Blues gut it out to claim important Chelsea scalp

Lyndon Lloyd 12/12/2020 132comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 1 - 0 Chelsea

Gylfi Sigurdsson isn’t the most popular name to appear in the starting XI these days but he is showing that he can be a man for big occasions, not least when Chelsea come to town and the chips are down for Everton. The Iceland international was in the team that blew Frank Lampard’s side away a year ago in a must-win encounter at Goodison Park and he stepped up again against the same opposition this evening to help the Toffees win at home for the first time in over two months.

Sigurdsson also took a fairly audacious penalty to win the game after Dominic Calvert-Lewin had been flattened by Eduard Mendy, rolling the ball into the other side of the goal having sent the goalkeeper the wrong way. Quite the display of confidence given his chequered record from the spot during his time with Everton and he went on to produce a performance of tireless work as Carlo Ancelotti’s men successfully blunted and frustrated his old club’s attack.

It’s fair to say that few Evertonians gave their team much of a chance against a Chelsea team that had settled into their groove in recent matches, remaining unbeaten in nine in the Premier League and 17 in all competitions coming into this weekend. They arrived at Goodison looking very much like the title contenders the pundits said they are this season but left having been restricted to a barrage of long balls in the closing stages as Everton’s stubborn back line drained them of ideas.

It was a Blues defence packed with centre-halves as Ancelotti, shorn by injury of Lucas Digne and Seamus Coleman, preferred Ben Godfrey and Mason Holgate in the full-back positions to Niels Nkounkou and Jonjoe Kenny, deploying them either side of Yerry Mina and Michael Keane. It was a contest that demanded some towering performances and while Mina and Keane delivered as expected and Holgate perhaps illustrated that right-back isn’t his strongest suit, it was Godfrey who caught the eye with an immense showing.

Understandably, the young defender is still raw but he was mostly excellent despite playing out of position, exhibiting good strength, pace and reading of the game and only occasionally allowing himself to be turned by the pace of Timo Werner once the German had been moved out wide to accommodate Tammy Abraham in the second half.

Chelsea were chasing the game at that point, with Everton having taken a 1-0 lead into half-time thanks to Sigurdsson’s calm under pressure. Richarlison had had the only real chance of note, a disappointingly powder-puff shot straight at Mendy with five minutes gone, when Calvert-Lewin got on the end of a punt forward by Jordan Pickford and then collected his own knock-down in the visitors’ penalty area.

He was clattered into by Mendy which left referee Jon Moss no option but to award a penalty which Sigurdsson elected to take with a disconcertingly short run-up but a confidently-taken shot after deceiving the keeper with an exaggerated look towards the opposite side of the goal.

As it turned out, the key to the Toffees getting something out of the game was the next few minutes as Chelsea immediately responded with a flurry of attacks but the home defence held firm thanks to a combination of Pickford and the woodwork.

The England keeper was equal to Reece James’s free-kick, pushing it away for a corner and he got a vital touch to the same player’s low drive from the resulting set-piece that was searching out the bottom corner until it came off the inside of the post via Pickford’s gloves.

A couple of minutes later, Olivier Giroud had put a gilt-edged chance in a plate for Kurt Zouma but the former Everton loanee could only shoot straight at the keeper while, later in the half, Werner smashed well over after the hosts had gifted Kai Havertz too much space in midfield and Abdoulaye Doucouré did well to block Giroud’s shot after Pickford’s punch had fallen well short.

In between, Sigurdsson had played Richarlison in nicely but the Brazilian appeared to slip as he shot and his effort was too close to Mendy who beat it away. Still, while Richarlison wasn’t having the best of games in front of goal, his industry, until the later stages was an important component; indeed, the whole team’s work-rate was reflective of a really good first half performance.

After Mason Mount had almost punished another dubious Pickford punch by dropping the ball into the top of the crossbar trying to lob into the empty net, Richarlison worked Mendy again with a right-footer but Mina might have snatched a goal off the head of Calvert-Lewin from the resulting corner by stealing in front of his team-mate and powering a header over the bar.

Sigurdsson then whipped a direct free-kick narrowly over from 25 yards before a second penalty awarded to Calvert-Lewin, this time for a foul by Ben Chilwell, was over-turned by Video Assistant Referee Andre Marriner for offside.

All the while, Chelsea were enjoying the lion’s share of possession without being able to fashion any clear-cut opportunities with it. Their best chance to wipe out Everton’s lead came 10 minutes from the end of the regulation 90 when Doucouré’s clumsy foul set Mount up with a free-kick from ideal range. Thankfully, though the England midfielder beat Pickford with his shot, it bounced off the base of the post and away.

Ancelotti then moved to close out the game, first by withdrawing the tiring Sigurdsson in favour of André Gomes, then by introducing Tom Davies for Iwobi and Jonjoe Kenny for Richarlison, and the Italian was successful as, apart from a chance in the 83rd minute for Giroud that he skied into empty Park End, Chelsea were barely able to threaten.

With Everton’s form having been so disappointing since the Merseyside derby, this was the ideal result with which to welcome back the first couple of thousand fans to Goodison since the coronavirus shutdown in March. It was no bear pit but the supporters scattered across the Gwladys Street and Top Balcony more than played their part in bolstering a gritty display by a side that needed the confidence of a key win against very strong opposition.

It bodes well that despite being without Digne especially and James Rodriguez, the Blues found a way to win and defended stoutly to achieve it to garner their first clean sheet in the Premier League since the opening day. Iwobi continues to grow into his various roles at the club, showing flashes of the inventive presence he can be if he could find some consistency with his final ball while Doucouré and Allan underscored how important they have been as signings when it comes to the defensive side of their games.

James is likely to be missing again when the team travels to Leicester on Wednesday so much the same kind of performance might be required again but the players will at least have restored their own belief that they can gut out games like this against dangerous opposition and do enough at the other end to win points.

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Reader Comments (132)

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Bob Parrington
1 Posted 13/12/2020 at 01:19:27
Solid performances all round. I was particularly impressed by Iwobi and Godfrey. Allan had a good game to as did Sigurdsson. Unimpressed by the referee, Jon Moss, who was particularly one-sided towards Chelsea IMO.

Valuable scalp and priceless 3 points.

Si Pulford
2 Posted 13/12/2020 at 01:24:10
I've said it before and I'll say it again. When you play Sigurdsson in his natural position as a number 10 he's a different player.
Bob McEvoy
3 Posted 13/12/2020 at 01:28:29
I thought Moss for once did ok. Let the game flow. Holgate and Godfrey bring a lot of pace and energy to the ream and Iwobi is beginning to look as if he might be a player.
Jack Ledwidge
4 Posted 13/12/2020 at 02:35:12
So glad of the win. A strong solid shape about us. Iwobi in his natural position did very well and I'm delighted for him and he'll gain in confidence. The plan was not allow Kante progress with the ball and Siggy and late on Gomes stuck to the task. Kante initiates a lot of moves for Chelsea and gives Mount and others the role to fire the final pass. This was cut out at source. Expert by Carlo. Kante who is an assister to the assister was made redundant. Well done. COYB
Andy McNabb
5 Posted 13/12/2020 at 02:51:50
I think this performance was less about the inclusion of Sigurdsson and more about the absence of James. I wonder if Siggy will suffer once again by missing out on his preferred number 10 slot when James returns? Because surely that is the only place the current side can accommodate Rodriguez?

Like many others, I was dubious when I saw Siggy's name on the team sheet but our manager, who has watched a bit of footy in his time, sees him every day in training.

I love a bit of stardust in the team but sad to say we would have lost that game had James been on the pitch. Chelsea would have driven a bus through the gaps he leaves.

