game but played in good spirits and, contrary to popular belief around me, well officiated by Anthony Taylor. We seemed to be happy enough for Wolves to have the ball with Delph and Gomes continuing to scrap to good effect. Iwobi and particularly Richarlison worked the counter-attack from the flanks. Gylfi Sigurdsson put the hard yards in between midfield and attack, with Moise Kean ready to pounce on whatever came his way.

Though there is merit in the thinking that maybe we should have gone on the front foot a bit more, Wolves are a dangerous and scrappy team and we had to be wary of their threat. Things began to go a bit wrong when Iwobi began to tire. He did a few loose touches and made a few poor decisions and when Richarlison did ever so well to get back and block a cross for a Wolves throw-in, Iwobi went down for treatment as Everton readied their substitutes. It’s situations like this where Everton will need to wise up. It seemed they switched off a bit while play had stopped and perhaps weren’t as prepared as they should have been for the long throw. In it came from Ryan Bennett, Willy Boly flicked on at the near post and Jiminez bundled home at the back, getting himself hurt in the process. Wolves level, deservedly so some may have argued.

What impressed me with both the team and the crowd is that nobody appeared especially fazed. The players walked back clapping and encouraging each other. The crowd roared the lads on. When Wolves scored against us last season, it really felt like such a downer when this happened; now, however, the crowd seem more with the team.

The substitutions were made, no surprises – Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Bernard for the flat out new lads Moise Kean and Alex Iwobi. Both the substitutes contributed well, but it was two of our existing gems who combined for our winning goal. Lucas Digne, who, Wolves first goal aside, had been exceptional throughout, put in an incredible ball which was well attacked by Richarlison who guided his header brilliantly into the corner of the net. At first glance, I thought Patricio made a bit of a meal of it but from the replay you could see how well placed the header was.

There was still 10 minutes to play but, as Dan said on the way home, you felt that Wolves equaliser was about all they could muster as they were pretty drained by then following a solid effort, and perhaps a touch of tiredness from the Europa League on Thursday. They tried to attack to get back level again, but at this stage of the game it allowed more opportunity to Everton and but for a couple of top saves from Patricio, denying both Richarlison and Yerry Mina, we could have “edged” our second game of the week 4-2.

The game was well and truly up for Wolves in stoppage time when Willy Boly was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence when he chopped down Richarlison. Cheers met the full-time whistle. She’s Electric by Oasis boomed out over the tannoy as Everton were applauded off the field following a job well done against a good team. A great game. A “thriller” you could say, and certainly a great advert for the Premier League, as Dan said.

An important three points going into the international break and with Sheffield United at home coming up next we have a great opportunity to build on our current position of 6th. On that game, if anybody knows of a spare ticket going for the Sheffield United game at around face value, preferably in the Lower Gwladys though not essential, could you let me know on the comments? My Father-in-Law will be over from Germany and wants to catch the game, and the tickets on StubHub are currently very expensive.

Much obliged.

Player ratings:

Pickford: Let’s not speak to soon, and I sincerely hope I’m still saying this at the end of the season but I think he’s come on leaps and bounds. Last season was tough for him with the derby, the mistakes against Newcastle United and getting in a ruck in Sunderland, and he’s taken a lot of stick. This season however, he’s looking very focused. He’s making great saves. He’s distributing brilliantly. When he first arrived from Sunderland we’d heard a lot of his great left foot and I was looking forward to seeing it. He has tried to distribute but doesn’t seem to have found his range until now. He’s really looking the part. Well done Jordan. Keep it up. 8

Digne: He loses a mark for letting Traore get past him too easily for Wolves’ first goal. But otherwise he was outstanding. A real class act and a great assist. 8

Mina: I don’t know who exactly was at fault for Wolves’ second equaliser but I feel it’s on the centre-backs to keep everyone focused in them situations. Either way, I thought Yerry played well, though he does seem to have the odd lapse of concentration, but otherwise good. 7

Keane: The pick of the two centre backs for me. Had a good game at the back. 7

Coleman: Also did well. Fresh competition from Djibril Sidibe will hopefully help him up his game. 7

Delph: I was a bit surprised Fabian started the game instead of Morgan Schneiderlin and, though he had a few dicey moments, he really looks the part. It’s hard to believe that was his first game at Goodison Park as he looked right at home. I like the look of that pair (he and Andre Gomes). Not a bad Goodison bow at all. 7

