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.
Reader Comments (132)
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1 Posted 13/12/2020 at 01:19:27
Valuable scalp and priceless 3 points.
2 Posted 13/12/2020 at 01:24:10
3 Posted 13/12/2020 at 01:28:29
4 Posted 13/12/2020 at 02:35:12
5 Posted 13/12/2020 at 02:51:50
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.
6 Posted 13/12/2020 at 03:09:00
7 Posted 13/12/2020 at 04:16:52
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.
8 Posted 13/12/2020 at 04:35:35
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
9 Posted 13/12/2020 at 06:56:08
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.
10 Posted 13/12/2020 at 08:08:42
11 Posted 13/12/2020 at 08:37:52
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.
12 Posted 13/12/2020 at 08:54:10
Now for consistency, and what a good opportunity to make a difference by getting a good result at Leicester.
13 Posted 13/12/2020 at 08:56:05
14 Posted 13/12/2020 at 09:07:12
Let's hope we can go on and beat Leicester City on Wednesday.
15 Posted 13/12/2020 at 09:14:15
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!!
16 Posted 13/12/2020 at 09:30:54
17 Posted 13/12/2020 at 09:38:20
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!
18 Posted 13/12/2020 at 09:56:28
19 Posted 13/12/2020 at 09:58:21
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.
20 Posted 13/12/2020 at 10:24:52
21 Posted 13/12/2020 at 10:27:15
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.
22 Posted 13/12/2020 at 10:48:02
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 “rapidâ€) 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.
23 Posted 13/12/2020 at 11:27:25
24 Posted 13/12/2020 at 12:28:35
25 Posted 13/12/2020 at 13:34:38
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.
26 Posted 13/12/2020 at 13:57:02
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.
27 Posted 13/12/2020 at 14:03:28
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.
28 Posted 13/12/2020 at 14:09:58
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.
29 Posted 13/12/2020 at 14:49:48
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.
30 Posted 13/12/2020 at 14:58:31
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.
31 Posted 13/12/2020 at 15:06:57
I didn't see BBC but BT Sport definitely noticed the push by Mount and mentioned it a few times.
32 Posted 13/12/2020 at 16:50:59
Actually a sneaky push (deliberate foul) and as mentioned above, could easily have resulted in potentially serious injury to either or both players.
33 Posted 13/12/2020 at 17:12:18
34 Posted 13/12/2020 at 17:19:46
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.
35 Posted 13/12/2020 at 17:24:33
Iwobi is threatening to prove an awful lot of us wrong.
I think that's something we can live with.
36 Posted 13/12/2020 at 17:33:49
38 Posted 13/12/2020 at 17:41:02
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.
39 Posted 13/12/2020 at 18:29:07
40 Posted 13/12/2020 at 18:40:07
41 Posted 13/12/2020 at 20:30:20
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.
42 Posted 13/12/2020 at 20:35:37
If however he gets picked again in future, I hope he has a blinder.
43 Posted 13/12/2020 at 21:02:30
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
44 Posted 13/12/2020 at 21:06:31
45 Posted 13/12/2020 at 21:09:52
46 Posted 13/12/2020 at 21:11:08
47 Posted 13/12/2020 at 21:13:46
48 Posted 13/12/2020 at 21:14:25
49 Posted 13/12/2020 at 21:17:34
50 Posted 13/12/2020 at 21:20:40
51 Posted 13/12/2020 at 21:25:29
52 Posted 13/12/2020 at 21:28:03
Still glad we have Carlo.
53 Posted 13/12/2020 at 22:45:57
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).
54 Posted 14/12/2020 at 03:03:36
55 Posted 14/12/2020 at 03:23:11
“ Big game on the weekend “says Tim.
“They're all big from now on.â€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.
56 Posted 14/12/2020 at 08:02:02
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.
57 Posted 14/12/2020 at 08:48:47
58 Posted 14/12/2020 at 08:53:19
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.
59 Posted 14/12/2020 at 08:59:02
60 Posted 14/12/2020 at 11:00:56
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.
61 Posted 14/12/2020 at 11:40:46
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.
62 Posted 14/12/2020 at 13:19:04
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
63 Posted 14/12/2020 at 13:23:42
'[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.
64 Posted 14/12/2020 at 13:54:26
65 Posted 14/12/2020 at 14:02:14
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
66 Posted 14/12/2020 at 14:34:33
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
67 Posted 14/12/2020 at 14:53:23
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.