Anyway, it was great to get up in the morning over here and watch a bit of live footy with a positive outcome. Well done to each and every fan there today - you all played your part in this.

Alan J Thompson
6 Posted 13/12/2020 at 03:09:00
I was surprised by Chelsea's first half performance when they looked short of any sort of plan or shape. They looked a lot better in the second half but some of that must be put down to Everton sitting deeper and playing as though they were just trying to hold on to the lead. It does need saying that the defensive back four line up looked a lot better than the three centre halves although Iwobi and Richarlison were tremendous in covering back.
Jim Harrison
7 Posted 13/12/2020 at 04:16:52
Andy 5

We have no idea what would have happened had Hames been playing.

I think after a bad run of results it's worth some perspective. Looking at the table, we are in the mix at the right end of the table. 2 points behind yesterday's opponent. The talk this week was how the could go top.
As Carlo said before, the team is where it should be for the stage of the season and the stage of his management.

Kieran Kinsella
8 Posted 13/12/2020 at 04:35:35
Andy

Sig played well today, but after four years under four managers at the age of 31 I won't shed a tear if he's dropped for the next game. He's had ample opportunity to make that spot his own

Darren Hind
9 Posted 13/12/2020 at 06:56:08
Well before the game Lyndon. You called for the same level of passion we saw in this fixture last season and I think you got it.
Despite the obvious difference in the noise inside the old lady, I thought this was a very similar game.
In the game last season we had to ride our luck. We had to dig in, keep a good shape and stay disciplined. We had to match their desire...play with passion.

I'm a big admirer of Ben Chilwell and if you'd told me a month ago that Alex Iwobi would have spent long periods imposing his will and making him stay home. I'd have laughed, but thats what happened and it wasnt just those two. Both sides maintained their shape making it an old fashioned game with personal duels going on all over the park.
I think the most striking similarity to last season was the way our boys slowly but surely began to win their individual battles. Everywhere you looked our players were coming out on top. I thought we were making Chelsea look very ordinary.

Carlo Ancelotti has wound me up big time recently. After speaking very eloquently about the beauty of simplicity. He proceeded to over-complicate things with things with his mystifying fuckaroundery. Yesterday he went back to practicing what he preaches.
If he is to take the flack when it goes wrong, he is more than entitled to the credit when it goes right. There was absolutely no room for error yesterday. He didn`t make any. I for one have no qualms whatsoever in giving him a well deserved pat on the Back.

Mal van Schaick
10 Posted 13/12/2020 at 08:08:42
Can't fault the effort and the balance was better, even though Godfrey was on the left. Iwobi gave his all and deserves some credit.we out fought them and defended very well. Pickford had his usual quirky game.
Peter Mills
11 Posted 13/12/2020 at 08:37:52
Bob#3, I can't agree with you about the ref. He's probably one of the most consistent referees out there - always poor.

His use of the yellow card was random, punishing some innocuous fouls and letting some decidedly dodgy ones go.

I don't know how the non-penalty came out on the telly, but nobody in the ground had a clue what was going on. Sigurdsson was standing with the ball, about to take the kick, when Moss just took it off him and marched off with it towards the middle of the pitch, for all the world like a frustrated P.E. teacher with a gang of kids.

His coup de grace came when Chelsea had an attack on the edge of our area and he blew his whistle to take play back to give Chelsea a free kick for offside in their half, an incident which had taken place about 3 days previously. It is the only time I can remember home fans booing a decision which was to the benefit of our team.

Paul Birmingham
12 Posted 13/12/2020 at 08:54:10
A very pleasing result, and the team thoroughly deserved their win.

Now for consistency, and what a good opportunity to make a difference by getting a good result at Leicester.

.

Bill Fairfield
13 Posted 13/12/2020 at 08:56:05
Well earned win,also proved how fit the players are.
Gareth Williams
14 Posted 13/12/2020 at 09:07:12
A good much-needed win!

Let's hope we can go on and beat Leicester City on Wednesday.

Rob Halligan
15 Posted 13/12/2020 at 09:14:15
Peter, DCL was offside in the build up to the foul for the "second penalty". Also, how on earth did Moss miss the blatant push by Mason Mount in the first half, when he pushed Mina into Pickford, causing Pickford to drop the ball? Could also have caused a serious injury to either Mina or Pickford. They could easily have scored from that, though no doubt (hopefully) it would have been picked up by VAR.

Also the offside incident which you refer too, if it's the one I'm thinking off, the free kick was actually taken in OUR half of the pitch. Unbelievable!!

You're right though, Jon Moss is bloody useless!!

Dick Fearon
16 Posted 13/12/2020 at 09:30:54
I could not fault any of our side and Pickfords two blinding saves will probably be gob stoppers for a while.
Ajay Gopal
17 Posted 13/12/2020 at 09:38:20
The match was between 1:30 to 3:30 am here in India, so I decided to watch the replay after my Sunday morning bike ride. I was determined not to peek into TW and turned off all notifications so that I could watch the game 'live'. But as soon as I turned on Disney Hotstar (which telecasts all PL games here), the opening screen showed "Highlights: Everton vs Chelsea 1-0" ! Darn! Although knowing that we had won made the viewing more enjoyable.

In my preferred line-up, I had Iwobi playing in place of Rodriduez as part of a front 3, but I did not expect to see Siggy in the starting XI, nor Godfrey and Holgate as full backs. But everything seemed to fall into place, and every one of our players worked their backsides off. I thought only Doucoure and Richarlison played below what they are capable of, the rest of them were excellent. Allan - what a player! Holgate and Iwobi worked fantastically well as a defensive unit on the right and Chilwell and Havertz were totally played out of the game. Reece James was the best player for Chelsea and he caused problems all day, but Godfrey stuck to his task manfully. As others have alluded, not playing James today was a blessing in disguise as Siggy put in a huge amount of work today and was deserving of the Captain's armband.
When Digne and Coleman come back, I would pair Keane and Godfrey in the middle of the back 4, a midfield of Allan, and 2 out of Gbamin/Doucoure/Davies/Gomes. A front 3 of Richarlison, DCL and Iwobi. James/Siggy would be very effective around the 60 mins mark when the opposition are tiring and they can spray the ball around and make those killer passes into the box.
Now, if Richarlison can find his scoring boots, we could still have a half decent season. COYB!

Geoff Williams
18 Posted 13/12/2020 at 09:56:28
This was an excellent result with some outstanding defensive performances particularly from Keane, Holgate, Godfrey and Allan. Everton scoring first was the key to this victory. The team selection was perfect for a back to the wall situation. The fullbacks could concentrate on what they do best, defend! They weren't expected to provide width and crosses. The midfield worked hard, I was expecting them to be overrun. Richarlison had a couple of good goalscoring chances but as an attacking force Everton were ineffective. Being realistic a penalty or a set piece was the only way we were going to score. We rode our luck with Chelsea hitting the woodwork several times. Had Chelsea scored we can only speculate on what would have been the result. Well done to all the players for giving 100% effort and no little skill, you deserved that victory.
Ian Bennett
19 Posted 13/12/2020 at 09:58:21
Rob 15 - commentators on bbc and bt were quick to comment on pickford colliding into Mina. But no comment at all by the push by Mount. Typical stuff.

Mcmanaman now chiming in on the Richarlison being on the deck ala Carragher. The lad can't go in for a challenge without a ridiculous comment. He's one of the most fouled players, and looks to protect himself - and why shouldn't he. He's a class player with a great future. Kopites are gobshites.

