Everton Show Grit to Maintain Winning Start to 2020-21

Lyndon Lloyd 26/09/2020 84comments  |  Jump to last

It’s 82 years since an Everton team last won its first five games of the season and yet here Carlo Ancelotti’s improved outfit sit, on top of the Premier League table for another night at least and starting to fulfil the promise and pre-season optimism engendered by those three close-season signings. If they can rack up a sixth straight win in all competitions on Wednesday they will find themselves in the quarter finals of the League Cup; match the achievement of the 1938-39 edition of the Toffees by winning their first six in the League and they will not only have notched a first Merseyside derby win in a decade, they will also surely still be sitting atop the table with that 100% record intact.

Such things were flights of fancy just a few weeks ago when Everton sleepwalked their way through the last few matches of 2019-20 and finished 12th. As has been seen, the addition of Abdoulaye Doucouré, Allan and James Rodriguez have transformed the side into a team with all-round abilities; capable of the finesse with which they carved out their opener this afternoon and the resilience to keep Crystal Palace at bay in the second half despite facing a succession of dead-ball situations which were, truth be told, the only time Roy Hodgson’s men looked all that threatening.

The decision for the penalty that ultimately proved to be the difference in terms of the scoreline has dominated the post-match discussion among pundits but there is no question that the better team won on the day and that Everton were deserving of the points.

Palace may have hustled and harried in spells, making for as difficult and occasionally nervy a second-half as Everton will have expected against a physical and uncompromising side but they managed just one shot on target all game. Tellingly, Wilfried Zaha was kept very quiet on the day and it marked the first time in four seasons that the highly-regarded winger has failed to dribble around an opponent at Selhurst Park.

Seamus Coleman, Yerry Mina and Michael Keane combined to snuff out the winger’s threat and on the one occasion Zaha did burst into space heading for Jordan Pickford’s goal, he was thwarted by magnificent covering by Abdoulaye Doucouré 10 minutes into the second half.

Indeed, this was a collective effort where no one could claim to have had a complete game but all played their part in the kind of gritty encounter played in changeable conditions that isn’t made for 10-out-of-10 displays. Importantly, though, no one allowed themselves to be dragged down by individual lapses and as a unit they were hard to break down and resilient when they needed to be.

Doucouré’s passing was sloppy at times and two ill-advised balls inside that went straight to Palace players in the first half went unpunished; Mina and Allan were guilty of clumsy fouls that put the defence under unnecessary pressure from free-kicks in the second half; and there will be questions asked of the defending for the goal that the hosts did score but none of it mattered in the final reckoning. Good teams find a way to win difficult matches.

As expected, Ancelotti restored his first-choice line-up following the changes he made in midweek against Fleetwood Town and while the “Blues”, playing in their new amber away kit for the first time, initially found it difficult to play their way through Palace’s lines, they did have the first chance of the game in the ninth minute.

Doucouré was foiled from close range in that instance by Vicente Guaita when the ball bobbled up and he tried to force it in from the angle but a minute later, the visitors made the breakthrough with a move that illustrated perfectly the match-winning talents that Rodriguez brings to the team.

Coleman had collected a sweeping cross-field pass from André Gomes and handed it off to Doucouré who in turn found James who pinged a beautiful first-time reverse pass into the area to meet the Irishman’s run and his simple square ball across the six-yard box was tucked away by Dominic Calvert-Lewin via the goalkeeper.

It was the striker’s fifth goal of the new campaign and one that means he is already a third of the way to matching last season’s tally in all competitions.

Nothing about playing Palace on their own turf is easy but Everton made it more difficult for themselves than it needed to be by conceding a soft goal from a corner a quarter of an hour later. Andros Townsend had wasted an earlier corner by sending it sailing over everyone and out for a goal kick; this time his delivery found Cheikhou Kouyaté at the back post who out-jumped between Keane and Richarlison and planted a header past Pickford to make it 1-1.

A quick counter-attack from another corner almost yielded a second goal but Richarlison was closed down by covering defenders and a check by Video Assistant Referee, Anthony Taylor, quashed appeals for a penalty for handball against Joel Ward on the half-hour mark.

The defender wasn’t so fortunate 10 minutes later. This time, Lucas Digne’s downward header looking for Richarlison in the box struck Ward on the hand and referee Kevin Friend deemed his arm to have been in an unnatural position and, after a Palace attack had been repelled at the other end, a penalty was eventually awarded to Everton. Richarlison stepped up and confidently banged his spot-kick into the top corner to restore the Toffees’ lead.

A tame direct free-kick by Rodriguez was the last action of the half but the second began with the home side pressing forward from the off and winning a couple of free-kicks that were comfortably dealt with before James came close to weighing in with another assist.

The former Real man swung in a dangerous corner that found Calvert-Lewin stealing in ahead of his man but his finish lacked conviction and he could only prod the ball wide from a central position in front of goal. The striker rose to meet another corner from the same side shortly afterwards but he and Keane got in each other’s way and ended up heading each other as much as the ball.

Palace had a couple of moments as they stepped up the pressure in the middle part of the second half. Jordan Ayew caused a brief panic when his cross deflected off Coleman and flashed across Pickford’s goal and Kouyaté planted another header off a set-piece the wrong side of the post but the longer the game wore on, the more assured Everton became and they largely stifled any attempts Palace made to bludgeon their way back to parity.

Gylfi Sigurdsson came on for Gomes and slotted in seamlessly, keeping the ball and laying it off efficiently in midfield and Tom Davies was thrown on in the 90th minute as the last time-consuming substitute in place of Richarlison. In between, the more questionable introduction of Alex Iwobi for the tiring Rodriguez resulted in the Nigerian gifting the ball to the opposition on more occasions than was comfortable but Hodgson’s side weren’t able to capitalise.