Gomes: Did a lot of, perhaps unnoticed, defensive work which I assume were his instructions. When we had to step it up however in the final 15 minutes, my did Andre rise to it with a sterling finish to the game for which Wolves had no answer. Well done, Andre. 8

Iwobi: I like the look of Alex. He’s very busy and productive, not least for our second goal. Has also settled very quickly, though did tire with 15 minutes to go. Once he gets up to speed he could be a real asset for us. 7

Richarlison: Not just for his two well-taken goals, but more for his all-round outstanding effort and contribution with the ball throughout, but Richarlison is my man of the match. His performances have been pretty poor in the opening few games, but he has heart and keeps on going. I was made up for him when he scored late at Lincoln City on Wednesday as I thought that may be the boost he needed to kick on, but didn’t expect a performance like that from the Brazilian. Well done Richarlison. 9

Sigurdsson: Didn’t get on the ball an awful lot, but did put in a delicious ball for Iwobi’s goal, and worked tirelessly throughout. A great effort from our Icelander. 7

Kean: I like Moise, he’s plucky. He fancies his chances and makes things happen. It’s apparent that we’ll have to be patient with him, but as with young players, you have to give them the games to learn. Given a dozen games or so, he’ll be awesome, I reckon. 5

Calvert-Lewin (for Kean): Got stuck in and made it difficult for the Wolves defenders. 6

Bernard (for Iwobi): An impressive cameo from Bernard. 7


Reader Comments (18)

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George Carroll
1 Posted 01/09/2019 at 21:37:33
An excellent report and spot on, in my opinion, with your player ratings.
John Dingle
2 Posted 01/09/2019 at 21:50:32
Good accurate report. Can't agree with 5 for Moise. I know a lot of what he tried did not come off but no way was he 2 points worse than the previous lowest rated player at 7. I thought he looked a threat, occupied defenders, and is going to be a star.
Danny O'Neill
3 Posted 01/09/2019 at 22:40:14
I said on the live forum, I will eat humble pie on Delph. I don't generally buy into the Sky generated transfer frenzy, but will admit to being underwhelmed when that was announced.

He looked great today; a true link man who was making things tick and showing leadership even when not on the ball. Him and Gomes can really make a 4-2-3-1 hugely effective.

Mick Davies
4 Posted 02/09/2019 at 02:30:24
Delph 7!!!! Are you serious?
Jay Harris
6 Posted 02/09/2019 at 04:04:30
Paul,

I can't agree with your rating for Digne who I thought had his worst game in a blue shirt and was directly responsible for their 2 goals.

I thought it was between Delph and Richarlison for MotM with Sigurdsson running them close.

I think a lot of people underestimated Kean's contribution today. It wasn't a great debut but he kept 3 defenders occupied, giving space for Iwobi, Sigurdsson and Richarlison to work.

Brent Stephens
7 Posted 02/09/2019 at 04:42:47
Little mention so far on the various threads of Kean's contribution in our first goal. He chased down the defender and keeper and got his foot in to deflect the ball to Richarlison.

Paul, I like your reports but I find myself often disagreeing with your ratings. Gomes had a poor first half half so 8 is OTT for me. Iwobi was much better and his 7 is a surprise. Digne a curate's egg in this game with some significant contributions but led a merry dance by Traore so 8 surprises me, especially given Delph (MotM for me) gets only 7.

Jim Harrison
8 Posted 02/09/2019 at 06:05:44
I get the impression you will be getting a lot of puzzled looks regarding the Delph rating!!!! 8 at least, possibly even a 9 given that he wasn't fully fit and making his full home debut!
Dale Rose
9 Posted 02/09/2019 at 09:08:54
On the money, Paul. Wolves are a difficult side. I thought we did really well. Gomes was very much the unsung hero and Delph outstanding.
Rob Dolby
10 Posted 02/09/2019 at 09:45:44
Totally agree with Jay @6.

No doubting Digne is a quality footballer who has set such high standards for himself but he did mess up for both goals, though redeemed himself with setting up the 3rd.

Calvert-Lewin 6 for 15 mins whilst Kean only gets a 5. It's obvious where our weakness is in the team. We are relying on Kean an awful lot this year. I thought the signs were very promising: his movement is good and he looks a threat.

