Life on the road continues to suit erratic Everton

Everton held on through the second half to ensure they beat Leeds at Elland Road for only the second time in 40 years as goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Dominic Calvert-Lewin were enough to earn the points

Lyndon Lloyd 03/02/2021 89comments  |  Jump to last

At the halfway point of this mostly entertaining, sometimes nerve-wracking match, Evertonians could have been forgiven for scratching their heads and wondering where this team was four days ago when they embarrassed themselves against Newcastle for the second time this season.

Perhaps it was the nature of the opposition, Marcelo Bielsa’s expansive, fleet-footed and often irrepressible outfit, or an expression of the “bounce-back-ability” of Carlo Ancelotti’s men who have not, that dismal run of three defeats in October aside, lost consecutive Premier League matches since the wily Italian took over in December 2019, but this was “night and day” from the fare served up against the Barcodes at the weekend.

2-0 up and flying at half-time, they managed to shoot themselves in the foot somewhat less than three minutes into the second half but then gutted it out to the final whistle behind some impressive individual performances to move back into the top six. Even accounting for the two games in hand they have over some of the teams above them, Blues fans will be much more circumspect about talk of a renewed tilt at the top four with performances like Saturday’s still in mind, but they will have a good deal more pride in their team this evening following what was Everton’s fourth successive away win.

It was to Ancelotti’s credit that the Toffees were set up well for the kind of contest that unfolded, one for which James Rodriguez wasn’t even needed. After three games in less than seven days, the Colombian was given a break by being named on the bench this evening and though new signing Josh King was thrown on to provide some attacking legs in the last few minutes, James was afforded the night off.

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The line-up named in his absence proved well-suited to the kind of intense pressing and hard-running that was required against Leeds and it has to be said that the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson and André Gomes, so often lightning rods for criticism, shone in what was a very good team performance overall and gave their best displays for a long while.

Both were involved in the opening goal, the Portuguese starting the simple but beautiful move and the Icelander finishing it, but they also stood out for their industry, intelligent use of the ball and their accomplished play. That they were eclipsed to a degree by Abdoulaye Doucouré merely underscores how good the Frenchman was covering every blade of grass in the midfield and, had not been for Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s profligacy late on, he would have had an assist to go with an outstanding personal performance.

Doucouré was run very close for man of the match by Ben Godfrey who excelled on what was, remarkably, his first League outing in his favoured centre-half role since joining Everton last October. Selected ahead of Michael Keane, no doubt because Ancelotti saw his mobility and electric pace as important attributes against the likes of Rodrigo and Raphinha, the 23-year-old underlined what a superb piece of business Marcel Brands pulled off when he signed him from Norwich City.

Played at a frenetic pace on a newly relaid pitch that was reminiscent of an ice rink at times and where a critical mistake seemed only a moment away, the first half began with Leeds having the first the first chance of the game before a minute had elapsed. Godfrey blocked Raphinha's effort from the angle but it was Everton who scored first seven minutes later.

Jack Harrison’s slip as he attempted an ambitious ball to the flank was intercepted by Richarlison and Gomes arced an excellent ball down the left that was collected by Lucas Digne. Despite being shepherded towards the touchline by Raphinha, the Frenchman cut a dangerous cross into the centre of the area where Sigurdsson arrived to side-foot coolly past Illan Meslier.

It was the perfect start that promised to get better a couple of minutes later when the ball ricocheted back to Calvert-Lewin but his left-foot shot from 20 yards out was tame and easily saved.

Ever dangerous, Leeds began testing Robin Olsen at the other end when Mateusz Klich tried to curl one in and the Swede comfortably pushed the ball behind but it was from another corner in the 19th minute that the home side came as close as they would to scoring in the first half. Ezgjan Alioski rattled a volley off the post from a corner. Raphinha drifted his delivery to the top of the box which Ezgjan Alioski connected with sweetly and rattled a volley off bottom of the post.

Six minutes after that Pascal Struijk met Calvin Phillips’s free-kick and Olsen turned it over the crossbar with a one-handed save while at the other end, Calvert-Lewin raced away on the counter-attack with Richarlison bursting up-field alongside him but the Englishman ignored the Brazilian and went for glory, scuffing a terrible shot well wide to Ancelotti’s visible annoyance.

Calvert-Lewin got his first goal in seven Premier League games four minutes before half-time, though, after winning Everton's first corner of the match. Sigurdsson swung in the set-piece, Godfrey helped it on with his head and Calvert-Lewin was there at the back post to head into the empty side of the goal to make it 2-0.

The Blues' advantage was cut in half early in the second half, though, and it was a lapse that changed the complexion of the contest. Yerry Mina and Mason Holgate hesitated over who should claim an awkward ball into the box, the latter failed to clear and Patrick Bamford knocked it aside for Raphinha to stroke the ball into the far corner.

Long spells of anticipated Leeds pressure followed and after the match officials missed a handball by Ayling in the Leeds box, Bielsa's side thought they had made the breakthrough just past the hour mark but were kept out by a treble save from Olsen, whose assured presence made a very strong case for keeping the first-choice goalkeeper spot with him going forward.

Although the situation was of his own making when he played Doucouré into trouble with an ill-advised pass, he got down well to make a strong one-handed stop to deny Klich’s deflected shot, parried a follow-up from Harrison and then saved crucially from Raphinha with his feet before the ball was smuggled away. Leeds kept it when Gomes lost his footing trying to play his way up the touchline and when Raphinha crossed and Harrison half-volleyed goal-wards, Olsen beat his effort away as well.

Richarlison, playing with a good deal more confidence and effectiveness than he has shown in a while, had one trademark run and shot but his finish was a bit wild before Bamford had Everton hearts in mouths when he looped a header back across goal but the ball dropped onto the top of the crossbar rather than under the bar.

Now signalling that he wanted to close the game out, Ancelotti replaced the rather sullen Richarlison with Keane with 10 minutes to go but then introduced Josh King for Alex Iwobi and then Tom Davies for Sigurdsson with a minute to go.

Meanwhile, Leeds continued to pile on the pressure and Mina seemed determined to gift them a number of set-piece opportunities with clumsy and needless fouls in the closing stages just so that he could almost single-handedly mop them up by making more headed clearances in his own box as any Everton players has managed for three seasons.