Dom Kearney
20 Posted 13/12/2020 at 10:24:52
Darren H, thank you for your confidence before the game. Stuck a fiver on at 7/2 and got £22.50 back! COYB!!
Tony Marsh
21 Posted 13/12/2020 at 10:27:15
I enjoyed that game last night. I think there was a major Duncan Ferguson influence on the performance. The battling qualities on show reminded me of the Dogs of War spirit. Good performances all round. Now we have shown what can be done, injuries or not; we have to maintain the same tempo and intensity in the next match.

Holgate and Godfrey look quality. Allan was brilliant as was Calvert-Lewin. Fans made a decent noise also. Sunday pint will be a lot more enjoyable this weekend. Carlo got this one spot-on. Well done, the Blues.

Laurie Hartley
22 Posted 13/12/2020 at 10:48:02
Geoff Williams # 18 - I agree with you that it was a terrific defensive display but I would have also included big Yerry in your group. I thought he kept Giroud quiet all game. So much so that the Frenchman started loosing his rag as the game wore on.

The back four looked rock solid to me and I think the manager is going to have the right kind of headache when Coleman and Digne are fit again because Holgate and Godfrey will only get better if they are left as full backs.

I listened to a DCL interview on the official site last week and he was asked aside from himself who were the fastest players in the squad. His response - Godfrey (who he said was “rapid”) and Branthwaite!! And Richarlison would have to be in there somewhere. That augers well for the future.

Iwobi has really surprised me. I didn't think he had the heart for this sort of game but he has proved me wrong.

Sigurdsson also put in a terrific shift so I can see him and Rodrigues being rotated in the forthcoming games.

And Allan what a smashin footballer he is.

Happy days

Peter Mills
23 Posted 13/12/2020 at 11:27:25
Laurie, Richarlison is pretty fast, but for 10 minutes yesterday he loped around the pitch like my grandson having been sent to the naughty step, all pursed lips, sloping shoulders and dragging his feet like he was making his way through a peat bog whilst wearing diving boots!
Derek Taylor
24 Posted 13/12/2020 at 12:28:35
MIrallas with ability!
Danny O’Neill
25 Posted 13/12/2020 at 13:34:38
4-2-3-1 much better suited our ability to remain balanced and organised. I don't know about anyone else, but I never really felt anxious throughout, even though Chelsea took some paint off the post a couple of times.

Defenders continued from good form last week (yes, I thought that was a positive from last week) and the midfield two were great again. Allan is possibly my favourite Everton player right now. Dominic is proving that, even when not on the score sheet, he makes the opposition defence worry about him and creates opportunity, directly or indirectly, for others.

In all, a good solid performance and great result. We remain on target for where we want to be.

Phil Wood
26 Posted 13/12/2020 at 13:57:02
Great to see a gutsy, battling display from an Everton Team again. All credit to those players who have taken stick from most of us this season.

Pleased for Sigurdsson as I have been a critic but, back in his best position and with a fighting team around him, he looked a different player. Alex Iwobi back in his best position looked much better too.

A lot of players have been put in different positions this season but everyone raised their game yesterday against a very talented Chelsea team. Defensively we were looking super solid and playing with passion.

I thought the Ref made things a little difficult for us, with one or two bookings putting players on egg shells when their best player, the very impressive Reece James was allowed to clog all over the pitch.

I have to agree with Andy McNabb (5) about James. I also believe we would have struggled if he had played. Some food for thought for The Don.

Well done lads onwards and upwards! And well done to the 2,000 who, by all accounts, helped make a big difference.

Fran Mitchell
27 Posted 13/12/2020 at 14:03:28
It was exactly the type of performance we expect of the team when up against it. Key players out, players out of position. So get stuck in, play with discipline and get the win. And we won, and could have won 2-0 or more.

Chelsea threatened, especially James at right-back, who is a hell of a player, and Pickford made the saves when needed.

I think Pickford deserves praise for getting through his rough patch and he seems confident and is making good saves. He's not perfect, but he's not looking a liability like he was before he was dropped.

Iwobi has really improved and is improving. He can beat a man, has great control, he just needs to improve his final ball and he could be a real player.

Godfrey and Holgate I thought did well and will eventually be our first-choice centre-backs I feel.

Looking at the table and anything is possible. A good run of form will see us in the top 3. Equally, a couple of defeats will drop us into the bottom half.

It is a season of inconsistency for all teams, and that provides possibilities. We should use the market in January because a good season is achievable.

Robert Tressell
28 Posted 13/12/2020 at 14:09:58
On the James Rodriguez issue, he can play Number 10 or wide right. He drifts between the two, whatever his starting position anyway.

To me, it's more a case that we can't accommodate him with either of Sigurdsson or Gomes in the same side. We just get outrun. And sometimes we'll be better off dispensing with the three of them and sacrificing the artistry for workrate.

Derek Thomas
29 Posted 13/12/2020 at 14:49:48
Robert @ 28; fair points, if you're right... and I think you're on the right track... given the players we have now, both injured and fit.

There will be 2 types of games: those Rodriguez starts and those he comes on as a sub... The trick will be knowing which is which.

Brian Hennessy
30 Posted 13/12/2020 at 14:58:31
Fantastic win yesterday and a real confidence boost. To restrict a very good Chelsea team to a few half chances was really impressive.

What I would give for another win for the team wearing blue (and white) in today's All Ireland Hurling Final. Life can be tough being a Toffee, but being Waterford born and bred is on another level. Our last All Ireland win was well before my time in 1959.

It will be extremely tough today but to bridge a 61-year gap and lift the trophy would be the stuff of dreams.

John Keating
31 Posted 13/12/2020 at 15:06:57
Ian 19,

I didn't see BBC but BT Sport definitely noticed the push by Mount and mentioned it a few times.

Danny O’Neill
32 Posted 13/12/2020 at 16:50:59
I didn't notice at the time and was ranting at Mina and Pickford for poor communication.

Actually a sneaky push (deliberate foul) and as mentioned above, could easily have resulted in potentially serious injury to either or both players.

Santa Krsh
33 Posted 13/12/2020 at 17:12:18
Ajay Gopal @17, nice to see another fan from India. I am from Chennai, dude. I thought you were from Kenya or something like...
Christy Ring
34 Posted 13/12/2020 at 17:19:46
A superb battling display last night from 1 to 11. Pickford's save onto the post was absolutely brilliant and he answered his critics with a great display. The back four were immense, Godfrey at lef-back, and Holgate were superb. Iwobi had Chilwell in his pocket, his best performance yet, and Allan bossed midfield.

Sigurdsson proved me wrong last night, and I hope it wasn't a one-off. I think the fans made a huge difference, and inspired the team to perform as they did.

Darren Hind
35 Posted 13/12/2020 at 17:24:33
Christy,

Iwobi is threatening to prove an awful lot of us wrong.

I think that's something we can live with.

Tony Waring
36 Posted 13/12/2020 at 17:33:49
Brian (30) nice to here from Waterford. As kids we used to go there on holiday and stayed at the Hibernian Bar run by our aunt Maureen Finan. Great pub. Unfortunately we were only kids so didn't get to taste the "genius" but made some great friends among the regulars who worked on the docks or at the foundry. Great days. Sadly the pub is no more.
Ajay Gopal
38 Posted 13/12/2020 at 17:41:02
Hello Santa (33), I live in Bangalore.

There used to be another guy on TW from India who used to post match reports quite regularly, but don't see him here anymore. Hope he is doing well.

