If Marco Silva was reclining somewhere watching this game with his slippers on he might have been nodding ruefully in the second half as Everton struggled to break down a Burnley side who had brought their most defensive of game plans to Goodison Park for Carlo Ancelotti’s first game in charge.
As the contest ticked towards the 80-minute mark, the visitors had failed to register a shot on target but the hosts, who would enjoy almost 70% of the possession overall, had still failed to break the deadlock. As was the case for so much of the Portuguese’s tenure, Everton were dominating the ball but struggling to find the inspiration and penetration in the final third and at times it was all very reminiscent of the previous regime.
There, was however, a fluidity to the Blues’ system today, one which alternated at times between 3-4-3 with Djibril Sidibe in a more advanced right-midfield role and Seamus Coleman tucking into the backline and a more conventional 4-4-2. In addition to an assurance about their possession of the ball overall, there was also greater positional dynamism in Everton’s midfield which allowed Bernard, in particular, to drift into the middle and Richarlison to drop back into the hole creating the space and opportunities for the Blues to quickly break Burnley’s lines in quick transition in a manner that wasn't always the case under Silva.
With a bit more decisiveness and composure in advanced areas, it might have yielded an earlier goal but there were embryonic signs of the flexibility and ideas that Ancelotti can bring to this team. As it was, just when it looked as though the Italian was realising first-hand the shortcomings of the side he has inherited, everything came together with 10 minutes to go for two players who have been shining lights for the Toffees in an otherwise disappointing season.
Sidibé was played in down the right flank and the Frenchman delivered another of his telling crosses that Dominic Calvert-Lewin met with a gloriously old-school diving header that bounced in off the far post to hand Ancelotti his first three points as the Toffees’ boss.
It was nothing more than Everton deserved and had it not been for Nick Pope in the Burnley goal and some tame finishing with headers from the likes of Calvert-Lewin and Yerry Mina, it might have been a more commanding margin of victory. As it was, Ancelotti’s men only needed to produce one moment of their superior quality and the 22-year-old striker supplied it.
Right from kick-off, it was clear that the direct, no-nonsense Everton that had stunned Chelsea so effectively three weeks ago had been replaced by one instructed to retain the ball and play out from the back once more. It made for a few uneasy moments in the early going, with Mason Holgate and Sigurdsson misplacing forward passes and it wasn’t until the fifth minute that the Blues made it out of their own half for any length of time.
They could have been a head shortly afterwards, though, when Yerry Mina won his header at a set-piece, the ball dropped invitingly to Holgate in front of goal but his instinctive prod goalwards was saved impressively from point-blank range by Pope.
With 20 minutes gone, the best interchange of the game thus far saw Richarlison slip Coleman through the defence but he eschewed the opportunity to shoot and the chance went begging before Calvert-Lewin headed another free-kick wide.
Burnley’s disciplined low block was proving an effective bulwark against Everton’s increasing attacking adventure but they were almost carved open by an excellent pass into space for the lively Bernard in a central position and Sidibé was the recipient of the Brazilian’s final pass but he was denied by the keeper who saved his shot with an out-stretched leg.
Chris Wood headed a rare chance for the visitors over at one end while Calvert-Lewin was similarly off target at the other as the first half came to a conclusion.
The second saw the same pattern continue, with Everton enjoying the lion’s share of possession but finding their path to goal blocked by a succession of Claret obstacles. Bernard’s turn and shot was deflected wide, the rampaging Sidibé almost bundled the ball home and Calvert-Lewin planted a header off Fabian Delph’s cross into Pope’s arms.
That was followed by a Coleman shot that sailed narrowly over the bar from distance and a Mina header that was also guided straight at the keeper before Ancelotti finally made his first change, replacing Bernard with Moise Kean with 13 minutes left.
The Italian wasn’t involved in the goal three minutes later but he joined Calvert-Lewin in the celebratory dance, a sign perhaps that he is feeling a little more at home with a countryman in the dugout.
Though the lead was a narrow one, Everton never really looked to be in any danger of giving up the points in the closing stages and they comfortably held out for the win that lifts them into 13th place and within three points of Saturday’s opponents Newcastle in 10th place.