In terms of the stand-out players on the day, it’s hard to look past the front two who grabbed the goals and put in magnificent shifts leading the line. Again, as a collective the midfield and back line were very good overall, with Everton’s blend of silk and steel evident in players like Gomes who relished the physical battle whilst also being able to spread the play and move the ball intelligently when space allows.

James, meanwhile, glided through this game with all of his class, injecting urgency with his passing all while barely breaking a sweat – he didn't need to; often he makes the game look effortless. Calvert-Lewin had a difficult task against a big defence but worked his socks off from start to finish and Richarlison was his combative, unrelenting self wide on the left.

Three successive home games now provide Everton with a real chance to push on and not rest on this terrific start to the campaign. West Ham will come to Goodison with plenty to prove, Brighton have demonstrated already that they have plenty in their locker with which to hurt teams and the derby on 17th October will be the acid test for Ancelotti’s transformed team. Onward and upwards, Blues!

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Reader Comments (84)

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Jerome Shields
1 Posted 26/09/2020 at 21:05:47
Pickford played well in goal today. There is no way he was at fault for the goal from the corner. The attacker got between Keane and Richarlison meeting a good cross. Keane should have headed it away and Richarlison got himself sucked in.

As for Pickford, he has been reasonably solid for England, no matter what his stats say, and there is the possibility that, under Ancelotti, he could improve. I don't think Neville will look beyond this. Ancelotti may bring in back-up, but he will support and coach Pickford in the meantime.

During the match, I was about to post how well Keane was playing with his passing and distribution. I held back to see how he was defending when challenged. Having said that, he met the next corner with the perfect clearance header.

It was obvious that Doucouré and Rodrigeuz where being marked and harried. Doucouré succumbed a bit, but Rodrigeuz was well fit for the attention. He did get his first introduction to high intensity Premier League Football, particularly in the second half.

I did think that Everton did get too much involved in Crystal Palace's tempo. It did take the introduction of Sigurdsson to take the heat out of the situation.

Gomes for me was superb. He seem to have time and space on the ball and able to get into positions to do so. His pass to the right wing set up the first goal. He rarely succumbed to pressure and actually fulfilled the Doucouré role of box-to-box midfielder, with great distribution. Our forwards were threatening all the time and both Colman and Digne where outstanding. Allan was the anchor he always was.

The Penalty was the right decision. Digne's headed pass to an onside Richarlison was deflected by a hand. The penalty was taken legally, because Richarlison, after he stopped, put down his standing foot and kicked the ball with the other. If he had of stopped on his standing foot and then kicked with the other, it would have been illegal. The commenter on Amazon read out the rule.

Moise Kean and Richarlison worked it all out on the training ground. Not such a silly run-up after all. Though it's just as well that the Gwladys Street End isn't full when they do so.

Tony Abrahams
2 Posted 26/09/2020 at 21:10:00
I don't think I've ever disagreed with your observations as much as I do today, Jerome, mate.
Jerome Shields
3 Posted 26/09/2020 at 21:12:53
Tony #2,

Thanks, Tony, for the reassurance.

Brian Ronson
4 Posted 26/09/2020 at 21:23:25
Watched game on Prime. Commentator and McCoist irritated me by going on that it wasn't a penalty. I can't pretend to understand the rules but the full-back's arm was away from his body and stopped the ball being laid on a plate for Richarlison.

Don't you just love the professor!

Tony Abrahams
5 Posted 26/09/2020 at 21:29:21
We all see a different game, Jerome, it's what makes football the greatest game in the world for many of us.

I thought Gomes was much better but still drifted in and out the game. I thought Pickford was very nervous and indecisive on crosses, and I thought Richarlison had strayed into an offside position when Digne headed the ball.

I thought Doucouré was wasteful or careless with too many passes but I also thought his physicality was very important when Palace began to get on top, and just like you, I thought both our full-backs were outstanding!

I'm going to bed happy that Everton won again. I think that professional footballers are vastly overpaid, but I've been impressed by their intensity, desire and professionalism. I just wish this could be matched by the officials, which is another obvious contradiction, when I consider how many cheats there are on the pitch in the professional game!!

Steve Mink
6 Posted 26/09/2020 at 21:30:03
In previous seasons we would have crumbled under that second half pressure.

The difference is probably Doucouré and particularly the wonderful Allan.

Also a joy to see Coleman revelling in having James at his side.

Paul Birmingham
7 Posted 26/09/2020 at 21:52:51
An away win, any day has always been a boost and today as expected was a tough game.

I watched the game and for me the improvement was the mental belief and resolve.

Last season I reckon we’d have got done, but it was a hard earned victory.

Good days, and here’s to more for Evertonians.

Hopefully if.. we can get some good deals on before the wondow shuts, then, I reckon this year, we can do well.

Top 6, too early but the resolve and belief, is so different from 2 months ago.

A fine start to the season, now for West Ham.

Jonathan Oppenheimer
8 Posted 26/09/2020 at 21:55:03
What a feeling to be top of the table!!

There will be the obvious criticisms of Mina and Doucouré not being on top of their games, Pickford making everyone a bit shaky, questionable defense on their goal, and a lack of energy at times with Gomes — but today was all about James, James, and James... Coleman continuing to be huge, Calvert-Lewin turning into a star (despite missing a few chances), Richarlison's superb efforts, and more than anything, our ability to see out the game defensively and not give up any real chances from open play. Palace didn't test Pickford the entire game other than the goal, and that's pretty damn impressive.