The result was just two chances for Bielsa’s team in stoppage time, one Luke Ayling shot that was blocked behind by Keane and Bamford’s inviting ball across the Everton area for Tyler Roberts that the substitute lashed high over Olsen’s crossbar.

Just before that, Calvert-Lewin had had a great opportunity to kill the contest when Doucouré stepped forward to intercept a pass and powered forward as Everton broke three-on-two and then played the striker in but he made it easy for the on-rushing Meslier and shot weakly at his feet.

In the final reckoning, it wasn’t a costly miss and Everton held on to claim what is, even in the context of a strange season with no fans in stadia, a remarkable fourth successive win away from home and a result and performance and bode well for the next game which is also on the road, this time at Old Trafford.

Victory there against a team chasing their neighbours for the Premier League title really would change the dynamic of Everton’s season once more, just when it looked as though those five points dropped against Leicester and Newcastle had condemned them to a fight for sixth or seventh place.

That may still end up being their lot but with results continuing to be unpredictable, if Ancelotti can coax some consistency out of his team at Goodison Park and spring some surprises at United and Liverpool this month, the Blues could well be in the conversation for the Champions League slots come the end of the season, despite their current erraticism.

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Reader Comments (89)

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Bill Gienapp
1 Posted 04/02/2021 at 06:31:16
I'm telling you guys - it's all about Peacock here in the States.

Everton matches streamed on Peacock – 8 wins, 1 draw.

Everton matches aired on NBC – 3 wins, 6 losses, 2 draws (even more stark when you consider that two of those wins were against Palace and Brighton, plus the derby draw. So we've basically lost 6 of our last 8 on NBC).

If all of our remaining matches were shown on Peacock, we'd win the league.

Derek Knox
2 Posted 04/02/2021 at 07:06:00
Right, Bill, here it is, have you, or anyone that you know, got any influence with Peacock?

Please try to get ALL of our remaining games televised by them, we will be as proud as Peacocks. You will be forever remembered on TW, and possibly nominated for a Statue at Bramley-Moore Dock, if you can pull this off mate!

Ray Jacques
3 Posted 04/02/2021 at 08:02:56
Two things I would take and implement from last night's game:

1) Olsen must be first-choice keeper;
2) Coleman is no longer a starter, either Holgate or Godfrey (prefer the latter) should start ahead of him at right-back.

Bogdan Kotarlic
4 Posted 04/02/2021 at 08:32:02
A nice and deserved win. We played good and we have earned those 3 points. Olsen was our best player, I have nothing against Pickford but he sometimes makes mistakes that cost us. Calvert-Lewin scored again, a nice season for him.

Now I am even more sad because of our loss against Newcastle. With those 3 points, we would be in an even better position today. Leeds are a better team than Newcastle, and we won against them.

Next is Manchester United away, I would be satisfied with a draw there although we could even win if we play well, they are not unbeatable. We just shouldn`t be afraid of United.

Also, we play against Tottenham in the FA Cup soon. We are in better form but Spurs are so unpredictable, you never know how their matches will finish. Still, I hope for a win, that would be great.

Best wishes to all Everton fans from Serbia.

Martin Reppion
5 Posted 04/02/2021 at 08:55:44
And so it goes on.

The idea that Olsen is the answer to our perceived goalkeeping crisis. The triple save Olsen made was excellent. But came about because we were under pressure after his hospital pass of a clearance sold Doucouré down the river.

Olsen is a good stopper. So is Pickford. Do goalkeepers make errors? Of course they do (see the sainted Nick Pope last night). But posters to ToffeeWeb should get off Pickford's back and support him.

Martin Mason
6 Posted 04/02/2021 at 09:24:40
I believe that we'll be unbalanced and inconsistent while we have this right-back problem. I feel that Seamus isn't at the right level and yet our only options to replace him seem to be centre-backs. What did Jonjoe Kenny do wrong to go so badly out of contention?
Joe McMahon
7 Posted 04/02/2021 at 09:31:59
Martin, Jonjoe Kenny will be playing against Hamilton and Kilmarnock he will be fine up there, but unfortunately not good enough for a top 10 Premier League side in England.

Phil Lewis
8 Posted 04/02/2021 at 09:34:56
I'm not jumping on any Pickford bandwagon. I've been a vociferous critic from the first time he pulled a Jersey on for us. His erratic behaviour, poor positional play and numerous errors have left me in no doubt that we should never have signed him in the first place.

Olsen, for my money, is a far safer bet. His performances so far have been displays of calm competence and confidence. Frankly, when Pickford plays, I'm on edge every time the ball goes anywhere near him. That's hardly inspirational goalkeeping.

Carlo's 'turns a piece' tactics are a nonsense. He wouldn't do it with outfield players, so why should our goalkeeping situation be any different?

In the eighties. Kendall shuffled his goalkeeping options for some time, along with outfield rubbish that he bought then quickly sold, realising their limitations. There are many parallels with this squad, some players need to be dispensed with and a couple of quality replacements will see us challenging for honours.

At this stage, I'm not saying Olsen will prove to be another Southall. But I am saying that he needs a substantial run of games. He just might prove to be the answer.

Rob Halligan
9 Posted 04/02/2021 at 10:17:33
Phil, your opinion of Pickford has to be respected, but there are far better people than anyone on TW who consider him to be a reasonably good goalkeeper, ie, his club and international managers.

By the way, what did you make of the performances of Nick Pope for Burnley, or Martinez for Villa last night?

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
10 Posted 04/02/2021 at 10:19:43
Bad news is we don't have only away games left to play.

This season, we have already taken 22 points from 30 away from home (73%) and just 14 at home. If you compare that over the last 12 years we have taken
18; 20; 18; 15; 18; 24; 19; 30 (Martinez season 1); 21; 23; 20; 22.

Clearly we are set up better to soak up the pressure and score one or two. A sort of KITAP1? Perhaps we should play for a 0-0 at home. 10 points from that guaranteed, maybe 16 with the odd winner and then continue the away form.

Anyway this morning with Everton winning and other results Brightoning the day, it is all good.

Brian Harrison
11 Posted 04/02/2021 at 10:51:08
I had problems with my internet connection so I didn't see any of the game. I had to use Twitter for my updates and MotD for the highlights.