Ancelotti described it as the perfect first game and while it was short on genuine thrills and entertainment, few Blues would argue given the wider context of the season and the key absentees in the squad, particularly in midfield.
Reader Comments (100)
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 27/12/2019 at 07:47:42
Game won. Clean sheet. Lets hope we can get a result against Newcastle
2 Posted 27/12/2019 at 08:31:21
The guy totally commands his area and instills confidence in his defenders. Unlike the vampire Pickford who seems terrified by crosses and remains rooted to his line. If Pope had beenmour goalie this season I bet at least 40% of the goals we have conceded would never have happened.
We did well eventually to overcome Dyche's anti - football yesterday, they were wasting time from minute 1. I'm surprised they didn't take 30 minutes for half-time.
A more open game against the Skunks on Saturday may suit us more.
3 Posted 27/12/2019 at 08:39:29
That said, he is an excellent one-on-one goalkeeper, a generally good shot-stopper and he has the capacity to distribute very effectively, though hes been comparatively poor at that this season.
I dont know enough about Pope to make a judgment.
It will be a test for Pickford tomorrow after his meltdown at Newcastle in the last game there.
4 Posted 27/12/2019 at 08:55:45
5 Posted 27/12/2019 at 08:59:52
6 Posted 27/12/2019 at 09:14:05
4 league games unbeaten now and confidence on the up. Fingers crossed we can get a result against the bar codes tomorrow. What a change in the last couple of weeks since that twat Silva was finally shown the door. Luckily for us Napoli sacked Ancelloti soon after otherwise who knows who wed have gotten.
3 away points tomorrow would end a great Xmas period. Then hopefully sign a couple of decent players in Jan.
Just one away win so far this season - hopefully two tomorrow.
7 Posted 27/12/2019 at 09:36:56
There is a defiance about the club again that was sorely missing, this is a pivotal moment in our history given the investment, the status of the manager, the new stadium and looking across the park at the level that lot have achieved. I hope the next 4 and a half years are about rising to all the challenges in front of us. We led the formation of this Premier League and its about time we showed why.
8 Posted 27/12/2019 at 10:04:36
We seemed more solid defensively, less inclined to give the ball away generally and with improved midfield interplay. This with just a couple of days influence on the training ground.
Perhaps the most pleasing sign of what Carlo can offer is that with 13 minutes remaining and the match goalless he made an attacking substitution to try and press home the possessional advantage. We scored within 3 minutes! He then reverted to the original 442 to see out the game.
These subtle tweakings will have been missed by many but the ability to change games in this sort of way is what makes world class managers stand out from the crowd.
9 Posted 27/12/2019 at 10:19:30
I do see Ancellotti recognising this and this will be the first bombshell he will drop. Watch this space.
10 Posted 27/12/2019 at 10:48:44
11 Posted 27/12/2019 at 10:51:07
Some of Ancelotti's calm assurance has rubbed off on the players. The seemed a bit more confident on the ball, controlling it better. I particularly enjoyed the fact that some passes were threaded through the middle of the park to an advanced center mid position, good passes more than once. It created a bit of space the for the wide attacking distribution.
I thought it was a 2 or 3 nil performance but one nil will do fine. I we buid on that we have a great chance of another 3 points on Saturday against the barcodes,who look defensively vulnerable.
12 Posted 27/12/2019 at 10:54:19
13 Posted 27/12/2019 at 11:02:08
Nice to see the progress that Mason Holgate and DCL are making, definitely 2 players who will be in Amcelotti,s long term plans. I think Mason and Yerry are starting to get used to playing with each other and look a solid pairing. There is still a lot wrong with this squad, but it will take Ancelotti time to work his magic.One of the problems is there arent enough goals in this squad, and our wide players goal records are very poor, whether it be Walcott, Iwobi or Bernard only Richarlison of our wide players score enough goals. Again in midfield the lack of goals really hurts this team and in Gomes, Delph, Schneiderlin, Davies and this season Sigurdsson as well. You need a far better return than we are currently getting from these players.