Tony Hill
39 Posted 13/12/2020 at 18:29:07
Brian @39, sorry your team lost mate. It's a wonderful sport and the atmosphere in those games is electric (I've been to a couple),
Andy Crooks
40 Posted 13/12/2020 at 18:40:07
Well done Tony Marsh @ 21.
Christy Ring
41 Posted 13/12/2020 at 20:30:20
Darren #35,

Like yourself, I love to be proven wrong, if the players step up, and if Iwobi keeps performing like last night, I'd be thrilled.

Brian #30, I was shouting for ye today, best game in the world, hurled for Laois myself.

Danny O’Neill
42 Posted 13/12/2020 at 20:35:37
Echo the sentiment, Christy. I said on the other thread, after the Burnley match, I hope I never see Fabian Delph in an Everton shirt again I would be pleased.

If however he gets picked again in future, I hope he has a blinder.

Dave White
43 Posted 13/12/2020 at 21:02:30
Ajay #17 I hate it when that happens! But in this instance you saved yourself watching us cling on to a slender lead for ¾ of the match! It was nerve-wracking as hell!

As others have mentioned, Mount's push on Mina was really nasty and potentially very dangerous... he's gone way down in my estimation for that, dickhead

Dave White
44 Posted 13/12/2020 at 21:06:31
ps: Special mention to Michael Keane who's positioning was superb, I lost count of the number of times he cut out balls on the floor squared from their right.
Andrew Ellams
45 Posted 13/12/2020 at 21:09:52
We looked a better and more balanced team last night with Iwobi rather than Rodriguez.
Tony Abrahams
46 Posted 13/12/2020 at 21:11:08
It was one of the highlights of the game for me, the way Keane kept cutting out crosses at the near post, Dave. It's the first time I've seen him show real anticipation since he came to the club.
Mike Gaynes
47 Posted 13/12/2020 at 21:13:46
Dave and Tony, he has also become an outstanding passer out of the back. Not just competent, but really good, picking targets quickly and delivering the ball in a way we've never seen from him before.
Danny O’Neill
48 Posted 13/12/2020 at 21:14:25
If Keane can learn to read the game and anticipate, he can overcome his lack of pace. He needs to think ahead so he has less of those "Oh Fuck" moments where he has switched off and watched the ball go over his head. He doesn't have the pace to recover like others so must anticipate and read ahead.
Brent Stephens
49 Posted 13/12/2020 at 21:17:34
I've also noticed Keane coming fast out of the back line quite a distance to close down an advancing opponent in midfield.
Peter Gorman
50 Posted 13/12/2020 at 21:20:40
Christy Ring @41 - I assume that is your nom de guerre?
Tony Abrahams
51 Posted 13/12/2020 at 21:25:29
I've never really seen him really read the game before, Danny, but his positioning was first class yesterday. That old adage about the first five yards being in the head definitely looked to be the case for Keane last night.
Jon Wit
52 Posted 13/12/2020 at 21:28:03
Glad about the promising performance of Godfrey especially. Also glad to hear that Holgate and Iwobi did well. They are all players that could be here for a while and future main-stays.

Still glad we have Carlo.

Danny O’Neill
53 Posted 13/12/2020 at 22:45:57
For the reasons I mention, I've been a critique of Keane Tony, but credit where due as you call out. If he can keep doing what he done yesterday, he can be a very good defender.

I think this ties to a previous thread. It's speed of thought and mind that is almost, if not entirely, more important that pure pace alone. If you are one step ahead with the brain, you are ahead.

Keane and the entire defence were great yesterday. I actually thought they were against Burnley, so at least there is some consistency and form creeping in (as I see it).

Jim Harrison
54 Posted 14/12/2020 at 03:03:36
On the note that Pickford had a couple of dodgy punches, anyone else notice that the collision he had with Mina was a result of a push by a Chelsea forward in the defenders back shoving him into Pickford, whose punch was then not very effective. No foul given. What a surprise.
Darryl Ritchie
55 Posted 14/12/2020 at 03:23:11
I'm from Victoria in B.C., Canada. As far as I know there are four Evertonians in the city, myself, my brother, Tim, a young lawyer and another fella I saw wearing an Everton hoodie. On Friday Tim came into my shop and I had chance to talk about the Toffees face to face, in real time, with an actual person. Not something that happens very often, believe me.

“ Big game on the weekend “says Tim.

“They're all big from now on.”says me.

It all went down while I was at work. I didn't have the opportunity to watch the match until the evening. The game was over long ago, but I hadn't researched the score, so although the match was long over, it was all new to me.

What a performance! No Coleman, but hey, we had Holgate, who played incredibly. No Digne, but hey, we had Godfrey, who showed a clean set of heels to more than a few Chelsea first teamers. No James, but Siggy plays a blinder. The best game he's had in season and a half.

A very good win, when we really, really needed it.

Eddie Dunn
56 Posted 14/12/2020 at 08:02:02
Jim- that was Mason Mount (it was mentioned very briefly by Steve Macca on BT Sport and never mentioned again. It was foul play and could have led to a serious injury.
What annoys me is how VAR is not being used. On-field decisions are only questioned when a "clear and obvious " mistake from the ref has been made. In rugby, the TMO would bring an incident to the on-field ref at a convenient time.
In Fulham yesterday, Fabinio clearly kicked the foot of the Fulham striker which dominoed onto the ball which went out.
Mariner eventually had a look on the monitor and left it as a corner. Onthe radio Andy Reid and the commentator were both shocker that mariner did not award a pen. it was a clear foul and he could see it. It was his decision not to give it.
He bottled it. later they gave one to Lic]verpool which was dubious. The point being that in rugby we hear the conversation between on field and off field officials. They state what they think they are looking at and ask the other if they agree, then they suggest the punishment and agree or disagree and downgrade it.
Everything is in the open, clealy explained to the crowd, the players and the audience at home.
it is unfortunately being used to discriminate against the "smaller clubs".
I get the feeling that if a lesser team score, they look at great depth for a reason not to give it, but a bigger team score and they rapidly whizz through the footage and give the goal.
We need openess and communication.
Derek Taylor
57 Posted 14/12/2020 at 08:48:47
What price a reversion to three centre backs and wing backs on Wednesday ?
Christopher Timmins
58 Posted 14/12/2020 at 08:53:19
Great three points, 20 points from 12 games is not a bad haul. If we can repeat that kind of average over 38 games we will exceed the 60 point mark which is surely progress.

This time last year we were just above the relegation zone so let's keep things in perspective.

A similar performance needed in mid week.

Trevor Peers
59 Posted 14/12/2020 at 08:59:02
Derek, I for one won't watch Everton play with 5 at the back, let's hope Carlo has learned that particular lesson. It will be a tough enough game at Leicester without surrendering our midfield, that would be utter madness.
Martin Reppion
60 Posted 14/12/2020 at 11:00:56
Trevor. I'd watch Everton if we played with 10 at the back.
If they all performed like the back four did on Saturday we'd be bound to score on the break.
But whatever combination we use, this season has taught me not to try to second guess anything.
Tom Harvey
61 Posted 14/12/2020 at 11:40:46
They looked quite composed throughout, that is until the last 20mins when when Chelski had us pinned back.

One thing that was missing from Chelski's game was the manic press when we have the ball, we seem to experience from other teams, this helped us. Chelski seemed more content using their flair to open us up.

All in all good result.

No reason why we shouldn't fancy getting a result at Leicester, they rely on catching teams on the break. If we play the same formation again, we might just contain them and get a result.

