Pressure-Relieving Win for Marco’s Blues

By Paul Traill 20/10/2019 20comments  |  Jump to last
On Friday afternoon, I received a WhatsApp message from a friend offering me some well-priced tickets in the Dixie Dean Suite for the game against West Ham United. We just couldn’t refuse and so we arrived at Goodison Park at 10 am in our suits for a top draw five-course meal with complimentary bar. We enjoyed a great afternoon with good company, Jeff Winter (!) the guest speaker, Mike Higgins was also doing the rounds and we had the best seats in the house not far from Bill Kenwright, Farhad Moshiri, Marcel Brands and Denise Barrett-Baxendale. All that was needed was an Everton performance and thankfully the Blue boys didn’t disappoint.

We were a little surprised, though not disappointed, by the team news. We weren’t necessarily baying for the dropped players to be so, but there was a clear need to change and we were pleased to see Marco had the bottle to do so. Djibril Sidibe came in for an enforced change at right-back with captain Seamus Coleman suspended. Morgen Schneiderlin was unavailable for family reasons which allowed an opportunity for Tom Davies, and Andre Gomes’s return to the midfield was welcomed by all. What a difference he makes to the team.

I wasn’t surprised to see that Marco took the opportunity to utilise two of the players who didn’t travel for international football over the last few weeks as he gave game time to Theo Walcott and Bernard. With no league goals to his name yet this season it was a reasonable call to drop Gylfi Sigurdsson, Alex Iwobi moving in-field to replace he, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin was also dropped, Richarlison given the opportunity up top. A bold move by Marco, and good on him for being bullish enough to be so. Had it backfired he could have been, well, fired.

We began the game at a fair tempo though West Ham did look threatening as they probed on the break. We could barely watch as they had a well-positioned early free-kick, though thankfully they wasted it. Everton began to grapple control of the game and should have been ahead when Tom Davies was left free inside the 6-yard box from a corner kick but he was too casual and side-footed comfortably at Roberto Jiminez. We didn’t have long to wait until we took the lead however when Bernard struck on 17 minutes with a bizarre goal. Bernard timed his run well to collect Theo’s clever pass. The crowd groaned as he feigned to shoot and we thought the chance had gone. The Brazilian wasn’t finished though and he jinked his way past Arthur Masuaku before somehow squeezing the ball past the onrushing Roberto Jiminez and into the net from an impossible angle. It was pitiful defending from West Ham United and I’d have been furious had we conceded a goal like that, though needless to say it was nice to profit from it.

Bernard’s compatriot, Richarlison, almost doubled our lead shortly afterwards when he hit the post from a similar position. It was good from Everton. We played well. Tom Davies and Andre Gomes dominated the midfield and we got to half time a goal ahead, albeit with a few jitters as we approached the break. West Ham United have some talented players in their ranks, many of whom are technically astute, but they don’t possess enough steel and are short of one or two battlers in there. Unsurprisingly they tried to affect their performance by introducing Andriy Yarmelenko but the leggy Ukrainian failed to make a significant impact and was well marshalled by Lucas Digne.

Everton continued to probe in the second half and missed a number of opportunities which on another day could have proved costly, Alex Iwobi guilty of the biggest miss of them all when he hit straight at Jiminez when through on goal. Theo Walcott almost scored the best goal of his career when he let dip from distance on the half volley and was extremely unlucky to see the ball cannon back of the underside of the crossbar and out. There were also other opportunities for Richarlison and Yerry Mina, neither of which found the net.

At 1-0 we were always cautious of course and West Ham United almost equalised late in the game. The match official Paul Tierney somehow gave West Ham United a corner when it should not only have been a goal kick, but also a free-kick to Everton for a clear foul of Djibril Sidibe. From the ensuing corner-kick, Angelo Ogbonna connected but his deflected effort was well-repelled by Jordan Pickford, who was otherwise largely untested throughout.

Even later in the game Yerry Mina made a game-saving interception at the back and his clearance released a counter-attack from Everton which resulted in substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson firing in a wonderful goal from the edge of the penalty area to secure the victory.

It was a great team performance from Everton, a real stellar effort from the lads in a game we simply had to win. The key is to back this up of course and next weekends trip to Brighton is a great opportunity to arrest our worrying away form, and our home game against Watford also brings opportunity to progress into the quarter finals of the Carabao Cup. A win next weekend and we could be as high as seventh position in the league, and with an ominous run of fixtures on the horizon you feel we need to be cashing in our chips now. The missed opportunity is already vast.