68 Posted 14/12/2020 at 14:54:44
69 Posted 14/12/2020 at 14:56:21
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!
70 Posted 14/12/2020 at 14:59:29
71 Posted 14/12/2020 at 15:49:03
73 Posted 14/12/2020 at 17:45:29
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?!
74 Posted 14/12/2020 at 18:36:25
75 Posted 14/12/2020 at 21:47:16
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!
76 Posted 14/12/2020 at 22:34:10
Long may the new way continue.
77 Posted 14/12/2020 at 23:25:25
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.
78 Posted 14/12/2020 at 23:31:57
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.
79 Posted 14/12/2020 at 23:46:45
Welcome to the Old Evertonians.
80 Posted 15/12/2020 at 01:21:43
81 Posted 15/12/2020 at 01:30:27
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.
82 Posted 15/12/2020 at 02:36:19
84 Posted 15/12/2020 at 03:37:07
Not suggesting as a long-term option, but like SibidÃ© 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.
85 Posted 15/12/2020 at 05:21:53
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.
86 Posted 15/12/2020 at 08:54:47
87 Posted 15/12/2020 at 09:42:39
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
88 Posted 15/12/2020 at 09:44:59
89 Posted 15/12/2020 at 09:52:54
90 Posted 15/12/2020 at 09:55:20
Brent “ the speed at which he comes out of defence to close down an attacking midfielderâ€ 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.
91 Posted 15/12/2020 at 09:59:49
Holgate will become a wonderful centre back.
92 Posted 15/12/2020 at 10:27:27
93 Posted 15/12/2020 at 12:05:34
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:
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.
94 Posted 15/12/2020 at 12:14:50
95 Posted 15/12/2020 at 12:29:12
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!
96 Posted 15/12/2020 at 12:56:44
You swerved the REALLY important question:
Kermit or Fozzie?!
97 Posted 15/12/2020 at 13:01:06
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.
98 Posted 15/12/2020 at 13:44:04
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.
99 Posted 15/12/2020 at 13:54:39
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.
100 Posted 15/12/2020 at 13:56:11
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 returnâ€.
101 Posted 15/12/2020 at 13:59:49
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.
102 Posted 15/12/2020 at 14:17:13
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
104 Posted 15/12/2020 at 14:25:54
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.
105 Posted 15/12/2020 at 14:34:08
106 Posted 15/12/2020 at 14:37:19
107 Posted 15/12/2020 at 14:39:35
108 Posted 15/12/2020 at 14:40:50
109 Posted 15/12/2020 at 14:43:02
110 Posted 15/12/2020 at 14:47:47
Jay, it has to be Kermit doing the news flash in his raincoat. Ernie and Burt just legends.
111 Posted 15/12/2020 at 14:57:10
112 Posted 15/12/2020 at 15:02:17
113 Posted 15/12/2020 at 15:45:53
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!!
114 Posted 15/12/2020 at 16:07:43
115 Posted 15/12/2020 at 17:20:38
116 Posted 15/12/2020 at 18:51:56
117 Posted 15/12/2020 at 19:08:59
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!).
118 Posted 15/12/2020 at 19:15:32
119 Posted 15/12/2020 at 19:19:36
120 Posted 15/12/2020 at 19:26:24
121 Posted 15/12/2020 at 19:30:40
122 Posted 15/12/2020 at 22:24:31
123 Posted 15/12/2020 at 22:33:48
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.
124 Posted 15/12/2020 at 22:39:22
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.
125 Posted 15/12/2020 at 22:44:37
Glad to hear it.
126 Posted 15/12/2020 at 22:50:29
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.
127 Posted 15/12/2020 at 23:02:24
That's good to hear, Peter. Shows us his apparently-placid touchline demeanour is maybe misleading.
128 Posted 15/12/2020 at 23:02:40
129 Posted 15/12/2020 at 23:03:19
130 Posted 15/12/2020 at 23:08:04
131 Posted 15/12/2020 at 23:11:23
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.
132 Posted 15/12/2020 at 23:26:50
133 Posted 16/12/2020 at 00:22:39
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.
134 Posted 16/12/2020 at 02:15:39
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.
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.
135 Posted 16/12/2020 at 05:36:56
Wow. The charge sheet grows by the day.
136 Posted 16/12/2020 at 10:31:56
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