About the handball, every team will have some of those go their way and some go against them this season. It's how the rule is written, and people can argue all day about whether the rule is correct, but it was done to make it easier for refs to make the call objectively, and that's generally a good thing for all the referee haters out there.

But to be top of the table, scoring goals, seeing out games defensively, and watching James's brilliance. What a feeling!

Jerome Shields
9 Posted 26/09/2020 at 22:08:34
Tony#5

I think the reason why Gomes was so good, was that Palace had so many Everton midfield players to contend with. Gomes did not get the attention he would normally get. But he was fit to step up to the plate and Crystal Palace found they had a lot more to contend with than they normally would against Everton. a Everton that had more options.

There is merit in your opinion, Dourane was rushed , but Pickford did ok.

Tony Everan
10 Posted 26/09/2020 at 22:11:40
Steve 6, I take my hat off to Seamus, what a determined character he is. He never fails to give his all for the team and leads by example. At times last season even though he was giving 100%, he seemed to be a bit below his best.

This season he has been a major asset, he has stepped it up defending well. Also, there have been a few great recoveries tracking back to block or tackle. I’m loving his desire and enthusiasm, he is a player who hears the criticism and says, right, I’ll prove the bastards wrong . He is certainly doing that.

Another point Lyndon rightly flagged up was the graft DCL and Richarlison put in , contributing to the collective team effort. They’ll both have a few cuts and bruises tonight .

Overall I don’t think there was a standout MOTM , just a good solid team performance. We could not be bullied into submission , stood firm as a proper team and allowed our bit of extra quality to ultimately bring home the three points.

Mike Gaynes
11 Posted 26/09/2020 at 22:26:45
Don't worry, Jerome. I agree with every word even if Tony doesn't.

Of course, given my mental acuity you may not be reassured by that.

Andrew Keatley
12 Posted 26/09/2020 at 22:31:04
Jerome (9) - If today was an example of Gomes being “so good” then I am at a loss. For some it seems that a few cross-field passes when given time and space is enough to hide a multitude of sins. He is so slow, so laboured in possession, and his persistent fouling in stupid areas shows no signs of being ironed out of his game. I think the only time he ever passes the ball quickly is when he’s doing one of those pointless passes back to the person who has just passed it to him - and he and James nearly coughed up possession doing that today when no Palace player was even putting either of them under pressure.
Tony Abrahams
13 Posted 26/09/2020 at 22:38:14
Good point Jerome, normally he would have been singled out to stop us playing, but now he’s just another cog in a very talented midfield.

I thought he started really well, looked focused and involved himself in the game as much as anyone, but then I felt he began to drift, although it was probably the best game I've seen him have since his awful injury.

Dacoure looked like a player who has stepped up and finds himself playing with much better footballers, and was maybe thinking he might just have to change slightly, because there is suddenly a lot more thought in the players around him, especially because he’s also not playing quite so centrally, which is effectively, also a different position?

But Pickford needs to improve because I’m not sure ok, is good enough for such an important position, but he’s short on confidence at the minute, and it really showed imo, especially when crosses came into our box?

The most pleasing thing was that we looked like a real team, and it’s a very long time since I thought like this. Well played Everton, and hopefully the sign of things to come👏

Dave Abrahams
14 Posted 26/09/2020 at 22:50:01
Andrew (12)got to be honest, it baffles me that so many thought Gomes played well, as you say so many stupid unnecessary fouls, I couldn’t wait for him to be taken off, I’m no fan of Sigurdsson but I thought we were better when he replaced Gomes who continues to flatter to deceive, for me anyway.
Jay Harris
15 Posted 26/09/2020 at 23:42:47
Dave,
I am usually one of Gomes biggest critics and advocated leaving him out today but I have to say I thought it was one of his best games in a blue shirt.

He was of course given less attention because they were trying to mark Rodrigues and Richarlison out of the game which left the space for Gomes to play and he was helped by having the security of Allan and Doucoure around him.

The thing that has pleased me most so far this season is that we are holding onto the ball more and fighting to get it back instantly when we do lose it. Our passing and movement and organisation has also improved 100%.

Just need a quality GK and top class CB and we could be challenging for the league.

Kevin Molloy
16 Posted 26/09/2020 at 23:49:24
it drove me crazy how we let Palace have so much of the ball second half. In hindsight though, I wonder whether if it was in fact a tactic. Let them have the ball, cos they don't like playing that way, and then hit them on the break.
Jerome Shields
17 Posted 27/09/2020 at 00:54:52
Tony#13

I thought Doucoure was caught out by the tempo of the game in the first half. . Palace where in on top of him at every opportunity. In the second half he was more defence and necessarily so, . Maybe Everton where two deep. Maybe Ancelotti wanted no spaces between midfield and defence. If the defence pushed up, they are prone to getting caught out, especially with Palace players
like Townsend and Zaha. . Gomes was better pushing forward and has the passing ability. I think Gomes made the difference and kept Everton contending, capitalising on the availability of Rodriguez, Colman and Digne. Maybe Allan and Doucoure where kept deep so this two players could get forward. But you need a p!ayer like Gomes as the play maker, which he did well in this game.

Andrew#12

What you said is normally right about Gomes, but he did not play that way today. . I am normally critical of him for the reasons you say , but he was the main playr maker and did very little wrong.

Ernie Baywood
18 Posted 27/09/2020 at 01:07:45
I thought Pickford had a solid enough game to be honest. Didn't have much to do. Distribution was pretty good.