Santosh Benjamin
62 Posted 14/12/2020 at 13:19:04
Ajay,
I am very much still around. Was away in Sydney for 3 years for work and got back to India this March. Followed every game even when I was in Sydney, despite the crazy time difference. I have been watching the games on Disney/Hotstar. Have been really busy at work and was sleep deprived so I took the difficult decision to not wake up at 1:30 AM to watch the game. Just like you, I figured that I could just get up at 5 AM and watch the replay without looking at my phone or any other website(to avoid inadvertently seeing the score!).
To my dismay, the replay of the game was not being shown. I did some tidying up and came back a little while later and was shocked to see that there were only highlights to the game...with the score 1-0 clearly visible. My disappointment quickly turned to elation at the hard fought victory. I spent the rest of the day, walking on sunshine and scoring imaginary goals with my left foot. (I am not left footed but have always thought it looks very attractive to score with my left foot...not sure why!)
I hope that it not another false dawn and this time we can build on it and defy the odds during this difficult round of fixtures near Christmas and New Year! We traditionally seem to play really badly over this period and so I am not holding my breath!
I live halfway between you and Santa...place called Vellore. Lovely to hear that we have another Evertonian in India...COYB
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

63 Posted 14/12/2020 at 13:23:42
Mike @ 47.

'[Keane] has become an outstanding passer out of the back. Not just competent, but really good, picking targets quickly and delivering the ball in a way we've never seen from him before.'

Only just become? Never seen from him before?

Sorry Mike. I don't agree with that assessment. For more than two years I for one have defended Michael Keane as our most consistently best centre back in carrying the ball out of defence and delivering not just 'safe' passing, but incisive cutting edge passes which completely turns the momentum of a play in our favour.

I've also consistently said that in his first season he rapidly went from a steady 7-8 out of 10 player every game to a 3-4 out of 10 player every game and a liability. It wasn't until well into his second season we discovered the considerable mitigating circumstances - an extremely serious foot injury that he kept quiet about and played through the pain.

Initially, he wasn't a first choice under Carlo until last season's re-start when injuries to both Mina and Holgate opened up a space. Since then, he has been an ever-present and won a contract extension.

I think I'm right in saying he is the only Everton player this season who has played every minute of every game. He is right back to being a consistent 7-8 out of 10 player and I personally feel a lot of nonsense is spouted about him being 'part of the problem' that 'inhibits' us from playing a more expansive game.

Geoff Williams
64 Posted 14/12/2020 at 13:54:26
Personally I think Keane is the most underrated player at Everton. He has been the most consistent player over the past 18 months os so. I fully support Jay's sentiments
Tony Abrahams
65 Posted 14/12/2020 at 14:02:14
I've praised Keane for Saturday, but also think he's been part of the problem in why Everton have been to easy to play against imo.

Maybe it's Ancellotti's fault why the opposition have had to much room? But hopefully Saturday's win might just change the way we set up for a while

Darren Hind
66 Posted 14/12/2020 at 14:34:33
Agreed Tony.

Although I was getting told this morning (from a reliable source) that Davide has seen enough and has been working like fuck with all the defenders, taking it right back to basics, even body shaping, positioning.

The conversation stemmed from me saying I thought there was a marked improvement in the way Big Yerry and Keane guarded their near posts. Not many of the Chelsea crosses got beyond our front post.

Leicester and Vardy will pose different problems, but Its something I'll be looking out for at the KP

Dave Abrahams
67 Posted 14/12/2020 at 14:53:23
Well we all see players differently, I would absolutely love to be able to see the Michael Keane that Jay (63) see especially those “ incisive cutting edge passes that completely turns the momentum of play in our favour”.

I see a player constantly floundering in every game, never anticipates where the danger might be, two seconds behind the play, unaware of where he is, witness where he is and the look on his face when Zouma gets the chance on Saturday close to the six yard box marking no one. He could have used one of those incisive passes to send Iwobi in with a good chance, he just walloped it downfield nowhere near the lad.

Sorry Jay, you think he is a very good centre back, I think he is average and that's being generous, got to say though that he is better playing deep, doesn't get found out as much.

Holgate and Godfrey, now they are players who know how to play football and have the aggression to go with it, another thing Michael lacks.

John Hammond
68 Posted 14/12/2020 at 14:54:44
Derek #57: I can't see it happening against Leicester or the rest of the Christmas fixtures. I think the Chelsea game will be our set up for the foreseable due to the amount of games we'll be playing with such little rest in between. Sit back, counter and try conserve energy.
Tony Abrahams
69 Posted 14/12/2020 at 14:56:21
Interesting Darren, another contradiction I know, but whenever anyone ever used to go on to me about ball watching, I always used to reply that it's the most important thing on the pitch!

Of course your opponent is dangerous, but if you can read where the ball is going to go, then you usually get there first, and after despairing for a long time now watching Keane and Mina, never really playing on the front foot, watching those near post interceptions, gave me a lot of satisfaction the other night.

Vardy is a different proposition though, he might get ahead of our defenders, whose positioning was that good the other night, that the crosses that were not intercepted, invariably went to close to our goal, enabling Pickford, to grab the ball.

So more of the same on Wednesday please, because the difference when you defend as a unit is there for all to see, hopefully!

Ajay Gopal
70 Posted 14/12/2020 at 14:59:29
Good to hear from you, Santosh, welcome back. We should do an EFC India supporters club meet sometime :-)
Geoff Williams
71 Posted 14/12/2020 at 15:49:03
The reason Everton looked so solid at the back was simply because the fullbacks played as defenders and were not marauding up and down the wings. Obviously this cut down on the attaching options but it did allow the midfield to operate far more effectively and the centre backs play a system more suited to their abilities.
Danny O’Neill
73 Posted 14/12/2020 at 17:45:29
Agree Geoff, although maybe that's because the penny finally dropped that they are not Coleman and Digne, so don't try employ them as such. We just have to accept that for a while now, we don't have that type of outlet available.

On Keane, I thought he was overrated when we bought him for the premium you usually pay for overrated English players and still do now. Credit for his recent games and in particular on Saturday, but those fundamental flaws in his game remain. He waits, watches as the ball floats over his head and then reacts. Players like him can compensate for the lack of pace by being proactive, reading the game and being ahead in the thought process. When he does it, he looks good. He just doesn't do it often enough, which brings me to consistency. Good players perform to high levels on a consistent basis not one or two offs.

Anyway, I don't want to be negative about Keane or Saturday. Really good performance and really good result. Leicester will pose a very different challenge and Arsenal will be interesting. Do we further darken the clouds hanging over the Emirates or do a typically Everton thing in helping a team out of their crisis?!

Santa Krsh
74 Posted 14/12/2020 at 18:36:25
Hey Ajay and Santosh, I m also Santosh by the way... yeah, sure, we must meet up somehow. There is another guy in this forum. Kunal Desai, he should also be somewhere in between Chennai, Vellore and Bangalore.
Bob Parrington
75 Posted 14/12/2020 at 21:47:16
Had a "Sorry we missed you" notice left at our door by a Courier. In big bold capitals was written "EVERTON IS SHIT".

Ha Ha! I used to coach this guy who works for them. Great player in his time. I sent him a message "Does this mean Chelsea is shittier??"
Good to have the recognition of a great win and with a good sense of humour!

Don Alexander
76 Posted 14/12/2020 at 22:34:10
Very interesting Dazza (#66), not least because it's seemingly taken 30-year-old Davide Ancelotti to address the gulfs in coaching basics now evident to him among the Blue-Bill infested coaching staff at Finch Farm.

Long may the new way continue.

Mike Gaynes
77 Posted 14/12/2020 at 23:25:25
Dave #67, Godfrey and Holgate are very good young players who will both one day be great, much better than Keane. But at the moment they can't remotely pass the ball as well as Keane. They don't have the vision or the touch with both feet (neither of the young guys can pass with the left), and they don't trigger counterattacks as Keane does. I'm surprised you don't see it.