I don't really think you can base any opinion of the game just watching MotD. According to Twitter, we should have had a penalty, but they didn't show the incident on MotD so I can't comment.

My son reckons Godfrey was MotM but you couldn't tell that from the highlights, Danny Murphy thought Sigurdsson was our most influential player.

From the clips, I thought Olsen did well and surely he needs to get another game against Man Utd this weekend, as if he thinks he is only ever going to be back-up to Pickford irrespective how well he plays, then he may decide to not sign a permanent deal and look elsewhere.

There is no doubt that with Keane, Mina, Godfrey and Holgate, we have four really good defenders. And with Allan and Doucouré, we have two very good midfield players, and on their day Gomes and Sigurdsson and Davies can do a job.

James in the Number 10 role is so comfortable there and is having a good season, especially seeing he hadn't played much football before joining us, and you can see his fitness levels getting better as the weeks go by. I just wonder if we have enough firepower in the front 3 of Iwobi, Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin? On their day, they are very good but I am not convinced they can play consistently well for long periods.

Calvert-Lewin has become very effective in and around the 6-yard box, but his allround game needs working on. I just think in some games with the ability of James to play in clever passes to forwards, Dominic's movement isn't the best, and maybe a Vardy or Cavanni type would be an alternative.

Richarlison is an enigma; he can never be accused of not putting a shift in but his lack of goals must be worrying Ancelotti. Earlier in the season, him and Calvert-Lewin were at their best, running defences ragged but, of late, that doesn't seem to be happening.

Iwobi is the same player he was at Arsenal: a player who flattered to deceive... one good game in 5 or 6 is not going to get this team challenging for a top 4 spot.

Tim Gerrard
12 Posted 04/02/2021 at 11:50:33
I think it's clear we have five defenders who can provide us with a strong back four - Holgate, Godfrey, Mina, Keane and Digne, who also provides a great attacking threat down the left flank. Our first choice defence should come from them, baring injury. Sadly, this leaves no place for Coleman except as third choice right back.

Sigurdsson's improved form of late has been playing off a main striker, it always has been his best position, he should never again be picked to play in a deeper role in midfield.

I thought Gomes had his best game since his injury, I hope it's a sign of better times ahead for him. His delayed pass in the build up to the first goal was a reminder of the vision and skill he had at his best.

Richalison's form is a worry, while it was an improved performance last night he is still short of what he can produce. He might be unhappy at playing out wide and wants a more central role as the main striker. It would be interesting to see him play alongside DCL as twin strikers, although having brought in King, the chance of that happening is remote. He could be waiting for a route out of the club in the summer, if so his current form is not going to attract many suitors and certainly not at the price we would demand.

I hope with Allan coming back from injury and Doucoure in great form, we can leave Newcastle behind us as an aberration and have a really good second half of the season. However, with Everton it can be often two steps up and one step back.

Kevin Molloy
13 Posted 04/02/2021 at 12:28:49
has aoybody noticed the speed with which DCL took off to miss that sitter at the end. From end to end. REmarkable.
Nicholas Ryan
14 Posted 04/02/2021 at 12:34:03
On the goalkeeping question, can I draw a cricket comparison [yawn... but stay with me!].

India beat Australia last week in one of the most thrilling Test matches ever. Two of their batsmen, Gill and Pant smashed the ball all around the park and out of the ground in breathtaking fashion.

At the other end, was Pujara; he batted for nearly 10 hours in intense heat; he was hit on the body/head 10 times at 90-plus mph. he didn't hit the ball out of the ground, he didn't take any risks and was boring as hell. But he didn't get out... he never does! You just know he'll be there all day and the next day and the day after that! Without him, India would have lost.

My point? Jordan Pickford is Gill/Pant; Martin Olsen is Pujara. It may be a matter of personal taste, but for me, it's Pujara every day of the week!

Kevin Molloy
15 Posted 04/02/2021 at 12:40:41
on the goalie issue, I suspect Carlo is a little wary of Olsen's previous, his confidence can plunge the depths a bit if he's on a bad run. So I reckon he's in no hurry to pitch him in full time when he can have both of them vying for the same spot.
Paul Hughes
16 Posted 04/02/2021 at 12:47:57
Nicholas (14), I'm a cricket fan too. That Pujara innings was one of most amazing I've seen. The point is that his 'they shall not pass' attitude allowed the Indian fancy-Dans to do their stuff later on. Similarly for us, a solid no-nonsense defence, including Olsen, gives a platform for our fancy-Dans.
Tom Bowers
17 Posted 04/02/2021 at 13:00:56
Our problem has not been goalkeeping. It's so easy to look at that position when things go wrong.

We have had a multitude of problems elsewhere during the season and yet somehow we are still up there.

Seamus is past his best that's for sure and I am not so sure he should ever have been captain. Everton still lack that driving force of a Peter Reid type for the captaincy.

With some big games coming up we hope to see the squad show some real mettle in dealing with them but I am not expecting any sudden change in upward fortunes despite the wins at Wolves and Leeds.

Graeme Beresford
18 Posted 04/02/2021 at 14:12:00
Rob Halligan #9

You cannot compare one bad save from Pope and two bad saves from Martinez to Pickford who continually cost’s us points in every other game he plays in, it’s just unacceptable to compare the three.

We are all for defending our own players but there comes a time when you have to look at the saves he makes compared to the saves he should make and come to the conclusion that the guy isn’t good enough to be Everton’s number one goal keeper.

This isn’t new either, this has gone on for years. He makes good saves from shots which any normal goalkeeper would save, then he lets himself down with horrendous decision making, poor judgement of crosses and quite frankly awful timing when it comes to going to ground to save average shots. I can honestly name you probably twenty examples of goals he has cost us in two/three seasons and that just is not good enough. One every now and again, Pope and Martinez is forgivable, however one a game or every other game should not be.

I don’t understand how anyone can defend him, if you are poor at your job, and you continue to be poor at your job, then you should be moved on, it’s simple. I would offer Pickford for Pope, straight swap in the summer, let him go in goal for Burnley as it may be more at his level.

Barry Rathbone
19 Posted 04/02/2021 at 14:24:53
Kevin 13

Yep, DCL was in full on sprinters mode to get in position for the pass and maybe that was contributory to him losing composure at the finish.