So I think this season is about getting into the top half and for Carlo to asses his squad and identify which areas need strengthening. I have ultimate faith in him to bring in the right sort of players to move this club forward. We now have 3 away games and I always think managers learn more from away games about players. We play the 2 best teams and a game against Newcastle in between, so I am sure after these games Carlo will know a lot more about this squad.
14 Posted 27/12/2019 at 11:14:35
Pickford is not a tall keeper. He will never be the type to dominate at corners. His distribution is nowhere near as bad as being made out. It is widely recognised as one of his strengths, coupled with his overall ability with his feet
He is one of the assets currently in the team. He makes mistakes, so did Southall, just in case you didnt notice. He is erratic at times. So were schmeichel Snr and grobbelaar, and Allison has his moments currently.
Running out of the box with the ball? Southall was sent off twice in one season for handling the ball outside of the area
Again, just to highlight, the team has had an up turn in fortunes. In the past 4 PL games they have only conceded twice whilst accruing 8 points. These are not figures to be dropping a keeper on.
15 Posted 27/12/2019 at 11:21:36
16 Posted 27/12/2019 at 11:36:00
Recent benches have seen Stek as back-up, where is Lossl? I do not have not a lot of faith in Stek to be honest, ands feel he is more a bench warmer than a viable alternative should Picks form drop.
Thought Lossl was okay from what I have seen of him!
17 Posted 27/12/2019 at 11:57:03
Another thing about Pope is I don't think his distribution is the best. Even at goal kicks he was slipping over.
18 Posted 27/12/2019 at 12:11:22
If Pope is that much better than Pickford, why do they have virtually identical stats for the season -- goals given up, save percentage etc.? Why has he only started one game for England? And why, at age 27, isn't he at a bigger club? The guy knocked around the lower leagues for a long, long time.
Yes, he made two brilliant saves, but those are just the kind of saves Picks makes regularly. Yes, Pope's way better on crosses, but he's taller and a different kind of keeper.
And are you seriously saying that 40% of the goals we've given up this season are Picks' fault? Because he didn't come off his line properly? 40%??? Really? I think that's a vast exaggeration.
Nah, on balance I think there's not much between 'em.
And of course I'd take Rob Halligan over either one!
19 Posted 27/12/2019 at 12:13:18
20 Posted 27/12/2019 at 12:15:50
Good points about how we made Pope look good yesterday and how he shanked a couple of dead ball kicks yesterday, much worse than anything Pickford did in the game.
I don't think my memory is playing tricks in saying haven't you shared with us on TW Rob that keeper was your position, so you are more likely to pick up on these things.
I also contested on the match day thread yesterday with those claiming Siggy's dead ball delivery was poor.
No it wasn't! His free kicks from deep were right on the money. So were some of his corners. We again made it easy for Pope to claim some of them by not putting a man in front of him to block him off from charging off his line to claim them.
Bernard did it once, but not very effectively.
Pickford is a damn fine goalkeeper with room to improve. There is plenty more in front of him on the Carlo Ancelotti 'to do' list first.
21 Posted 27/12/2019 at 12:24:12
Lets see how he copes with all the Toon nutters tomorrow!
He is a good keeper, but I feel we should be looking at a great keeper now.
22 Posted 27/12/2019 at 12:26:40
23 Posted 27/12/2019 at 12:28:44
Happy Honiker? by the way pal, and hopefully you'll be back over soon.
24 Posted 27/12/2019 at 12:35:09
A goalie who commanded his area - and had the confidence of our defence - would have not conceded nearly as many as we have.
Is everyone else entirely happy with Jordy, or think we should be looking for far better?
I think Mr Ancelotti may just pick up either 1 or 2 stellar signings each window, and build a team (unfortunately as that shower of proverbial across the road learnt before us!).
25 Posted 27/12/2019 at 12:38:49
Yes, he gave up a soft penalty in the first half...which he then duly saved!
That loss was more down to Silva's poor subs and failure to respond to Rafa's tactical changes, plus poor officiating that allowed a goal to stand which should have been ruled out for offside and interference with play.
I often think people see Pickford's gurning as evidence of lack of maturity, low intelligence, deflection of blame, poor concentration and whatever else you can hang on him.