Jay #63, at Burnley and in his first two injury-marred seasons with us, I saw a Keane who could play exceptionally accurate long balls, but seldom between defenders. I maintain he has raised his passing level dramatically just since Carlo took over. He's looking for cutting passes he never looked for before, and he's making them. Consistently.

Tony #69, "ball watching" is sort of a misnomer -- it's actually more a problem of "ball gazing", when a player never turns his head away from the ball to keep an eye on the opponent running off his back shoulder. One of the worst I ever saw for Everton was Coleman in his first two seasons with us -- so fixated was he on the ball that Kate Abdo could have been running naked five yards behind him, blond hair blowing in the wind, and Seamus would never have known until he saw the highlights later. Moyes taught him how to put his head on a swivel, be aware of everything around him, and he improved rapidly... but those early games were awful. Zouma is another who has gotten way better in this area.

Brent Stephens
78 Posted 14/12/2020 at 23:31:57
Mike “I maintain he has raised his passing level dramatically just since Carlo took over.”

Absolutely! I've also commented on that. I've been amazed at his passing this year. And the speed with which he comes out of defence to close down an advancing midfielder.

Ed Prytherch
79 Posted 14/12/2020 at 23:46:45
Happy Birthday to my nephew Kevin Prytherch, 40 today.
Welcome to the Old Evertonians.
Mike Gaynes
80 Posted 15/12/2020 at 01:21:43
If 40 is an Old Evertonian, I'm somewhere between Doddering and Decrepit.
John Pierce
81 Posted 15/12/2020 at 01:30:27
So Leicester on Wednesday and do people believe the same again? I believe Carlo might think that. Had Lampard taken off Giroud and moved Havertz inside, he'd have ruined Mina and Keane. Lampard's tactics were pretty lame really, just cross after cross, absolutely no invention.

Leicester are far more than a counter-attacking side. Perez, Madison, & Barnes all play in half spaces and will gut Keane & Mina regardless of how deep we play. They have lost three at home, Aston Villa, Fulham & West Ham, they can be got at.

We need something far more positive than to sit deep and counter, it's as fragile as any game plan gets. Go a goal down and it's hardly going to be the charge of the light brigade.

As for Keane's improvement, tells you how bad he was when we got him. His issue is not the big diagonal it's the clumsiness he handles the ball across the back, it along with others in the defense slow the ball pace to a crawl.

I pray Carlo changes it up.

Bob Parrington
82 Posted 15/12/2020 at 02:36:19
I'm with you Mike! Honorary life members Ha Ha!
Jim Harrison
84 Posted 15/12/2020 at 03:37:07
With Coleman looking to be back in contention soon, and Digne out for some time to come, would Danny Rose be an option as a short-term back-up on the left? He's out of contract in the summer so wouldn't command a big fee. If his pace hasn't gone he would add some speed to the team.

Not suggesting as a long-term option, but like Sibidé last season (who I also think would have been a better option than Kenny as a back up) could come in and offer some experienced cover for this season and the next.

Jamie Crowley
85 Posted 15/12/2020 at 05:21:53
Kevin Prytherch -

Don't listen to your Ol' Uncle Ed. 50 is when the wheels start falling off. You'll be just fine in your 40s.

Robert Tressell nails another one again at comment 28. Robert hits the nail on the head a lot. If James plays, Gomes or Siggy can't. We're just too slow in midfield to cover for James.

That being said, I want James in there for every game. The guy is magic and the best footballer we have by a country mile.

Over to Carlo. I think I'm going to bug out of work on Wednesday to watch the Leicester game. Gigantic game. If we get three points out of that one, it's back on. We're 5 points back of first for crying out loud. The League is nuts this year, it's anyone's for the taking.

Lastly, an aside. Has anyone seen a season like this? It really is just wide open and so exciting. I think this is the best year for the League since I started watching in 2007. It's incredibly competitive and the football, on the whole League-wide, has been pretty good I'd argue. This season has been a blast.

Steve Shave
86 Posted 15/12/2020 at 08:54:47
Jamie and Robert, agree that Sigi can't play if James does but I still hold some hope Gomes can. We looked decent early season with Gomes a little further forward.
Jim Harrison
87 Posted 15/12/2020 at 09:42:39
Steve 86

When Gomes is on form he is one of the smarter players on the ball and Can absolutely play with James, but the need legs in the team to do the extra running. That said when they are both on form they move the ball so well that the create space and time

Brent Stephens
88 Posted 15/12/2020 at 09:44:59
Happy birthday, Kevin. The wheels never fell off for me - they just got square.
Bobby Mallon
89 Posted 15/12/2020 at 09:52:54
I think Carlo has just found our next right back inadvertently. I think Holgate can become as good if not better than Coleman. I think Godfrey is a great addition to our central defence and is deign perfect cover. I hope Nkounkou is deigns perfect cover, that will give us balance all through our defence.
Dave Abrahams
90 Posted 15/12/2020 at 09:55:20
Mike and Brent, yes I do see Keane's good passes, re WHU and the Spurs game, first of the season, excellent, they were well noticed because he very seldom makes them, si it is always a surprise.

Brent “ the speed at which he comes out of defence to close down an attacking midfielder” sorry I've missed that, are you sure it's Michael.

He did say during the lockdown he had gone back to his old fitness coach and doubled up on practicing his old running methods, running sideways and backwards and he thought he had improved greatly because of this, to me it hadn't made a blind bit of difference, he was still the same shuffling player he has always been. Maybe my eyes are not what they were, but I did notice those few good passes he made earlier in the season, I'll watch out for more if he makes plenty of them.

Fran Mitchell
91 Posted 15/12/2020 at 09:59:49
Bobby, Holgate is not a right back. He can do a job there, he's got pace and athleticism. But he's never gonna have a cross or attacking instinct required for that position. Look at James at Chelsea, Arnold at Liverpool, Castagne at Leicester. That is what we eventually need at right back.

Holgate will become a wonderful centre back.

Brent Stephens
92 Posted 15/12/2020 at 10:27:27
Dave #90 - when I refer to the speed with which Keane comes out of defence to close somebody down, I mean his speed of decision-making has changed rather than pace.
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

93 Posted 15/12/2020 at 12:05:34
Dave Abrahams, you and I have had this to and fro about Keane before. How supporters always see things differently, eh?

I think it would be great fun if you and I could sit at Goodison Park together, watching a game with the single remit of evaluating Michael Keane. I think it would be akin to Statler and Waldorf from the Muppets. You 'booing' everything he did and me 'yahing' everything.

We could sit your Tony between us as referee as Kermit the Frog, or maybe Fozzie the Bear suits him better!

On that note, are you entering any of the ballots to attend a game Dave, or still being cautious on that front? It must be a huge itch you can't scratch, like so many match-attending Blues.

Back to Keane. Contrary to what Mike Gaynes continues to claim, Keane has been playing incisive ground passes for some time, not only since Carlo joined us. Not only lumped high balls. I've previously discussed this with you Dave. No centre back in Michael's time with us has come close to his consistency, crispness and accuracy in this aspect of the game. It's always been there. He is getting better at it.

Do some go astray or not come off? Absolutely! There isn't a player in the entire history of the game who has a 100% passing completion rate.

We all have players we can see no ill in...or, who we can see no good in. Of the latter, yours currently is Michael Keane. Closely followed by Richarlison, I fancy!

I had to smile after the Derby game when young Godfrey came on to replace Seamus (at full back) and post-match you were singing his praises and expressing the hope that he would soon replace Keane at centre back.