Following the game we finished up in the lounge, the Jaegerbombs perhaps a trifle unnecessary, before meeting some Dutch Evertonians who had flown over for the game. I met one of them over in Genk a few summers ago during an Everton pre-season tour. It’s fabulous to find other Evertonians in other corners of the world.

Onwards we go, and it’s nice to see out the rest of the weekend with a smile rather than a grimace.

Player ratings

Pickford: Not a lot to do but was there when it counted at the death. 7

Digne: Most importantly he defended well. He got forward well also though his final ball was often lacking. 7

Mina: An outstanding and courageous performance by Yerry who is getting better and better. 8

Keane: Also solid. 7

Sidibe: Impressive, and Seamus can have few complaints if he remains sidelined for the next game. Djibril has had to wait patiently for his opportunity and he didn’t disappoint. I think Seamus is better defensively, though Djibril offers more in attacking areas and is a good option to have. 7

Davies: Was perhaps Everton’s best player in the first half though following a careless yellow card he was a lot quieter in the second period. Still, a good lively effort from Tom. When Morgan and Fabian are available again it will be interesting to see who gets the nod. 7

Gomes: Took a little while to get going but in the second half he was sensational. He scrapped hard and retained possession fabulously. We’ve certainly missed Andre in the middle. Let’s hope he retains a clean bill of help for the remainder of the season. 8

Iwobi: Had a pretty good first half though was rather lethargic after the break and didn’t quite get into his stride. He also missed probably the games best opportunity. Not great, but not too bad either and it was a worthwhile change putting him there. 6

Bernard: Kept on battling right until the end and scored an important goal, his second in as many games against the Hammers. 8

Walcott: Did very well. I know it’s unpopular to comment positively on Theo but I like him. He showed good application in games and always works hard. 7

Richarlison: Battled manfully throughout and got little from Paul Tierney. A really good effort. 7

Kean (for Walcott): Got involved and contributed. 7

Sigurdsson (for Iwobi): A great contribution in the short time he had on the field, scoring an excellent goal. A great response to being dropped by our Icelander. It’s a nice problem for Marco to have now in deciding whether to return him to the team or not and it will be interesting to see if he is in the starting XI at Brighton next weekend. 8

Holgate (for Mina): Yerry limped off at the end of the game though he probably could have carried on. Nevertheless, Mason did well in the very short time he had on the field, winning a couple of key headers. 7

Reader Comments (20)

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Mike Gaynes
1 Posted 20/10/2019 at 16:09:36
Wow, Paul, what a spectacular day you had! Nothing better than good food and good company, and then to see a strong win like that... perfect.

Not surprised you enjoyed Jeff Winter's company -- I read his book and he has a sharp sense of humor. It's funny now to see his portly photos from his ref days, because he could never get a game in the modern Premier League with the belly roll he had. I assume he has expanded further?

Jason Broome
2 Posted 20/10/2019 at 18:48:27
Nice article.

Glad for Silva that he found a pair and made the necessary changes.

One home win means nothing, though, and I fear that our away form will end his tenure.

Mark Guglielmo
3 Posted 20/10/2019 at 18:53:55
Jason I get the skepticism but let's try to be optimistic! Look at it this way; we've never played away with the lineup from yesterday (or the intensity and passion, no less). If they revert to what we've seen over the past year or so and/or go down first and start hanging their heads, then I'm with you.

I hope and feel yesterday was a turning point. Even someone as free as Silva must have seen the drastic difference in how we performed yesterday.


Anton Walsh
4 Posted 20/10/2019 at 22:06:41
A lot more fluent and imagine a proper number 9 in all that. Still very worrying all the opportunities we missed to hammer them.🤗
John Raftery
5 Posted 20/10/2019 at 23:00:59
Iwobi was key to the vast improvement in our attacking play and worth at least an 8 marking. We probably created more chances yesterday than in all the other games put together this season.

Gomes played well. The doubts about him concern fitness and consistency.