I see it as part of his personality. A character tic. He'll know within himself when he stuffs something up. I'm sure it gets addressed post-game at Finch Farm.
Pickford is not a high priority issue that needs addressing as some are positing as far as I'm concerned.
26 Posted 27/12/2019 at 12:43:56
27 Posted 27/12/2019 at 12:45:44
I also know the people at Carlisle thought he was a bit of a plank when he was on loan there, although to be fair, he was only about 18/19.
I've already said above he's a good keeper, I just think we need better to take us up a gear.
28 Posted 27/12/2019 at 12:55:41
29 Posted 27/12/2019 at 12:58:05
30 Posted 27/12/2019 at 13:06:10
31 Posted 27/12/2019 at 14:15:22
32 Posted 27/12/2019 at 14:50:19
Onwards and upwards
33 Posted 27/12/2019 at 15:57:00
I think it will be very interesting to see what an experienced football manager like Ancellotti will think of his contribution to the team.
I certainly don't believe that he will be first on the team sheet as he has been over the past three years.
Also on the comparison with Pope and what clubs he has played for. Pickford. as stated above, on loan to Carlisle, Sunderland (who were relegated while he was there) and Everton who have been in trouble since he arrived. Enough said.
Again I await
34 Posted 27/12/2019 at 16:12:53
Theres too much erratic bollocks from him for my liking and Im not looking forward to seeing him at NUFC tomorrow.
Someone earlier down the thread compared him to Southall, fucking sacrilege. You could count Nevs mistakes on one hand until the twilight of his career, you need a fucking abacus to count Pickfords.
35 Posted 27/12/2019 at 16:15:01
As for Pope, yes a good keeper but better than Pickford ? even with God on his side he is not quite there yet folks
36 Posted 27/12/2019 at 16:16:24
Keith, I'll bet Rob still has a good quick dive in him, if he sees one of those pints about to topple off the table!
Still planning to head back over for a game this spring, soon as my Achilles heals up well enough to walk around town with you guys.
37 Posted 27/12/2019 at 16:21:22
38 Posted 27/12/2019 at 16:28:27
39 Posted 27/12/2019 at 16:39:16
I hope he matures quickly under Ancelotti. Good keepers are reliable with calm authority. That's not Pickford right now.
40 Posted 27/12/2019 at 16:49:20
41 Posted 27/12/2019 at 17:01:48
42 Posted 27/12/2019 at 17:03:02
You know who Picks reminds me of? Schmeichel at the same age, right after he got to Leicester. Same size, same fiery brashness, same tendency to lose focus.
Schmeichel matured under another Italian grandfather, Ranieri. I'm confident Picks will do the same under Carlo.
I would stick with him.
43 Posted 27/12/2019 at 17:10:33
We have been lacking in this area in recent years. It is the main reason we have looked so fragile and have failed to create chances when the opposition susses us and stops the play of our wing pairings.
With Gbamin and Gomes injured Ancelotti will probably not wait until the summer to strengthen midfield.
44 Posted 27/12/2019 at 17:13:55
45 Posted 27/12/2019 at 17:14:49
46 Posted 27/12/2019 at 17:15:06
I remember someone posting on this site sometime ago “Pickford strikes me as very nervous young man trying to be confident “ which is very accurate, his rather jittery persona doesnt instill confidence.
Both Klopp and Pep quickly realized that Hart and Mignolet were not top keepers and were either dropped or moved on and both invested heavily for that position, I think Pickfords time at Everton maybe coming to a close come the summer as Ancelotti will surely see its a position that needs to be strengthened.
47 Posted 27/12/2019 at 17:19:49
48 Posted 27/12/2019 at 17:33:05
Early days on Pickford though with a long career ahead of him. I thought Pope looked the better keeper but long term Pickford needs more time, l think he will grow into the role soon enough.
One player that worries me more is Keane. I think hes stopped progressing... by the looks of it. Holgate is impressing. In the current formation though all eyes on Mina.
49 Posted 27/12/2019 at 17:48:32
50 Posted 27/12/2019 at 17:54:20
They are human like all the other players but when they make a mistake it's likely to result in a goal.