An old pro said to me after I did something similar "always keep a little gas in the tank to finish".

Tony Everan
20 Posted 04/02/2021 at 14:25:22
I think it’s marginal on the goalkeepers, and from what I’ve seen Olsen has earned the right to be first choice. A bit calmer and a bit more assured. I feel slightly more confident with Olsen between the sticks.

I agree with Tom above, it’s still the midfield. Allan and hopefully Gbamin fit will give us much more stability, strength and options. I think any chance at all of top 4 is dependent upon Allan and Doucoure being fully fit for the remainder of the season.

I would be a huge bonus if Gbamin gets properly fit and proves he is the real deal. That would be like a new signing for the last 10-12 games and could make all the difference.

Here’s hoping.

Barry Cowling
21 Posted 04/02/2021 at 14:42:03
I managed to see whole game with no buffering also on peacock. I would give gomes MOM, I think he has looked good in last 3 games, definately getting back to his best and on the goalkeeping front I have to say I prefer pickford, olsen.s distribution worries me and he isn't as agile as pickford. yes pickforsd is prone to the odd error but can also pull off some great saves plus you always feel you have a chance against penalties, All olsen did was save shots in and around him, yes more consistent but wont pull off the remarkable. its easy to criticise keepers because every mistake gets analysed, but DCL has not looked good for a few games now and had couple good opportunities last night, probably could do with a break, and we should of had a penalty
Kevin Prytherch
22 Posted 04/02/2021 at 14:42:50
As much as Olsen deserves praise, his triple save last night was a direct result of his poor distribution. Pickford would have been slaughtered for that.

I would still prefer Olsen to Pickford at the moment though.

Oliver Molloy
23 Posted 04/02/2021 at 15:01:41
Martin Reppion @ 5.

Two things...
Olsen deserves the the right and opportunity to claim the number one spot.
Pickford has clearly shown he is erratic, has at least one mistake / bad decision in him every game he plays.
For me ( right now ) Olsen looks to be a "calmer" goal keeper.

On Olsen's pass to Doucoure, maybe Doucoure's touch let him down - not his best asset is it!

Martin Mason
24 Posted 04/02/2021 at 15:35:29

I just remember watching him a couple of times where he did play very well once against the RS at Anfield. I thought then that he was the answer.

Don Alexander
25 Posted 04/02/2021 at 15:44:06
Tim (#12), I too was impressed with Dom's speed at the end but, having been able to watch the match, Ben Godfrey made an incredible sprint with the ball at his feet in the first half that easily matched him (DCL has gone on record extolling the pace of Godders and the even younger Branthwaite). He went in a straight line right past several Leeds players from deep in our half to halfway into theirs. Everyone seemed stunned!
Jay Harris
26 Posted 04/02/2021 at 15:44:17
It is so hard to pick MOTM as there were so many good performances so I will give it to Carlo who obviously put a rocket up their arses and got them all fired up. He was also quite vocal during the game especially at Dominics wastefulness.

Godfrey and Mina were majestic, Digne shows just how important the left foot is, Gomes was spraying the ball around like the maestro we had when he first came and Olsen was a pillar of calm and confidence which also helps the defence not to panic.

My only concern was the right side where Iwobi did not give Holgate much support and Holgate did not give Iwobi much support going forward. Its a good job most of Leeds attacks were going down the other flank.

Lets hope for an equally inspired display against Man U. We certainly owe them.

Mike Gaynes
27 Posted 04/02/2021 at 16:11:54
Martin #5, agreed. Olsen is a good, solid keeper, but nobody here has seen him play under real pressure. There's a reason he flopped so badly in Serie A, and that pass to Doucoure provided a hint. As Kevin points out at #15, he has done that many times in the past. I understand why Olsen's calm demeanor is seductive to critics of the hyperkinetic Pickford, but to those who think he should start, I'd say be careful what you wish for. He's an ideal backup. IMO he should not be considered more than that. We need a top keeper to become a Top 4 club. No way is it Robin Olsen.

Kevin #13, yes, I noticed it and loved it. A year ago I posted that Everton was the slowest club in the Prem and desperately needed pace. Now we have Dom, Godfrey, Doucoure and Holgate regularly showing off their wheels. We need more, especially on the flanks, but it feels good.

Chris Williams
28 Posted 04/02/2021 at 16:14:19
Carlo has just been quoted that he needs to check Pickford’s fitness to play on Saturday.

Seems he has no doubts as to his first choice keeper.

Bill Gall
29 Posted 04/02/2021 at 16:15:42
Everton will have to win the league before they get any praise on some of these football shows..Last night all we got was M.Owen with a face like a wet kipper along with O Hargreaves spend over 30min going on about Liverpool and not a mention about the other games. Today we got another 40min of excuses for Liverpool with one journalist saying their problem stems from VVD injury by Pickford and that was the major problem.

They then went on to go over the other games except for the Leeds Everton game that was on for 2 min showing the goals. It makes me believe if Everton win against Utd we will get another 40min of what Utd done wrong and not how Everton played

I don't care if as they say we slip under the radar, but surely some recognition should be recognized as they don't mind criticizing when they loose.

I remember before the game last night I wrote that the game was winnable but it would take a team effort, and thankfully that is what we got. Some players stood out a little more than others but most of all it was a team effort that got the points. It will be interesting the next game but last nights game was a good learning experience, as no other team presses as hard and don't give you a minutes rest than Leeds.

Kim Vivian
30 Posted 04/02/2021 at 16:26:21
I got called out on the forum last night for criticising Olsen's distribution which lead directly to him having to redeem himself with that flurry of (potentially MOM qualifying!) saves, so I'm glad I'm not on my own with that view.

You have to trust the coaches to select who they think is best, and we haven't really seen enough of our Swede to seriously compare him with Pickford but certainly I do think Pickford's distribution and vision is better. I far prefer Olsen dealing with high balls and glad to see him collect the ball when Pickford would often be punching.

He did well last night, can't really be blamed for the goal, and it would be interesting to see him deservedly get a run of a few games.

Rob Halligan
31 Posted 04/02/2021 at 16:28:02
Graeme, I am in no way defending Pickford, what I'm saying is that every goalkeeper has mistakes in them. Pope has made plenty, just that they're not highlighted on here as much. And before anyone says it, yes, Pickford probably has made more!!