At the times that we've actually needed him this season, he's stood up. He was as responsible for the Spurs win as DCL was.

DCL and Richarlison have missed a few sitters, Doucoure misplaced a few passes. Everyone makes mistakes.

Yet we're talking about Pickford again.

Richard Mason
19 Posted 27/09/2020 at 01:12:39
It's mad reading opinions, I thought Gomes was great today, Coleman Richarlson, Digne were really good Also. DCL was had a hard game and really came out on top in 2nd half especially last 15 minutes
Kieran Kinsella
20 Posted 27/09/2020 at 01:29:13
Dave

Like Jay I’m not a Gomes fan but I thought today we saw a few very nice long range passes of the type Steve Ferns said he has in his Arsenal. I thought he worked pretty hard too. Not a MOTM performance but good nonetheless in my view

Nicholas Ryan
21 Posted 27/09/2020 at 01:41:38
Top 6 my arse...we're going to win this!!
Soren Moyer
22 Posted 27/09/2020 at 01:42:22
Although the team is not perfect, I am over the moon with the win. This is the same palace that won at OT last weekend, so well done boys.
Mike Jones
23 Posted 27/09/2020 at 01:55:54
Been a while since I’ve commented.

Ancelotti is changing us. 4 awesome signings and I mean awesome, since he joined. 2 more transfer windows and let’s see. We look impressive already after just 1 transfer window.

Not yet top 4 maybe. or are we?

I love what is happening.

UTFT

Mike Gaynes
24 Posted 27/09/2020 at 02:00:53
Jay and Kieran, I'm with you. I thought this was the best game in a long time for a player who I don't usually rate. Gomes' gorgeous lefty pass across to Seamus triggered the first goal and was something special in my opinion. And he did that three or four times in the first half.

That said, Dave is absolutely right that his worst weakness, fouling around the box, started to drive me crazy late on. But Gomes wasn't the only offender. Mina, Richarlison, James and Iwobi were guilty too. They all need to take fouling lessons from Allan, who steps up and makes his fouls near the halfway line where they're harmless.

And Tony, spot on with your comments about the Duke. He was immense defensively, making another spectacular tackle (Zaha) and positioning beautifully. But damn, was his passing awful. Five flat-out giveaways, including one near our 18 in the final five minutes that gave me a flippin' heart attack.

Christine Foster
25 Posted 27/09/2020 at 02:03:32
I think the comments regarding Gomes have highlighted how the introduction of class players can raise the game of those around them. It's not just Gomes, Siguardsson looked more comfortable for the same reason, they had more time.
I thought the defenders opted not to hit back passes to Pickford on a number of occasions where they would have weeks ago, obviously told not to put the keeper under pressure.
I think Carlo is well pleased and so he should be, but I also think he knows that there are areas of concern defensively that need addressing (CB to be honest neither Keane, Mina, or Holgate inspire my full confidence as their consistency fluctuates like the weather and is far more likely to cost Everton points than the odd Pickford howler) But right now there is nothing better to be on the top of the pile. That's worth its weight in gold for the confidence of the players and supporters alike.
Ernie Baywood
26 Posted 27/09/2020 at 02:36:31
Christine, the flip side of that might be that defenders have previously been so confident in having a keeper as good with his feet as Pickford that they have put him under a lot of undue pressure. See Mina last weekend and Keane in midweek. The Keane one in particular should never have gone to the keeper in that position, right in between the posts, under pressure, on his weaker foot.

If they're trying to take some pressure off him, then I'd applaud that.

Mike Gaynes
27 Posted 27/09/2020 at 03:20:17
Scroll about halfway down this page for a hilarious debate between Shaka Hislop, Stewart Robson and Steve Nicol about whether Ward's handball was a penalty.

https://www.espn.com/

Dan Murphy
28 Posted 27/09/2020 at 03:40:59
What about some plaudits for 'Der neue Kaiser'. Michael keane looked like Beckenbauer a few times strolling out of defence, especially on that diagonal chip. A pleasure to watch.
Hope all the Everton fantrolls rushed on to twitter to apologize for all the abuse a season or 2 back.
Eric Myles
29 Posted 27/09/2020 at 03:47:06
Can you post a better link Mike, there's nothing on that home page about us.
Phil Sammon
30 Posted 27/09/2020 at 04:13:34
Dan Murphy 28

You’d go down well in Oz with a name like that, mate.

Totally agree with you regarding Keane. I nearly made the same remark to a WhatsApp group I’m in last night...then we conceded the goal.

He’s been good though. I’m glad he’s settled and having a good run of form. I’m more concerned about Mina. I just don’t think he’s any good - that’s before we get into the money he cost. Also really disappointed with the non-existent threat he poses offensively.

Dan Murphy
31 Posted 27/09/2020 at 04:21:16
Phil, I'm actually in Melbourne. I tell them I'm 'the' Dan Murphy when they scan my membership at the check out but never get an extra discount.
Phil Sammon
32 Posted 27/09/2020 at 04:46:01
Haha. It’s worth a try.

Same here! Currently locked down and bored senseless.

Bob Parrington
33 Posted 27/09/2020 at 05:00:02
Good to see us win this kind of game. In recent seasons we probably would have lost it. Both sides put in massive energy today but a classic build up to DCL's goal was pure magic.

Hard to single out one player for MoM but I would go with Seamus as my selection.