Now for me, Godfrey had some good moments in that game, but he also had some dodgy ones. I wasn't so enamoured of him as many were on that single appearance. He then got totally rinsed at Southampton next game.

Keane, by contrast, had a solid all-round game v 'them'. He got a thumping header to equalise and was crucial in the second equaliser by DCL. James is rightly praised for his pre-assist for the pass he made to Digne to get the cross in for Dom's header, but James is only able to do that thanks to Michael Keane's equally excellent pre-pre-assist (if you like) to the wee Colombian, as this clip of the goal shows:

DCL Goal v Liverpool

As I posted earlier, since the re-start following the lockdown last season, Michael Keane has usurped the likes of Mina and Holgate to be THE starter at centre back. Right now, his is one of the first names in Carlo's starting XI, as confirmed by the fact he is the only player to play every minute of every game this season.

If any of his challengers for the position can displace him, the team will benefit because it will be an indication that they are playing very, VERY well to do so.

Tony Abrahams
94 Posted 15/12/2020 at 12:14:50
I'd say the team will definitely benefit Jay, so it's no use putting me, in between you and Dave!
Tony Abrahams
95 Posted 15/12/2020 at 12:29:12
John P@81, I'd say the only time Chelsea looked dangerous the other night, was during the second half, when they knocked a few little forward balls, into their inside right position, and thinking about Leicester, I'd say it was into the exact type of area, in which Maddison does his best work.

He won't go wide often? he'll look to turn and go himself or slip Vardy in, so it will definitely be interesting to see how our new formation deals with Leicester tomorrow night.

I'd only make one change John, I'd swap Sigurdson for Bernard, who might use the ball better on the counter, although I'm certain not many people will agree with this!

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

96 Posted 15/12/2020 at 12:56:44
Tony... BOOOO!

You swerved the REALLY important question:

Kermit or Fozzie?!

Dave Lynch
97 Posted 15/12/2020 at 13:01:06
Tony @95.
I like Bernard and agree with what you are saying, he may give the ball up easily now and again but he is a bloody nuisance.
I, being a former defender in my hay day used to hate players like him, they are always on the move and buzzing around the pitch.
You cannot take your eyes off them for a minute.
Dave Abrahams
98 Posted 15/12/2020 at 13:44:04
Jay (93), Ah yes Jay, I would truly like the pleasure of watching the Blues at Goodison Park, I know we would both enjoy the occasion, you with your deep blue glasses on, me with my slightly less blue ones on.

You'd be surprised how many times I'd applaud Michael Keane for some of the things he does, squirm at how often I have a go at him for the many things he gets wrong, to my eyes, nevertheless I don't have a down on him, I don't sit there and wait for him to make a mistake so I can be right about him, Michael just makes them, they come naturally to him,but I'll make a conscious effort to try and like him, most probably bite my fuckin' tongue off making the effort.

Nice to hear from you Jay, hope everything is starting to get better in Brazil, even slightly, especially for your wife and all her colleagues at the hospital. Very best wishes.

Darren Hind
99 Posted 15/12/2020 at 13:54:39
"Carlo has improved Keane's passing "?. I've heard it all now

If Carlo had the ability to improve the passing ability of a player, he would have weaved his magic on the other 20 odd squad members who fail to find a blue shirt with alarming regularity.

Michael Keane is like every other player. He will only improve what natural passing ability he has, through hard work, practice and self belief. He was always a decent passer of a long ball even back to his Burnley days. Its only when it comes to the short stuff or playing under pressure when his game unravels.

He's just about the optimum age for a center half. If he wasn`t showing improvement and maturity now, He probably never would. His positioning has improved no end and he doesnt get caught with a long ball over his head nearly as often. His heading ability has improved too. He attacks the ball with a little more conviction. These improvements will be down to maturity and self belief.
I think Ancelotti can also take take credit for the improvement because he has quickly recognised the flaws in his game and allows him to defend as deep as he wants. He lets him play in his comfort zone.
By Allowing him to sit so Deep. Carlo is playing to all his strengths. The manager is stuck between a rock and a hard place. He knows Keane is slower than a week in a jail and he also knows he turns like the Egremont. He wont dare ask him to push up five yards,

The problem is; we can never be a team we want to be. One which dictates games. Not when we rely on central defenders who wont/cant come out to play.

BTW; Only two things usurped Mason Holgate. Injury and a Manager foolishly trying to rush him back before he had recovered.

Dave Abrahams
100 Posted 15/12/2020 at 13:56:11
Jay (93), sorry I forgot to say I'm not entering the ballots to see the games, kills me not to go and I'm envious of all those who do go but don't begrudge them one second of watching our team, they certainly helped with their great support v Chelsea.

I doubt if I'll go until it is safe to do so, for the sake of my wife, she is in the vulnerable lot of people with COPD so it would be vastly unfair to put her the position of catching this virus through my selfishness, but I will be back as a famous American General once said, or was it “ I shall return”.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

101 Posted 15/12/2020 at 13:59:49
Dave, and STILL the question remains unanswered.

Tony: Kermit, or Fozzie?

We're good here Dave thanks, but Brazil is a long, looong way from being out of the woods (or what remains of the slashed and burnt Amazon).

Our city and state has had a nice couple of months in the 'stable' tier. Just last night we returned to the highest risk 'red zone'. In the last week or so the wife and I have added more personally known friends and people to the list of those critically ill, or who didn't make it.

Best not to get me started on the eejit in charge as to why this is the case.

No respite for the missus. She'll be on duty Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Let's hope for more of the same for the Blues at Leicester tomorrow.

Thomas Richards
102 Posted 15/12/2020 at 14:17:13
Godfrey will end up a far better centre half than Keane. I would select him to play central in a back four starting from tomorrow.
Michael Keane is indeed a good passer of the ball, his problem is he can not defend to a good standard consistently.
Not for me in the long term
Tony Abrahams
104 Posted 15/12/2020 at 14:25:54
Neither Jay, I used to hate the muppet show when I was a little kid, except when it went to “the groaners” on the balcony, mate!

Anyway if you make it home one day, I will use Dave's ticket, and let you two sit together in another part of the ground, arguing away from me!

I just like to watch the game, my mate told me to watch Pickford for five minutes, because he's convinced he's got ADHD, but I've never got round to it, because I honestly find it hard taking my eyes off the ball.

Rob Halligan
105 Posted 15/12/2020 at 14:34:08
I've been picked out in the ballot for the man city game. Just hope our tier rating is not downgraded to tier 3.
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

106 Posted 15/12/2020 at 14:37:19
Delighted for you Rob. Well deserved.
Tony Abrahams
107 Posted 15/12/2020 at 14:39:35
I thought everyone could mingle over Christmas, Rob, so you should be okay mate, I bet you can't wait to get back inside the stadium, finally?
Brian Williams
108 Posted 15/12/2020 at 14:40:50
That's not strictly the case Tony. It's limited "mingling."
Rob Halligan
109 Posted 15/12/2020 at 14:43:02
Really looking forward to it Tony. Not the usual match day routine obviously, but will be great to be back in the stadium, even if it might be only for one game.
Joe McMahon
110 Posted 15/12/2020 at 14:47:47
Holgate, Godfrey and Digne, for me are the ones to keep and develop. Keane does a job and Mina is not reliable enough.

Jay, it has to be Kermit doing the news flash in his raincoat. Ernie and Burt just legends.