Easy to blame the keeper when things are not going well !
51 Posted 27/12/2019 at 17:55:07
Of the traditional top 6, I'd take Pickford over Leno at Arsenal and both Lloris and Gazzaniga at Spurs. And of the current top 6, I'd take Picks in a heartbeat over Henderson at Blades, and I think once he matures he'll be every bit the keeper that Schmeichel is for Leicester. And he won the league.
Picks might not ever be one of the top keepers in the world, hoisting the Champions League trophy in front of the photographers, but IMO he's more than good enough to get us into the top 6... IF the team around him is good enough.
And I'd say there are plenty of positions we need to improve before even glancing at the goalkeeper position.
52 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:06:06
Regarding Keane, he was very good last season (got his England place back) with Zouma next to him. He's been under par this season, but let's just see how he goes with the way Ancelotti sets the team up.
53 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:10:38
54 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:11:31
But people forget that Schmeichel has the same kind of twitchy personality as Picks (he's still mouthing off strange shit in the press) and it's just time, experience and success that brought him the confidence. But both the talent level and the goalkeeping style are the same -- both are quick-reflex shot-stoppers who don't try to command high balls in their area. I think Picks will turn out as good or better.
55 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:14:16
There are quite a few highly regarded and excellent keepers who were not particularly strong in their catching. Shilton was one of them and, whisper it, so was Nev - especially after his injury against ROI.
Pickford needs to calm down and focus himself and to improve his game where he is weak. I believe he will and he'll be another to benefit from someone as experienced as Ancelotti.
56 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:21:33
57 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:23:24
58 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:30:50
All keepers have weak and strong points, and Pickford is no exception.
59 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:31:02
And I don't think having a stay-on-the-line keeper makes defenses jittery if they know and are familiar with the keeper's responsibilities and theirs. Can't say I've seen Evans looking nervous -- or Maguire and Huth before him -- just because Schmeichel doesn't come out for corners.
60 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:34:36
Sprake the worst goalkeeper ever to play for a great team.
Felix, the worst goalkeeper.
The mad scorpion guy.
Name one not weird?
61 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:37:51
Ray Clemence of the RS, though capable of gaffes, was the closest I have seen over a long career.
62 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:40:10
All unflappable, calm and cool. They did not need to apportion blame. It was just never their fault.
63 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:44:07
64 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:49:38
Plenty of more stable commanding keepers around as mentioned, too much of a loose canon for my liking
65 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:54:29
66 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:59:22
67 Posted 27/12/2019 at 19:23:26
68 Posted 27/12/2019 at 19:32:40
He's still young, but the one thing I want for him to learn is to stay inside his own mental bubble! He must totally stop reacting to the opposition's fans, just shrug them off by being well up beyond their level! Smug and told-you-so is for after the game ends!
69 Posted 27/12/2019 at 19:34:41
Steady, Mr Gaynes, one of our own, is a goalie. OK, a bit weird but fecking weird.
70 Posted 27/12/2019 at 19:40:15
71 Posted 27/12/2019 at 19:40:36
72 Posted 27/12/2019 at 19:45:15
73 Posted 27/12/2019 at 19:48:08
74 Posted 27/12/2019 at 19:48:12
I feel this could actually go the right way! Scary! :)
75 Posted 27/12/2019 at 19:49:45
76 Posted 27/12/2019 at 19:55:32
77 Posted 27/12/2019 at 20:03:03
Colin Metcalf, I would agree with you, I dont think Pickford is a top class ‘keeper for various reasons, number one being he is absolutely glued to his goal line, the fact that Southgate picks him for England is matched by Michael Keane winning ten caps, all under Southgates watch, if Carlo Ancoletti can improve both of these two players weve got a miracle worker for a manager.
78 Posted 27/12/2019 at 20:19:34
Van Breukelen... to name a few.
Southall was I reckon from 1987-1990 probably the best in the world without the recognition due to Hysel and being Welsh failed to expose him to the world.
Pickford, has some way to get anywhere close. He has technical aspects to address, especially on direct free kicks, he needs much better advice on when and where to kick.
Big test for him tomorrow, can he keep his shit together?!