Mike Dolan
34 Posted 27/09/2020 at 05:42:00
Any win away from home is a great win. We scratched out a really good win today. A professional win. I thought great game management. What a superb effort. Above us only sky!!!!!
Mike Gaynes
35 Posted 27/09/2020 at 05:57:27
Ah, they took it down, Eric. Can't find it now.
Jerome Shields
36 Posted 27/09/2020 at 06:14:28
I don't like the way various pundits say by the rules it was a penalty, but it's not really a penalty common sense wise. Linekar blaming slow motion. He would have been the first to demand a penalty when he played and Everton would have still lost the League even when he would have got it.

A good passing header by Digne was diverted.

Jerome Shields
37 Posted 27/09/2020 at 07:02:44
By the way Mike I feel reassured.

Christine#25

Good point regarding Sigurdsson. He actually dictated play at a critical stage and brought the tempo of the game under Evertons control. I felt that before that Everton had rose to take on the dogfight tempo of Palace, Shows how competitive Everton have become, Sigurdsson made a essential contribution.

Peter Neilson
38 Posted 27/09/2020 at 07:17:24
I don’t remember the same media outrage over the Liverpool handball penalty against Leeds a couple of weeks ago. Must have missed it.
David Ellis
39 Posted 27/09/2020 at 07:26:49
All this talk of Gomes making fouls at the edge of the box. Allan did it at least twice (and did it for the goal against WBA - but some on here/ the Forum assumed it was Gomes), Mina did it several times. Resist confirmation bias its like when you buy a new car suddenly you see them everywhere because sub consciously you are looking for them.

Gomes did well today. Iwobi on the other hand

Paul Smith
40 Posted 27/09/2020 at 07:32:47
Tough game that and great all round team effort with no real stand out performers. Palace were tenacious and their midfield pushed us back but never looked dangerous apart from corners and set pieces - Digne & Seamus covered the flanks and the our 2 CB pretty much stopped anything through the middle with Allan cleaning up. Gomes should never be allowed to tackle, I close my eyes every time he runs towards a player it’s becoming a real issue now others are stepping up it and needs to be addressed sharpish. Btw I loved that kit and will be buying the yellow & blue tracksuit they appeared in yesterday, first kit Item I’ve bought since I was a kid it’s a sign of my growing confidence and the increasing class even in quality and design of the garms on offer. Lastly well done Everton for ditching the gambling sponsor there was a great piece on TV about footballs addiction to gambling yesterday - frightening stuff.
Martin Mason
41 Posted 27/09/2020 at 08:01:17
Magnificent performance and I agree with the early comments about Gomes being exceptional and Sigurdsson when he came on. He only has one position and when he plays there he is class.
Santa Krsh
42 Posted 27/09/2020 at 08:27:50
Absolutely delighted with an away win. Even happier because we have won 3 games in 3 different ways.

Away to Tottenham saw James at his very best, thereby lifting all his teammates a notch higher, instilling confidence in them that we can do it away at a Sky 6 team.

Home to West Brom, newly promoted, going a goal down early, showed tremendous character as a team to romp home with few to spare.

Away to Palace, always a difficult game, Zaha in form, Mina and Pickford not so much... but everyone worked their socks off to help each other out, showed nerves of steel, in the end, we are all Happy ToffeeWebbers!!!

Well done, My beloved Blues!! Everyone of them would be counting the scars on their bodies after such a difficult scrappy game. And finally for once, VAR was on our side. We were due some luck after some of the shockers we had last season when nothing seemed to go our way...

One game at a time. COYB

Tony Abrahams
43 Posted 27/09/2020 at 08:46:24
That's what I was saying, Jerome, but I thought it was our own tempo that Doucouré was finding a bit difficult (How good where we in the first 25 minutes?) because, once Palace stepped up, he was probably our most important player.
Bob Parrington
44 Posted 27/09/2020 at 09:03:52
Interesting - the chat about the penalty that was awarded to us today. There have been a couple of other penalties in the few games I've watched so far this season. I agree it is fair to compare the Liverpool vs Leeds hand-ball penalty with ours today.

IMO, in terms of comparison, they are just about identical. In neither case was the hand/arm moved towards the ball by the player. However, this is the rule they are using this season so far and it goes 100% against the original rule, which sensibly made a clear distinction between hand-ball and ball-to-hand.

So, I think the argument is with the idiots who made this latest rule, which is clearly wrong and unfair. Who are they trying to protect? The referees, VAR? because certainly they are not helping the players and so are not helping the game. Back to the drawing board for the rule makers and maybe back to the school of football.

Danny O’Neill
45 Posted 27/09/2020 at 09:26:58
My take, and please excuse as I met up with my son & brother in London (Camden) only to discover Amazon haven't yet sorted out their partnership with BT Sports to show matches in pubs. Apparently this will be resolved for the rest of their televised fixtures this season. So, the 3 of us crowded around a mobile phone perched against the menu holder on the table, logged into our Amazon Prime account.

I think what this showed is that we can deal with teams who are physical and will give us a game. Palace have already proven that they are a decent team and won't park the bus. We have shown likewise, but now we have seemingly ridden ourselves of the mental and physical fragility that has cost us so much over the past seasons.

Doucoure I thought was wasteful in possession early on, but was immense in covering ground, breaking up Palace attacks and protecting the defence. In particular, his tracking back and dispossession of Zaha down our left in the second half was fantastic. Yes, we have a midfielder who can outpace a player like Zaha from a trailing position!

I said late last season or pre-season, that Gomez will benefit from having players around him who can afford him the time and space on the ball that allows his obvious talent to flourish. He seriously missed Gueye last season. Great first time ball from Rodriguez and interplay with Seamus for the first goal but look at that 40 yard spray pass from Gomez that started the move. Seamus looked almost startled to have received it before waking up and shifting it to James!