John Raftery
11 Posted 02/09/2019 at 10:12:02
Thanks, Paul, for an excellent report. Like others, I thought Delph was worth an 8 and Gomes only a 7.

Gomes was fairly anonymous in the first hour but picked up late on when he made some vital interventions to disrupt the Wolves attack. Delph was superb again building on his form at Lincoln. He was the midfielder who kept the play flowing and marshalling the team when we lost possession. Finally, we have a worthy replacement for Gareth Barry; providing he stays fit of course.

Moise Kean is learning just how hard it is to make an impact in central positions with defenders marking tightly. The Italian's time will come but in the immediate future I would not be surprised to see Calvert-Lewin start the next two games with Kean coming off the bench for the final half-hour.

Mark Murphy
12 Posted 02/09/2019 at 10:47:46
Anyone else concerned that our players were in the pub before the Lincoln game???
😬
Daniel A Johnson
13 Posted 02/09/2019 at 11:48:35
Digne's performance was part genius, part horror show: I'd give him 6/10.

For both goals he was at fault it shouldn't be glossed over.

As for Gomes scoring higher than Delph... madness.

What stuck out for me was our effort and application every single man put in a shift, the prime example being Richarlison. Say what you like about Silva but the players play for him alright.

Just sours me watching the forward lines of Arsenal and Spurs yet we have Calvert-Lewin and an unproven 19-year-old Italian kid. The gulf in class in terms of firepower will hold us back AGAIN this season. So frustrating it hasn't been addressed again by Brands & Silva.

Liam Reilly
14 Posted 02/09/2019 at 12:40:32
Kean never a 5 Paul; that first goal doesn't happen if he's not running at the defender and Goalkeeper and the Wolves defense were run ragged by our front 4; all of them contributing massively.

Gomes and Delph is looking like a quality partnership, but there's a worry about strength in depth if either gets injured.

Still feel that the defense (minus Pickford, who is looking the real deal) is susceptible to crosses and the long throws won't go unnoticed by up and coming opposition, so that needs addressing quickly.

Tony J Williams
15 Posted 02/09/2019 at 12:51:43
Simply cannot agree with your marks for Richarlison, I was thinking that he should have been subbed just before he banged in the winner.

Yes, he gets lots of free-kicks but he also lost the ball on numerous occasions trying to be clever or trying to take on too many men.

He is definitely a great player but I thought his overall play was quite poor yesterday.

Christopher Timmins
16 Posted 02/09/2019 at 14:27:06
Paul, a great report and your ratings were close enough to being on the money.

One thing which is obvious from yesterday and which is going to take some time to change is the manner in which we use the long ball. Without Calvert-Lewin, it simply keeps coming back. We need to keep the ball on the floor and given what Calvert-Lewin has given the team by way of a long ball option over the past 15 or so games; this will take time to develop and perfect.

Looking forward to continued improvement during the month of September.

Robert Workman
17 Posted 02/09/2019 at 17:30:58
Very good report with nice personal touches along the way. Like Mark 12, I had to read the bit about the players being in the pub twice!

My only disagreement would be about the referee, who I think is one of the worst. Why wasn't VAR consulted when Coleman was clearly pulled back in the penalty area off the ball?

Brave of you to, once again, give player ratings. I see that I am not alone in rating Delph higher than 7. I also thought it was a close call between Delph and Richarlison for MotM.

However, despite my observations, I am in no way criticising you, as you were at the match whilst I was only watching on an Internet stream.

Danny Broderick
19 Posted 02/09/2019 at 23:25:38
I loved what Delph brought to the team on Sunday. Take him out and put Schneiderlin in, and we simply would not have won that game. He worked his socks off, was probing with his passing and he cajoled the other players throughout. When was the last time we had a midfielder like him, taking responsibility like a captain in the middle of the park? Off the top of my head, Barry, and before him Neville. Certainly in the last few years, we have lacked leadership in central midfield, the most important area of the pitch for me.

If he can stay fit, i’m looking forward to seeing him link up with Digne and Iwobi/Bernard down the left. He really gives us another dimension in midfield.

Francis van Lierop
20 Posted 05/09/2019 at 15:38:04
A good report once more Paul.

For the ratings I would have given Fabian Delph an 8. It's been said before, let's hope he stays fit.

As for Moise Kean, a lot hasn't quite come off, like his shot on the post. But it'll come. I'd given him a 6 for sheer perseverance.

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