I agree that Pickford does need a break from being the number one, and needs to work on what ever his problem is, be it confidence, concentration, mental attitude, whatever it may be. You say he costs us points in every other game he plays in, which isn't strictly true. It's hard to believe, but I'm pretty sure the stats say in the last two years he has only made six errors which have led directly to goals being conceded. Then again, what exactly constitutes a mistake, is it a dropped ball which has been knocked home, or a long range shot which goes in and probably should have been saved? Maybe someone could correct me on these stats?

But as I said earlier, there are far better people qualified than those on here, to judge Pickford. Why is it Southgate continuously picks him for England competitive games?

Oliver Molloy
32 Posted 04/02/2021 at 16:39:06
Regards the Olsen pass that many reckon put us in trouble.
I have watched this many times and do not agree.
He could have launched it up the pitch, if this is your opinion then ok, but don't blame Olsen for Doucoure bad pass- the pass from Olsen to him was good

Doucoure shows for the ball, Olsen passes the ball to his feet and Doucoure first touch pass to Godfrey was not the best, that's what put us under pressure - go watch it.

Andrew Keatley
33 Posted 04/02/2021 at 16:44:32
Martin (5) - I've seen a few other posters on here reference Olsen's pass to Doucouré as a negative caveat to his excellent triple save, but I really don't think it was a particularly bad pass at all. Yes, Doucouré is marked, but it was straight into his feet, and a better lay-off to Godfrey might have seen us able to break forward nicely; players should be able to make those one touch passes. And beyond that we still had several chances to block crosses or clear the ball before Klich shoots on goal. I was impressed with Olsen, and do not consider his triple-save to have been any less impressive because of his pass to Doucouré.

This is not to lay any blame with Doucouré either, who was excellent again - at both ends of the pitch.

Mike Gaynes
34 Posted 04/02/2021 at 16:51:42
Just in case anybody's interested, from The Fiver:

"SC East Bengal coach Robbie Fowler has been suspended for four matches and fined for criticising refereeing decisions in the Indian Super League."

I just wonder how they could understand what he was saying.

Graeme Beresford
35 Posted 04/02/2021 at 17:03:15
Rob #31

I don’t really care about what stats say. I’m sure the stats don’t elude to the Leicester goal being a mistake from Pickford as it was a shot on target. What the mistakes were in the build up was that he pushed a cross out for a corner when if he left the ball it would of been a goal kick. He then missed the save from corner, spilling the ball to their attackers. Then he saw the ball to late and react so poorly, pushing the ball into his own net.

The stats might say 6, however he is constantly beaten from outside the area, from near post finishes and by his lack of ability. Off the top of my head I can instantly recollect...

The Derby... origi’s goal - unforgivable
Running out of the box and clattering with a defender allowing Son to score from outside the box at Goodison
Being beaten at his near post by Jesus twice at City
Being beaten by Leicester from outside the box
Flapping at the cross against Newcastle last season at home allowing them to score for 2-1
You could even ask why he jumped behind his line for 2-2 against Newcastle
Near post goals against Bournemouth/Palace last season both at Goodison
He got lucky at the Derby this season with Mane offside as Henderson’s shot was an easy save.

It’s constant, there are no two ways about it.

Dale Self
36 Posted 04/02/2021 at 17:05:33
Not that this was intended to be a goalkeeper thread but I was thinking that the pair are working out. Yes Pickford is unreliable at times but he is absolutely ace enough to develop out of those spasms that frustrate us all. Olsen is obviously capable of covering at a comforting level of competence while not really a threat to Pickford's place. Carlo is not talking about Pickford's performance in order to motivate like some bastards might and Pickford will respond like a man and return to form.

And yes Mike, I for one will always welcome an unflattering story about any Red.

Mike Gaynes
37 Posted 04/02/2021 at 17:08:33
Andrew and Oliver, I look at it this way.

When a keeper plays the ball out, what's the ideal outcome? It starts a move that ends up in a goal at the other end.

What's the worst possible outcome? A turnover and a goal against.

And when a keeper's first pass out is to a teammate running back towards his own goal with an opponent tight on his heels, the ball is exponentially more likely to wind up in your own net.

Yes, Olsen made the triple save, and yes, the defense had other chances to clear the problem before the shots, but the irrefutable fact is that none of that would have been necessary if Olsen hadn't made the wrong decision with the initial pass. It was a mistake, and the same kind of mistake he was previously prone to in Italy.

Play the ball short to an unmarked teammate. And if one isn't available, boom it down the pitch. Nothing could be simpler.

Dale #36, agreed -- while we will ultimately need a new keeper, the two we have are fine for the moment. Carlo and Marcel have higher priorities to improve the club before addressing the goal line.

Dale Self
38 Posted 04/02/2021 at 17:16:19
That last line is exactly the point, Mike.
Rob Halligan
39 Posted 04/02/2021 at 17:23:56
Well, like I said Graeme, in no way am I defending Pickford, but I'll ask again, why is it that those better qualified than you, me and all others on here, keep on picking him? Why does Gareth Southgate continuously pick him for England competitive games?
Colin Glassar
40 Posted 04/02/2021 at 17:27:13
I'm feeling quietly confident about us getting a result at Old Trafford. I have no idea why we are so poor, cowardly and clueless at “fortress” Goodison but we seem to be far more disciplined, and motivated, away from home.
Andrew Keatley
41 Posted 04/02/2021 at 17:27:26
Mike (37) - But risks are part and parcel of professional sport, and often the biggest advantages arrive on the back of the bigger risks. Some players are very comfortable receiving the ball when marked - Jack Grealish will happily take the ball, static, under pressure from an opponent, while deep in his own half. He knows that if he can beat his man then there will be space for him and his team-mates to exploit. I've watched him lose the ball in such moments, at least once leading to the direct concession of a goal - and I've watched him beat his man, break forward and start a move that ends in a goal for his team. Olsen made a pass to a team-mate that was well-hit, at a good height, into Doucouré's feet, and a good one-touch pass to Godfrey would have seen us away. It's risk-reward stuff, and one that I am happy we're looking to take. The alternative is for the goalkeeper to resort to kicking the ball long whenever a safe pass is not entirely on, and any opposition team would welcome that. I think Olsen assessed the picture correctly, struck a good pass, and it was just unfortunate that we conceded possession.
Joe McMahon
42 Posted 04/02/2021 at 17:30:27
Graeme Beresford, an impressive list, but there are so many more, but a classic was Fleetwood a few months ago.
Kieran Kinsella
43 Posted 04/02/2021 at 17:36:50

The problem at Goodison is Kenwright. I have it on good authority that he has live snakes growing from his scalp and if he looks directly at a player, the player freezes. He particularly seems to stare a lot at Gomes and Pickford. Cause of Covid-19 he can't travel and cause this issue at away games.