Special mention to Calvert-Lewin. Not just for getting another goal, I thought the possibly un-noticed aspect of his game was being available, holding the ball and drawing fouls to take pressure off us in the second half when Palace were putting inevitable pressure on us to seek the equaliser. Proper centre forward outlet play from the young man.

Their goal; yes Keane could have judged the flight of the cross better. Richarlison could have made it more difficult as he was marking the scorer. And I think Jordan could have done better as it was almost straight at him. I don't want to dwell too much as he had a better game, but I wish he will stop this one-handed flap thing. I know in real time that will have been fast moving and it was close, but two hands and a possible standing catch? And also, let's give credit to the quality of cross and movement by the attacker. If we'd have scored that, we'd have been purring about both.

All-in-all, we showed we have character. We can match teams when they mix it, can shrug off the set back of conceding, dig in and grind out a result when we don't get it all our own way. In reality you rarely will in most matches. Well done Everton. I'm actually no longer going into matches feeling nervous; I look forward to watching us!!

Danny O’Neill
46 Posted 27/09/2020 at 09:35:14
Forgot to mention Allan. Not just his ability, we finally have a wind up merchant and "flea in the ear" midfielder again. The Brazilian Peter Reid!
Christy Ring
47 Posted 27/09/2020 at 09:35:18
Dan #31,

There has to be Irish blood there, with that name.

Andrew Keatley
48 Posted 27/09/2020 at 09:42:03
Jerome (17) - Well you think what you think and I think what I think, but your claim that he "did very little wrong" is problematic for me, as I'm looking for more than just an absence of obvious errors.

My take on Gomes is that he is too languid in possession (as he seems to love having time and space on the ball, even if it comes at the cost of slowing down a promising move). There was one moment where he was idling on the ball and got closed down mid-way in our own half, and was fortunate that a ricochet enabled him to retain possession – before another Palace player tackled him, and he got a second lucky ricochet – and then a third Palace player fouled him.

It's moments like that which make me worry about Gomes, as the way he carries the ball invites opposition players to make a challenge, but lacks the pace and power to recover from any mistakes.

Max Murphy
49 Posted 27/09/2020 at 10:39:53
I thought Gomes had a decent game. I believe he brings a calming influence to midfield. No, he's not at his 100% best, but he's going in the right direction. Let's not forget the horrendous injury he suffered.

He's a class player, and Carlo recognizes that.

Dan Murphy
50 Posted 27/09/2020 at 10:51:33
Christy, 47, family is Liverpool Irish. Dad grew up around Tuebrook and Dovecott. Mam was Norris Green. Murphy side goes back to Mayo.

I grew up in Aussie and married a Cork girl. In the family home in Youghal Christy Ring more revered than the pope or JFK.

Brian Harrison
51 Posted 27/09/2020 at 11:24:45
Yesterday was a gritty display, and not the free-flowing football we had displayed in the previous games, but in the Premier League you have to be able to adapt your game to be successful. Certainly in the second half, Palace seem to have more possession than we did, but we denied them space and I don't think Pickford had a shot to save in the 2nd half.

My only slight disappointment was watching Doucouré for Watford he got forward a lot for them and kept popping up in the box, where he seems to be sitting slightly deeper for us. So at times it leaves us a little short in attack, as Gomes hasn't got the pace to join the attack and neither has Sigurdsson when he replaces Gomes. But I am sure if we are having to chase a game then Doucouré will be asked to join the attack more often.

Nice to see Michael Keane keeping up the level of performance he turned in when we returned after lockdown, many including me wondered how we would cope without Mason Holgate's pace at the back, but so far so good.

I am not always convinced about Mina as a simple ball over the top sees him struggling from time to time. I wonder in time if Carlo will play James more central when he gets fitter and more use to the tempo of the Premier League. His passing is a joy to watch, and if he can play more central I think he will create more and score more.

I was disappointed that Gordon wasn't given a run-out as I think he is far more effective than Iwobi. But I guess Carlo intends to start him on Wednesday against West Ham in the Carabao Cup.

What is also important is not just how good the first team is but just as important is what quality is there in the fringe players, and in Nkounkou and Gordon we have 2 lads who I think could quite easily fit into the first team when called upon. Of the senior fringe players, it will be interesting to see which ones are still here when the window closes.

So Brighton at home next in the league, I have to say I have been impressed with what I have seen from them so far, and they didn't deserve to lose to Man Utd yesterday, in fact with hitting the woodwork 5 times you could say they were unlucky not to have won the game.

Geoff Williams
52 Posted 27/09/2020 at 12:11:11
I've come to the conclusion supporters see what they want to see whether it be seeing their favourites' good points and ignoring their mistakes or in the case of players like Gomes and Davies they can only see wrong. I admit that at times I am guilty of that.

Yesterday I thought Gomes was excellent for 60 or so minutes. He isn't the quickest of players but he is skilful and has vision. He is often the 'out ball' for teammates under pressure. Everton are a better team with him in the side.

Steven Astley
53 Posted 27/09/2020 at 12:29:13
The more I re-watch Kouyate's goal from yesterday the more sure I am that it was yet again a Pickford error.

He got nowhere near it and did one of his delays flap attempt to stop it.

The lad is going to cost us this season. Definitely shouldn't be in goal on Wednesday.

Martin Mason
54 Posted 27/09/2020 at 13:34:55
Pickford error? Hilarious.
John McFarlane Snr
55 Posted 27/09/2020 at 13:39:29
Hi Geoff [52], I came to the same conclusion many years ago, I too, was guilty of the 'crime'. If a player I liked misplaced a pass, I would excuse him by saying, "It was well-intended" but if a player lower down on my 'Popularity Chart' did exactly the same, I'm afraid that he didn't receive a sympathetic response.