Andy Crooks
6 Posted 20/10/2019 at 23:36:26
Top report, Paul. So glad you had a luxury day. I always enjoy your fan's day experience, so, I would like to hear a lot more about this special one. Everything about it, Paul.I have read and feel like I have been with you as you battle through the traffic for an away game. So let us enjoy this one. It must have been a great day.
Paul Birmingham
7 Posted 20/10/2019 at 23:39:20
Great to win, but we’ve in the main had life times of false dawns, new eras, new hopes. This win could be a big start...But.

Let’s prepare for Brighton, take stock, and build up for the next game. Win and build consistency and momentum. Today’s game at United showed, the league is not that great, Everton, if they believe can do well.

It’s the belief of the management and squad that will be key to the rest of this season.

Jim Harrison
8 Posted 21/10/2019 at 02:38:33
I can’t believe so little has been said about Mina’s disallowed goal! I suppose if we lost or drew it would be more of a concern, but I can’t see how it wasn’t given
Michael Kenrick
9 Posted 21/10/2019 at 03:47:54
Jim, you're looking on the wrong thread...

Go back to the matchday thread:

Silva's changes breathe fresh life into Everton

... where you posted already, but read #227 and from Comment #309, onwards.

John Boon
10 Posted 21/10/2019 at 04:50:09
I have to agree with John Raftery (5). Iwobi can be inconsistent in his passing and he often holds on to the ball for too long. However he brings a dynamism and energy which we have been sadly lacking. A previous poster likened him to Cahill. While he may have a long way to go when we consider Cahill's heading prowess he does add considerable energy.

Looking at the other ex Arsenal player, Walcott is also somewhat of an enigma, He has excellent control and speed but he often runs into a blind alley. If the coach can somehow get the best out of him then he can also add something to the Blues.

Jim Harrison
11 Posted 21/10/2019 at 08:34:19
Thanks Micheal 9

Have done now.

Jim Harrison
12 Posted 21/10/2019 at 08:36:04
Still surprised it didn't warrant a mention on MotD.
Derek Thomas
13 Posted 21/10/2019 at 09:16:53
Jim @ 12; wrong team, wrong colour shirt, wrong ground.
Jim Harrison
14 Posted 21/10/2019 at 11:44:21
Ah Derek, too true.
Jamie Sweet
15 Posted 22/10/2019 at 00:55:55
This place would have been toxic on so many levels had we not come out with the win. Can you imagine the rage that would have been unleashed at the ref, the manager, VAR, Tom Davies...

If they had scored from that corner which wasn't a corner in a million years and snatched a point, after Mina's ridiculous disallowed goal and Iwobi and Davies missing absolute sitters, oh my word... can you imagine?


Dick Fearon
16 Posted 22/10/2019 at 06:27:24
John B @10, when Alan Ball Was a youngster playing for Blackpool, such was his confidence, stamina and game changing skill he was worshipped by their fans who called him 'the Little General'. Despite all that, he made his share of mistakes. The same applied when he played for Everton.

What his critics failed to recognise was the sheer volume of his workrate and passes. I am not comparing Sidibe with Alan, at least not yet but, from what I saw against the Hammers, I reckon he is heading in the right direction.

Tony Abrahams
17 Posted 22/10/2019 at 07:43:44
I always say that the more involved a player is then the more mistakes he will make Dick. Surely this is much better than not trying to constantly be involved, which is definitely the biggest mistake imo?
Mark Guglielmo
18 Posted 22/10/2019 at 17:38:45
Tony I love that you said that. I've seen some criticism of players like Bernard & Iwobi because they make more errant passes, or are dispossessed more frequently. To which I always respond with of course they are, they're trying to do things!

It's easy for pass completion %, or low dispossessed numbers, etc. when all you do is play safe and timid (I won't name names because I don't have to).

While it will make for some nerve-wracking football, I'd rather win 3-2 than lose 1-0.

Brent Stephens
19 Posted 22/10/2019 at 18:49:36
Good report, Paul. Well done on the DD Suite.

"Mina: An outstanding and courageous performance by Yerry who is getting better and better. 8"

Agree though I'd also have given Sidibe more than your rating.

Darren Hind
20 Posted 22/10/2019 at 19:01:18
Yep. Deffo an Echo in here.

I thought the big difference came from the players who havent been getting a regular game.

Davies, Gomes, Sidibe, Bernard and Walcott all had decent games. Any one of them could have received the MOTM award

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