79 Posted 27/12/2019 at 20:33:31
80 Posted 27/12/2019 at 21:03:38
81 Posted 27/12/2019 at 21:20:42
Factor in too that when he was signed up by Blackpool he'd hardly ever played as 'keeper and yet he soon ousted England regular Tony Waiters from the Tangerines first team!
82 Posted 27/12/2019 at 21:20:50
83 Posted 27/12/2019 at 21:25:08
84 Posted 27/12/2019 at 21:36:15
He has actually scored one from the penalty spot against me in goal in the Park End, after the 4-2 game against Leicester 2 years ago. (Check the archives on here for the article). I did let it in deliberately so that a) I didn't break his heart, b) I did not get my brand new jeans shit up, and c) it was the same corner his hero, Kev Sheedy put the re-taken free kick which started Mikes love affair with Everton. Immediately after this, the hulking ape still in charge of security unceremoniously threw us off the pitch.
Looks like I opened a can of worms with my post re Jordan. Lets hope the lad proves me wrong, starting in the bear pit of Newcastle for a still young Mackem. Maybe this should be ToffeeWebs latest Poll, should Carlo play Jordan, or look for a world class keeper. (Please bear in mind Rob Halligan is nearly 80 now, and well past it!)
85 Posted 27/12/2019 at 21:37:37
86 Posted 27/12/2019 at 21:41:53
Tony Waiters played five times for England because he was used byAlf Ramsey who was looking for an understudy for Gordon Banks, he never passed the test.
87 Posted 27/12/2019 at 21:44:45
So, what about the next game?
88 Posted 27/12/2019 at 21:45:22
89 Posted 27/12/2019 at 21:49:44
And Stan (#83), quite so. Just how Kendall never got a cap, and Harvey a mere one was even then a puzzle to most fans, and not just ours. And Astle over Royle, in 1970? As if!
90 Posted 27/12/2019 at 21:58:42
91 Posted 27/12/2019 at 22:00:36
92 Posted 27/12/2019 at 22:05:14
93 Posted 27/12/2019 at 22:32:59
I have, however, benefitted from a two-week goalkeeping tutorial I received from a long-ago teammate, Jim Standen, who had played some 200 games for West Ham in the 60's. Jim strained his back playing for our semipro team in California and I was pulled off my wing to "replace" him while he healed. He taught me what I needed to get by and we won both games. Then I was released.
Keith #88, I still feel bad about that. Kev denied that our adventure at the Park End that day was what got him sacked by the club, but he may have said that to keep me from feeling guilty. High price to pay for giving me the memory of a lifetime. What a fine gent he is, and it's my one regret about that incredible trip.
Well, that and stealing Christine's silverware. Never thought you guys would miss it.
94 Posted 27/12/2019 at 22:42:39
95 Posted 27/12/2019 at 23:48:49
I think Derek Temple scored first then went off injured, but then Alex Young (who else?) sublimely chipped Standen to score a goal I've never forgotten!
I also recall that Standen looked at Alex and smiled because he knew he'd never reach the ball. Different times then, eh?
I think I'm right in saying that Jim Standen played first class cricket in the summer for Essex too. Funny how I can remember things 50 odd years ago but the present Mrs Latham wonders why I can't remember to take the clothes out of the tumble drier.
96 Posted 27/12/2019 at 00:02:00
I do think Ancelotti will be on Pickfords case, he can look a bit mad at times.
l agree with your best goalkeeping list.
I once saw Jennings save a Daglish shot, that seem to come from nowhere heading into the top corner of the goal. Jennings just stretched out and got it tipped over with the finger tips of his huge left hand.
You would have thought Jennings had scored, such was the fans reaction.
97 Posted 28/12/2019 at 06:25:40
98 Posted 28/12/2019 at 11:50:00
If he stepped in the right direction, he'd be behind most things.
99 Posted 28/12/2019 at 11:59:22
Reminds me of the gag that quickly did the rounds in the wake of that one.
Why are Brazilians such great lovers?
Because they can lob semen from 40 yards.
I know. It's a groaner. But it still makes me giggle.
100 Posted 28/12/2019 at 12:12:50
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.