I have mellowed somewhat since those days and I have looked at football in a different way. For example, I read that Keane and Richarlison are being criticised for the Crystal Palace goal, whereas if a carbon copy goal had been scored by Calvert-Lewin, he would be praised for his ability to lose his marker, and I find now that I don't find football as frustrating as I used to.

Peter Warren
56 Posted 27/09/2020 at 13:46:29
8 out of the 11 I read started against Villa away last year. Shows what a difference those 3 make improving the standards around them.
Stan Schofield
57 Posted 27/09/2020 at 13:48:16
John @55: Good post. I eventually got to realise that how good an individual player is depends heavily on the quality and effectiveness of the team in which he plays, together with how his style fits the style of the manager.

In this respect, although I might mutter under my breath when a player makes a mistake, I've never really been able to criticise that player openly. I always think, the manager has picked that player for a reason, and if he wears an Everton shirt he will get my support come rain or shine.

Danny O’Neill
58 Posted 27/09/2020 at 13:50:03
It was the glaringly obvious problem that needed fixing Peter; the midfield. Football is a simple game that is often over-complicated. You win or lose in midfield. They protect and take pressure off the defence and supply the forwards. Early days, but we appear to have addressed that.

I think many of us are on the same page with the Palace goal John. Sometimes you have to look through the blue-focussed glasses and frustration to acknowledge a great delivery and good movement from the attacker, even if it was the opposition.

John McFarlane Snr
59 Posted 27/09/2020 at 13:52:46
Hi Stan, [57] although I don't know you, I think that you and I could get along.
Stan Schofield
60 Posted 27/09/2020 at 13:55:02
John, the feeling is mutual! The other thing is, imo it defies logic to criticise a player openly, because it can damage his confidence, if a supporter does it at the match. Similarly, the manager can have this negative effect if he criticises the player in public.

I think Ancelotti is very professional by always supporting players publicly, as opposed to what he might say to them behind closed doors.

Jerome Shields
61 Posted 27/09/2020 at 14:11:44
Tony #43,

I hadn't thought of it that way. Doucouré was good in the second half, but he was a different player in the first half, which I could only explain as being targeted by Crystal Palace. Gomes seemed to adopt Doucouré's role going forward.

Danny O’Neill
62 Posted 27/09/2020 at 14:15:57
The thing we have now though, Jerome, is there are several players for the opposition to be concerned about. If they target one or two, that frees up 3 or 4 others.

Over the past couple of seasons, they could just take either Gomez or Richarlison out of the game and we had nothing else.

Jerome Shields
63 Posted 27/09/2020 at 14:21:57
Danny #62,

I agree totally with your point. Doucoure isn't used to that type of attention. Rodriguez is well used to it and just shrugs it off. Gomes obviously enjoys not being a target.

Danny O’Neill
64 Posted 27/09/2020 at 14:24:47
Yep, despite the divided opinion on both players, Gomes missed Idrissa's presence last season (when not injured).
Trevor Peers
65 Posted 27/09/2020 at 14:48:48
Geoff #52,

I think Gomes needs to be doing a much much more than just being the 'out ball' for his teammates to justify his selection and usefulness to our success this season.

Unfortunately Gomes neither adds goals or assists in making goals, something Sigurdsson can and has done regularly but is treated with contempt on TW.

Gomes is often carried by our new midfield players and manages to slip through the net without any criticism at all, probably because he's a nice guy.

Danny O’Neill
66 Posted 27/09/2020 at 14:59:12
Depends on how you define assist Geoff in fairness. Sky Sports statto type assist or contribution to the build up to a goal? Often when we talk assist now, that is only afforded to the player with the last touch before the scorer.

Yesterday, Seamus got the "assist" for the first goal. But that should not exclude the brilliant interplay between him and Rodriguez, who's first time return ball calved open Palace to allow Seamus to deliver the officially accredited assist. But it was the initial 30-40 yard beauty of a ball from Gomes that started the move.

All 3 "assisted" in making that goal, in my opinion.

Stan Schofield
67 Posted 27/09/2020 at 15:05:06
Danny@66: That's right, it's the bigger picture that matters beyond a few simple indices like numbers of assists. To my mind, Gomes is a fantastic player, stylish and effective, barring the terrible injury to him, from which he's probably only really now fully getting over.

I'll always recall him absolutely bossing the midfield in that Anfield Derby two seasons ago, to an extent that shut up all the reds I know.

John McFarlane Snr
68 Posted 27/09/2020 at 15:11:47
Hi Danny [58],

If I remember correctly, you have coaching experience, my experience is that of an unremarkable Sunday League inside left, but it appears to me that football appreciation is not confined to any one group.

I wish I had a pound for every time I have praised an opposition player, and received dirty looks from supporters in my vicinity in the Park End Stand. It's an involuntary reaction on my part, but you would think that I had committed a serious crime.

I think that anyone who appreciates good football would possess the same attitude. I'll get back now to the second half of the Spurs - Newcastle game on Radio 5.

Mike Gaynes
69 Posted 27/09/2020 at 15:25:22
Stan and John Sr., I would have thought that you were already best mates. I enjoy your conversations.
Danny O’Neill
70 Posted 27/09/2020 at 15:32:34
I also like to think I wasn't too bad a player John! Good to see you on here again.

I agree, and I always grew up knowing Evertonians as a group who would acknowledge good play, even if from the opposition and even if begrudgingly. As Howard Kendall once described us; the most knowdgeable fans in football.