Christine Foster
44 Posted 04/02/2021 at 17:42:57
Bill @29,

Generally, most of the time, I go to the BBC website for news and sport, but increasingly getting annoyed by comments and content, from the petty omissions to downright snubs, never giving credit where due. I can point to 3 current observations that clearly show bias even on a website.

1. Lawrenson's predictions, the guy is a prat. Always, putting down the Blues and when you see his table versus actual table, the difference is the highest negative placement on any Premier League team. That's bias, no matter what anyone says.

2. Alan Shearer. Another prat. In his recent column, he said 5 teams in the top 6 could win the league, no mention of Everton who at the time were 4th with games in hand. No mention of the fact we had beaten a couple of the teams he believed could win or that we sat above them in the league.

3. Little annoying things, like showing the teams at the top, usually the top six teams, but if Everton are 5th, they show the top 4, if they are 6th they show the top 5, if they are 7th, they show the top 6.

Paranoia? No, there is bias and even when we play well, there is always the focus on how poorly our opposition played.

Lastly, talking of bias, take the football section of the BBC website: win or lose, Liverpool always have several or more stories or opinions running at any given time. Win or lose, on the front page of the football section, you have to dig to find an Everton result and generally the only bits we do see are Ancelotti related.

You get the drift? We have been written off. Dismissed because of bias, not performance. Not even plucky little Everton anymore, but ignored. The balance of UK reporting is highlighted by watching overseas commentators reporting on games, it's a breath of fresh air in comparison.

Andrew Keatley
45 Posted 04/02/2021 at 17:43:35
Also, if we are going to be critical of ill-executed passing that could have cost us a goal, in the 92nd minute Tom Davies received a good pass from Andre Gomes in the middle of our half, Davies takes a touch to control then underhits a relatively simple 10 yard pass out to Digne on the left; the pass is intercepted easily by Costa, and Leeds are in our box in seconds and only excellent blocks from Godfrey then Keane stopping Ayling firing in a dangerous cross then shot.
Colin Glassar
46 Posted 04/02/2021 at 17:50:06
Kieran, I also believe our very own, undernourished Buddha emits negative vibes.

His, “don’t worry my lovelies, we are one big family. We (me) just want you to be happy and say nice things (about me) the club on social media”.

Mediocrity has a home at Goodison while Bill is still around.

Jay Harris
47 Posted 04/02/2021 at 18:01:54
I can assure you its not a breath of fresh air in the USA. The commentators are exactly the same.

Real bias (not perceived) against Everton. I put it down to RS supporters and media pundits who influence the unknowing.

Oliver Molloy
48 Posted 04/02/2021 at 18:09:31
Mike @ 37
Where do I find these "blunders" Olsen was apparently well known and renowned for in Italy, I have have found a few match reports but none relating to passes out from the back , like to Doucoure.

Of course if you are going down the safety first road, you are correct, perhaps the safest option would have been to launch it, but I completely disagree that this was a "blunder".
It really is quite clear that Doucoure showed for the ball and only had to play a simple one touch pass to Godfrey and he failed to do so, thus putting us under pressure.

If that was Rodriquez instead of Doucoure receiving that Olsen pass, we would have been on the attack in my opinion, ( if you get what I;m saying )

Brian Murray
49 Posted 04/02/2021 at 18:17:32
As good as Carlo is you can ask any Arsenal fan for example that savvy clever leadership comes from the top. Hence their decline when he packed it in. I only care about these characters at el four are they Interested to give this generation that have seen sod all a team to be proud of. Carlo really doesn’t know this club. Not his fault or job to spot ineptitude I suppose. Enemy from within sadly.
Dale Self
50 Posted 04/02/2021 at 18:19:47
Christrine and Jay, not a doubt in my mind that there is indeed a bias against Everton. Just imagine it topped off with some good ol' 'mercan merchandising. The Fenway sports group might as well be Amway (joke pyramid company in the US from way back). I would take it as a compliment that they try so hard to offend us.
Dale Self
51 Posted 04/02/2021 at 18:22:11
Oh Brian, how did you get that in while I was typing mine? Not sure I got that stuff in the middle but the punchline needs a rewrite.
Ian Bennett
52 Posted 04/02/2021 at 18:29:24
Good win

Olsen and Godfrey have to be starters.
Ayling is the type of right back we should be looking at to give us some workrate.
Holgate not at his best, but shades Coleman for me.
Richarlison well off form - but King could give him some competition.

Summer wish list
Right back, keeper (Olsen), Striker. Centre midfield, winger. Pace and energy, or real differentiators.

Brian Murray
53 Posted 04/02/2021 at 18:29:33
Dale, el four, Walton home of the toffs
Brian Murray
54 Posted 04/02/2021 at 18:31:06
Meant David dein at Arsenal, apologies,
Christine Foster
55 Posted 04/02/2021 at 18:32:30
The reality is we are not alone either, you would think it's only the top six who play each other every week, other teams only getting a mention if they beat one of them or are humiliated by them. They, Skysports, BBC, and even BT have made the EPL the domain of Man City, Liverpool, Man Utd, Spurs, Chelsea and Arsenal irrespective of where they actually are in the league. Leicester shook them a few seasons back but they consider that a fluke, they have piled the appearance money into those teams which reinforced the ability of those teams to stay ahead of the rest. The whole dammed thing is fixed.
Will Mabon
56 Posted 04/02/2021 at 18:37:02
The bias is undeniable, has been for a long time. Anyone denying it is in denial I say. Whether it actually matters is another thing, but it's annoying to know that it is actually engineered, that producers, journos, ex-player pundits etc. are actively doing it. What the hell gets said behind the scenes?