Dave Abrahams
111 Posted 15/12/2020 at 14:57:10
Rob (105), well deserved, I'll bet there haven't been many Everton games you've missed, by choice, over the many years you've followed the Blues. Enjoy the day, hope it's a winning one!!
Robert Tressell
112 Posted 15/12/2020 at 15:02:17
Godfrey, Holgate and Branthwaite are potentially part of the next 10 years. Keane is still a really good centre half, albeit with weaknesses. He'll help the younger lot. Mina I'm not so fussed about. He's useful. But I think his key value for the time being might involve cheering up James Rodriguez with nostalgia chats about Colombia.
Rob Halligan
113 Posted 15/12/2020 at 15:45:53
Dave # 111, to be fair, there haven't been many over the last twenty five years or so, when I got my season ticket in season 1994 /95 after finishing playing Saturday football for about fifteen years.

Cheers Jay # 106. It would be good to meet up with you if you are ever over in this neck of the woods soon. Always enjoy reading your posts, even if some of them do seem to go on forever!!

Tony Abrahams
114 Posted 15/12/2020 at 16:07:43
That's incredible support that Rob, and there are possibly a few hundred like minded Evertonians, who “never-ever” miss their team play, and this is the reason why I think Everton is such a special club👏👏won fuck-all in 25 years, and still sell out everywhere, that's Everton, and Evertonians for yer!
John Raftery
115 Posted 15/12/2020 at 17:20:38
Rob (113) I also have a ticket for the City match. My daughter plus two of my mates have also been lucky. Let's hope our team can make the game memorable.
Rob Halligan
116 Posted 15/12/2020 at 18:51:56
Nice one John. Steve also has one, but I've not heard about Dave or Jon yet.
Brent Stephens
117 Posted 15/12/2020 at 19:08:59
Rob #105. Great news, pal. Lap up the emotion on the night. It might be a long time before we're back in again. Free water bottles provided inside on the night (no expense spared!).

I was booked in for entry at 6:15 for 8:00 kick-off for Chelsea but turned up at 7:00 and there was no queue (caveat emptier!).

Rob Halligan
118 Posted 15/12/2020 at 19:15:32
Brent, was nothing said to you because you didn't arrive at your designated time? Did seem a bit early, 6:15.
Brent Stephens
119 Posted 15/12/2020 at 19:19:36
No Rob, nowt said. It was a risk we took. What can they say? Go to the back of the queue if there is a queue. But I can't see they can deny you entry once you have a ticket (tell them your dog ate your email containing instructions).
Rob Halligan
120 Posted 15/12/2020 at 19:26:24
So you weren't given a hundred lines for being late! 😁😁😁
Brent Stephens
121 Posted 15/12/2020 at 19:30:40
I did the lines but the dog was too quick for me - again.
Joe McMahon
122 Posted 15/12/2020 at 22:24:31
Danny, it would sound better if you could also type Everton beat Liverpool (twice).
Danny O’Neill
123 Posted 15/12/2020 at 22:33:48
All I can offer is Everton draw with Liverpool (but got out of jail / gaol) and Everton beat Liverpool (finally) in there return fixture.

5 points off top in a very turbulent season. Quarter finals of the League Cup and a favourable draw in the FA Cup.

This can be an interesting season indeed.

Peter Mills
124 Posted 15/12/2020 at 22:39:22
Rob, John, made up for you that you've been successful in the ballot.

Briefly, as I don't want to upset Michael K who has been very tolerant, Marine slipped up tonight, after 11 successive victories, 0-1 to Southport in the FA Trophy. Big shout for a late penalty denied, then an even later equaliser disallowed for offside. Where is VAR when you need it?

We'll just have to concentrate on the Cup now.

Peter Mills
125 Posted 15/12/2020 at 22:44:37
I forget to mention, one of the lads who was at the match on Saturday night was right behind Carlo, who apparently gave Richarlison the bollocking of a lifetime over his antics wanting to take the (disallowed) penalty.

Glad to hear it.

Danny O’Neill
126 Posted 15/12/2020 at 22:50:29
Peter, for all his outward calmness, Carlo is Italian. They are inherently emotional and don't hold back on expressing their emotions.

He is also a winner; as a player and as a manager.

Whether or not we on here believe he is still up to that or not, those emotions and instincts will still reside and I imagine he will let it be know to those who he doesn't feel step up to the standard. Especially those who get a child like strop over not wanting to take the ball to their nan's because they can't take the penalty.

Brent Stephens
127 Posted 15/12/2020 at 23:02:24
Peter #125 "Carlo, who apparently gave Richarlison the bollocking of a lifetime over his antics wanting to take the (disallowed) penalty."

That's good to hear, Peter. Shows us his apparently-placid touchline demeanour is maybe misleading.

Danny O’Neill
128 Posted 15/12/2020 at 23:02:40
Previous post seems to have been removed. Apologies if I offended anyone. I don't ever mean to offend.
Peter Mills
129 Posted 15/12/2020 at 23:03:19
Danny, I've been fortunate enough to spend quite a bit of time in Italy. Wonderful people, great sense of humour, but you know when they're not happy!
Danny O’Neill
130 Posted 15/12/2020 at 23:08:04
I was fortunate enough to live there (stationed) for 2 years. Very colourful people Peter. When you think they are arguing, they are actually just saying hello. When they are emotional, they are like Evertonians on steroids!
John Raftery
131 Posted 15/12/2020 at 23:11:23
Peter (125) Thanks for the update on Marine's fortunes tonight. You may have heard an interesting interview on Radio Merseyside this evening with John Lacy who as far as is known is the only player to have played for both Marine and Spurs.

As a schoolboy John played in the same Lancashire team as Mick Lyons. When Mick was starting out on his professional career as a seventeen year old with Everton, John was playing for Marine. He moved to London to study Economics but eventually found his way into professional football, first with Fulham and from 1978 with Spurs.

Peter Mills
132 Posted 15/12/2020 at 23:26:50
John#131, I didn't catch the interview with John Lacy unfortunately. He was a very decent player, who played in the 1975 FA Cup final for Fulham.
Mike Gaynes
133 Posted 16/12/2020 at 00:22:39
Rob and John, congrats, enjoy. I'll keep my fingers crossed for that status to remain the same. Did I read that we are now one of only four clubs that can host live fans?

Pete, wow, I didn't realize it was 11 straight for Marine. That's an impressive run at any level, let alone Cup matches against higher competition.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

134 Posted 16/12/2020 at 02:15:39
Peter @ 125. Interesting tale about Carlo (deservedly) bollocking Richarlison on trying to take the ball off Siggy for the penalty.

I loath that kinda shite and of course we have that dreadful example of the Mirallas-Baines thing and the Belgian's missed penalty at home to WBA a few years back.

It's the last thing a team mate needs as he psyches himself up for the penalty.

The notion that Carlo is an emotionless dummy on the sideline is a foolish one also. A story did the rounds that after the FA Cup defeat to that lots' kids, Duncan was having a go at senior pros which Delph in particular took exception to.

Carlo heard about it and (allegedly) in front of the entire squad gave Delph a fiery dressing down (and here's the clincher) - entirely in Italian!

Dunno if many have seen this report shortly after the last international break when Richy deceived the manager over the seriousness of the ankle injury which should have prevented him joining up with the Brazilian national team.

How Richarlison Conned Carlo

On the one hand you can admire his determination to play. On the other, I think it was more than a bit naughty of him.

I doubt Carlo will be giving him the benefit of the doubt in the future having surely heard this tale himself by now.

Darren Hind
135 Posted 16/12/2020 at 05:36:56
There's a notion that Carlo is an "emotionless dummy" ?

Wow. The charge sheet grows by the day.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

136 Posted 16/12/2020 at 10:31:56
Talking of dummies, still given to spitting yours out, I see, Darren.

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