I appreciate it may be a generation thing, that times change and it is harder for the younger generation in particular given what we've endured the past decades (they know no different - easy for me to clap the opposition when you're watching a team win league titles & a European trophy.

That said, I was at an Everton v City match some years ago. Can't recall the exact year without looking, but it was just as they were on their upward spiral, prior to them winning the league and the season Lescott joined them I think. We beat them 2-1, coming back from being a goal down. Osman got the winner with a great header from the edge of the box.

I recall an aimless high ball being lofted into our box as we defended the Park End. Hibbert done everything right. Text book defending; tight, showing the player away from goal etc, but David Silva somehow plucked it out from the skies, took it down on the proverbial sixpence and took Hibbert out of the game. It wasn't poor defending, it was sheer brilliance from Silva. Goodison in almost unison applauded; all for sides of the ground.

Dave Abrahams
71 Posted 27/09/2020 at 15:34:22
Danny (66), I understand you and the three players, Gomes, Seamus and James all assisted in the goal.

If you go back a little bit further in the build-up to that goal, Michael Keane, who for all the time he's been here, very rarely uses the five and up to ten yards space in front of him, got the ball and did use the space and found Gomes with a very good pass to start the move.

Seamus finished it off by looking up, something he rarely does, and pinpointed Dominic with a perfect pass to slot the ball home. They all played a part. James stood out because he knew what he was going to do before he got the ball.

Danny O’Neill
72 Posted 27/09/2020 at 15:42:44
Fair point Dave. And being honest, I've been a critic of Keane but amazing what having better players in front of him has done for his confidence in playing out. You're right and I noticed yesterday, the midfielders are making themselves available for that 5 - 10 yard pass to bring the ball out and turn play over rather than a predictable roll out to the full back or punt up to the opposition's centre back.

Love your point about James. One of the hardest things to coach is anticipation, both attacking and defending. It can be taught, but situational awareness and knowing what the next pass / move is (thinking ahead) is often and instinctive gift in my experience.

Dan Nulty
73 Posted 27/09/2020 at 15:43:16
Agree Danny, I've been surprised by the criticism of Gomes. He is clearly playing in the areas Carlo wants him to and is so good at ticking the play over and switching it quickly. Having Allan and Doucoure there goes to show exactly why he didn't seem the same player last season. It is no surprise to me that he seems to have a real friendship already with James, clear respect between the two.

This is the first time in God knows how long where I have made every effort to watch all 5 games in a row. A lack of enthusiasm and general apathy towards the way we have played since that first Martinez season have led me to drift away from watching football altogether. I have the buzz back at the moment. Long may it continue!

Frank Fearns
74 Posted 27/09/2020 at 16:02:23
The performances of Everton is what the supporters have wanted and desperately needed for a long time. It's easy to nit pick at players for their faults but they have belief now and that can be seen in their body language and the look on their faces. That has been missing for too long.

From what I have seen so far, I love it. There will be wobblies ahead but sticking with belief in them and support come what may can only bring positives. Enjoy what we are seeing. COYB

Soren Moyer
75 Posted 27/09/2020 at 18:16:00
On another note, this moppet is calling EFC a small club! https://youtu.be/Ea_ocrRNjT0
Martin Mason
76 Posted 27/09/2020 at 19:03:51
Dan @73,

Gomes is nothing less than a Rolls-Royce in a sea of Minis, a superb player and, for me at least, a joy to watch. Once a passenger but, with good players in midfield with him, he is sublime.

Martin Mason
77 Posted 27/09/2020 at 19:08:01
Sorren, he didn't say Everton was a small club, he said that Everton were not a big club. I understand what he meant and it's true we're not "big" by the standards of the biggest.

We could be though and I see what is happening now as the dawning of the Everton era where we become a big club. Evertonians deserve it.

Tony Everan
78 Posted 27/09/2020 at 19:23:47
Martin, Dan. I'm enjoying watching Gomes too, he's thriving with Allan and Doucuré in the midfield. Without being spectacular, he is putting in solid consistent performances and getting fitter with each match.

That consistency from him has been elusive but now it is taking root. There's more to come from André Gomes this season.

Jerome Shields
79 Posted 27/09/2020 at 22:45:09
I have always found that most Everton Supporters are aware of good play and appreciate it even when it comes from the opposition.
Bob Parrington
80 Posted 28/09/2020 at 01:36:14
Dann y@58. Couldn't agree more that it was a well constructed and immaculately headed goal from Palace. Hard to be critical of Pickford for not catching the Mach 4 ball as it flew past him!
Rennie Smith
81 Posted 28/09/2020 at 09:24:06
Not much point in highlighting negatives on players, we didn't play well but ground out a result and that surely demonstrates what a different proposition we now are. The penalty was a joke and a gift, but valid by the stupid rules. We'll get one of those soon and we'll all be crying about it.

Bored with the Pickford whinging, give it a rest boys.

Dave Roberts
82 Posted 28/09/2020 at 12:35:50
I noticed in the Sunday Mirror yesterday a report that Moyes was about to bid for Coleman. No idea how true this is but the best of luck with that Davey unless you're planning on emptying your employer's bank account!
Gregory Kelly
83 Posted 29/09/2020 at 11:18:21
Love the yellow and blue strip, reminds me of glories past and the James pass to Seamus Was pure Alan Ball - had it all worked out before he got the ball. Let the good times roll
Mbulelo Mpofu
84 Posted 30/09/2020 at 12:45:39
The Toffees are on a roll. We should beat the Kopites soon.

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