There was a palpable uneasiness after those first four games, when the table was shown, matches discussed and so on... like "Don't mention the war". Followed by you-know-what after the derby, the like of which has never been seen before. Laughable really.

Dale Self
57 Posted 04/02/2021 at 18:43:29
I think I get your take now Brian and fair perspective. I do want to believe that our recent moves underneath the chairman will allow us to outgrow the obvious limits of his leadership. Still believable that we were fortunate not to get a vulture rather than him but the time of his valuable stewardship is on the wane. Not to poke about but I do think Carlo gets this club.
Sam Bowen
58 Posted 04/02/2021 at 19:13:18
Very strange thread, this one. Seems to be heavily directed towards the goalkeeper situation when, in fact, we should all be embracing and enjoying the performances of pretty much every player. They were all terrific to a man last night.

How nice to see André Gomes play with that swagger again; what a great job Sigurdsson did on Phillips; a real coming-of-age performance from Mina; the return to goalscoring form for Calvert-Lewin; the energy and drive of Doucouré; a much better performance from Richarlison; and an absolute gem of a find in Godfrey.

But no, let's focus on why Olsen had to make 3 saves because he played a bad pass. Lighten up, people, we were very good and I've not been more optimistic for a long time.

Oliver Molloy
60 Posted 04/02/2021 at 19:42:12

I agree with most of what you say except, Olsen didn't play a bad pass, Doucouré did – watch it!!

Dan Coultas
61 Posted 04/02/2021 at 19:48:13
Sam (45),

I remember that moment extremely well as I almost fell over getting up to scream at the TV that, moments after coming on, he almost cost us the lead.

Not that I shouldn't have expected that.

Oliver Molloy
62 Posted 04/02/2021 at 20:14:16

I think all Evertonians watching were probably roaring at the telly in what seemed a simple pass; however, in defence of Davies, I would imagine it would be so tough coming on late in such a high-tempo game.

A few minutes after that bad pass, Davies did really well keeping possession when surrounded by at least two Leeds players.

King, who also lost the ball late on, leading to a Leeds chance, got the same treatment from me.

Don Alexander
63 Posted 04/02/2021 at 20:15:30
The discussion of Jordan and Robin caused me to think back to Westy and Andy Rankin. Westy was sometimes dropped for Andy, an excellent keeper in his own right, and maybe this spurred him on. Maybe the current two can somehow now conjure a Westy between them!

In researching Andy I came across an interview he did after leaving for Watford in 1971. He said, "I had only been at Everton before so I didn’t have much to compare it to, but one thing that was very different was how hard the training was – they trained a heck of a lot harder at Watford than they did at Everton."

Hmm. "Plus ca change plus la meme chose" as they say in Wallasey!

Mike Gaynes
64 Posted 04/02/2021 at 20:28:15
Oliver #48, beats me. I just remember them from seeing him play occasionally in Serie A. Not all were for passes out, although one was definitely for a nightmare throw right to an opponent. He became infamous for awful distribution, some of which didn't result in goals so you wouldn't see them in game highlights, but I know that at Roma a string of mistakes got him benched and then shipped out. I remember one game clearly for Cagliari against Juventus (I watch most Juve games) where he lost the plot completely and was subsequently benched there too. Again, just to be clear, it wasn't just for bad passes.

Danny O’Neill
65 Posted 04/02/2021 at 20:36:27
In my lifetime, we've never been fashionable with the media, even during the mid-eighties. I'm kind of immune to it all although do still find it frustrating.

Anyway, a great win to get us off to a positive start in what is an important month; one that sets us up for the business end of the season. We have a decent run in after that, but there are 3 tough fixtures this month.

We are in touch and very well placed. Dare I say top 10 is starting to look increasingly consolidated. If we come through this month still in a similar position, top 5 or 6 is realistic.

Mike Gaynes
66 Posted 04/02/2021 at 21:03:28
Ian #52, Ayling is a fine tough defender, but he's almost 30 and a zero contributor in attack. We want a young right back who can fly up the touchline and cross the ball.
Christine Foster
70 Posted 04/02/2021 at 23:24:38
Danny, as if to underline my comments earlier regarding bias, this morning has Phil McNulty (BBC) writing an article regarding the Big Six ( determined as Man U, Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea, Spurs, and Arsenal) and asking if the games between them are boring!!
If we won our two games in hand over those above us, we would be 3rd in the league with 4 of those so-called big six below us.. (as it stands we are above three of them anyway!!

I mean, the premise of the article is false, they are not the Big Six, and its insulting to those who are actually above them!! and as always.. not a mention of Everton, Leicester

They should retitle the article and put a new one.. "The Demise of the Big Six"

Jay Harris
71 Posted 04/02/2021 at 23:40:40
On that note I am still hoping we will be in for Lamptey, Mike.

On the same subject what has gone wrong for Yedlin. He was looking good at one time.

Danny O’Neill
72 Posted 05/02/2021 at 00:52:07
Oh Christine, my poor suffering wife and son are sick of my increasingly bitter rants about the way the sporting media and their highly paid "experts" gush over the so called "big 6" (previously known as the top 4 until they expanded the club). Seemingly they can't or won't expand that to accept others that are challenging.

Win our games in hand, we are joint 3rd. Win other games this month we are right in the mix as we go into the final straight.

Now I'm getting ahead of myself. The media will beat me down into my apparent rightful place as a simple Evertonian who has no right to believe. Only certain clubs have entitlement apparently.

Then again, no they won't. I'll just enjoy the moment when we prove them wrong. As the respectful John McFarlane Snr said on his post, football existed before 1992 when these media moguls got their hands on the narrative.

Right bedtime for O'Neill!

Terry White
73 Posted 05/02/2021 at 02:31:34
Jay (#71), Lamptey falls in the same category as Aarons. Looks good going forward but no positional sense and no clue about defending.
Dave Abrahams
74 Posted 05/02/2021 at 11:29:41
Christine (70), Christine, I haven’t read the article, but maybe Phil McNulty was having a go at the “ big six” he is a good Bluenose, I had a few debates with him when he wrote for The Echo, it was him who told me one morning that I wouldn’t be happy when Everton announced their new manager later in the day, he was right as well, it was Howard Kendall coming back for his third go!!!
Christine Foster
75 Posted 05/02/2021 at 11:46:02
Dave, basically he was saying that the games between the Big Six as he defined are boring and then proceeded to provide in a detailed analysis of all the previous results etc etc.. my point was thus, football outside those nominated clubs is hardly deemed of any importance by the BBC or the media irrespective of the position they have in the table and conversely should a club like Everton dare to be in the mix, they are ignored. Simply that.

Perhaps its a total lack of balance towards other teams in general, but when we have been up there all season it does feel like we are intruders into the hallowed circle.

Chris Hockenhull
76 Posted 05/02/2021 at 11:49:45
Steve (59). Then ceo Robert Elstone once told me that David Moyes actually wanted to change the Everton strip to all blue some years ago and was very pro about it. Shankly had the same idea about one colour kits for the same reason of the belief it had a more imposing image and got his way. Personally I want it to always remain the same but there is a argument the the psychological impact of certain kits in all sports
Ray Roche
78 Posted 05/02/2021 at 12:51:07
Perish the thought that we should become a second class Chelsea or Leicester playing in all blue. NO! We are Everton and play in blue AND white. Let’s not follow the RS by changing to a one colour strip.
Brent Stephens
79 Posted 05/02/2021 at 13:00:31
Ray, perish one of those thoughts!
Derek Thomas
80 Posted 05/02/2021 at 13:10:40
Chris @ 76; I'm afraid that was just Shankly building up his legend as the arch manipulator.
They had to change to red shorts due to a European Cup colour clash, they won a few games and it became 'the lucky kit'.
They then wore it for a few league games and got pulled up on it, as you have to play in the strip you register at the start of the season.
They did play the Cup Final in the all red Vs Leeds all white. I remember great rs celebration that they were going to wear their...lucky kit.

They also wore it both games Vs Inter..not so lucky then as they got knocked out.
All red was registered for the start of the 65-66 season.

Brian Murray
81 Posted 05/02/2021 at 13:11:15
Not trying to ignite a whole change the kit debate but the blue shirt and shorts white socks we used to wear at Old Trafford looked boss ( great memories of latch bagging a brace on way to his 30 th league goal plus quarter final league cup win there. Shankly in his own own words changed the devils children to all red to ‘ intimidate and look like red mountains.
Danny O’Neill
82 Posted 05/02/2021 at 13:27:59
That makes me think of Chelsea Brian. I remember they used to have a lot more red trim in their strips than at present.

I have always found the strip / colour debate and sport psychology in general interesting. I remember West Brom a while back changed their traditional yellow and green striped away kit to yellow and red because the then manager believed red was more intimidating and associated with winning (spit).

I wouldn't have wanted to see us in all blue. It does flash up the blue socks or white socks debate though! I think that is generational so it's white for me. It's also personal, as a player, there was always something about playing in white socks. Maybe that's just me and I need to see a sports psychiatrist!

Worse Everton strip, the Linekar bib or the Materazzi monstrosity?

Brian Murray
83 Posted 05/02/2021 at 13:39:50
The linekar bib again looked passable even good when whole kit was blue but painful memories especially with nec on front, Them shiesters would goad us saying it stood for no European cup. The arrogance of that joke after heysel. Ah well I’d rather die with our history than live with yours as my t shirt says ( have to be careful where I wear that in el four lol 😂)
Danny O’Neill
84 Posted 05/02/2021 at 14:04:22
I liked those Toffeweb t-shirts that were available a few years back Brian. 1878, those that understand etc.

Any chance of a comeback Lyndon / Michael?

Danny O’Neill
85 Posted 05/02/2021 at 14:41:49
I like Prentice. Good journalist.

Also good to see Greg O'Keefe do well for himself. Believe he left the BBC and focusses on his website The Athletic now.

I don't read the Echo much these days. Not living in Liverpool I have to rely on reading online and their website is awful in terms of unwanted adverts and continuous pop ups.

Brian Murray
86 Posted 05/02/2021 at 15:38:07
Danny. You ain’t missing much it’s just a glorified kopite programme still in denial over all they have done to damage our reputation. Plus the odd snippet about the toffs so it doesn’t look too obvious.
Danny O’Neill
87 Posted 05/02/2021 at 17:01:01
So the Red Echo never changes it's spots, Brian.
Jason Wilkinson
88 Posted 05/02/2021 at 17:13:04
On the old kit thing. Blue shirts. White shorts & socks. The other teams in blue. Chelsea blue shorts. Leicester blue socks. Brighton stripes.
I hate when we decide to go with blue socks. Amber & blue away kit. Not bothered about a 3rd kit. I did like the all silver one back in the 80's
Tony Hill
89 Posted 05/02/2021 at 21:12:01
That electrifying fit of temper from Ancelotti when DCL fucked it up was deeply reassuring. Have a look at his eyes: in one nanosecond of that explosion he reveals himself as a mad, furious winner. Which, I guess, he had to be all along; he was just hiding it well.
Dave Abrahams
90 Posted 05/02/2021 at 21:18:13
Tony (89), Yes Tony, never seen that before and it lasted a good few seconds, hope he does it a lot more in the dressing room after certain games, it certainly showed his passion.
Tony Hill
91 Posted 06/02/2021 at 00:42:45
Danny @85, David Prentice is a big Blue, of course. I just wish he would make the Echo harder in its focus. I suppose all provincial sports sections are soggy in the end, in case the locals become violent.
Tony Hill
92 Posted 06/02/2021 at 00:56:59
I'd like the Echo to take better care of its writing. Some on here will remember Michael Charters and Horace Yates. There is no excuse for words that are not filtered and weighed.
Tony Hill
93 Posted 06/02/2021 at 01:15:50
I've just had a look back at Charters and Yates. Not as good as I'd thought. Treacherous memory, again.

Still think the Echo could be more adept.

I fear that I'm talking to myself.

Danny O’Neill
94 Posted 06/02/2021 at 10:13:19
Haha, not talking to yourself Tony, I just don't have the legs these days, even on a Friday night!!

I'm thinking of giving Greg O'Keefe's site a go. I also like Lyndon's articles on 1878.

I do most of my reading of Everton on the likes of here these days. I can't remember the last time I read the sport sections of the national papers let alone regional. Sometimes look at the BBC, but I've fallen out with national media in general.

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