Everton 5 - 4 Tottenham Hotspur
When the ninth and final goal of this sprawling odyssey of a cup tie flew past Hugo Lloris and Duncan Ferguson was leaping around on the touchline, channelling the emotions of a legion of Evertonians watching remotely on their screens, Carlo Ancelotti was the picture of calm. An arch of those famous eyebrows as he turned away and blew on a steaming beverage was the sum total of his reaction to a strike that, had it been in front of a packed house of 40-odd thousand fans, might well have taken the roof off the Grand Old Lady.
The much-travelled Italian cuts a reserved figure at the best of times (although he did pump an energised fist when his side took the lead at 2-1 seven minutes before half-time) but it’s possible he wasn’t at all sure that Bernard’s impressively-taken half-volley in the 97th minute that made it 5-4 to Everton would be the end of the scoring.
After all, Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham, who looked for long periods of this ridiculous, metronomic affair as though they might ultimately prevail, had fought their way back from 3-1 and 4-3 down to force extra-time and with their deeper substitute’s bench and Harry Kane already pressed into action off it in the second half, few would have bet against them grabbing a fifth to send the match to penalties in the time that remained.
But since what was a pretty gutless display against Newcastle at the end of last month, this Everton team has been demonstrating the strength of its collective character and after their stoppage-time theatrics at Old Trafford four days ago, they outlasted a talented Spurs outfit in an even more gruelling game this evening despite losing the hero of that 3-3 draw against Manchester United, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, to injury just eight minutes into the second half.
The Blues would lose the lead soon afterwards as well to another shocking exhibition of pitiful set-piece defending but they never lost their spirit or their determination. 3-3 became 4-3 22 minutes from the end and though Harry Kane — who else? — would send the tie into extra-time, it was Ancelotti’s men who carved out a wonderfully-crafted winner in the 97th minute.
They most certainly won as a team but this was a match with a few standout individual performances. Tom Davies has, in the context of Everton’s medium- to long-term aspirations, looked surplus to requirements at times this season and the subject of conversations around potential loan or transfer destinations for longer than that.
Tonight, however, as against United a few days ago, the young Scouser stood tall with a terrific display of dogged and perceptive defensive-midfield work, strong tackling and purposeful forward movement. Questions could be asked of a couple of occasions, especially for Tottenham’s fourth, where he stood off too far and allowed the cross to come in from the opposition’s left but otherwise he barely put a foot wrong and it was fitting that it was he who won the last foul of the match as it entered a final added minute for stoppages.
After weeks of perplexingly below-par form, the Richarlison that Blues fans know and love burst back to life tonight and just at the right time. Where before he was clumsy and profligate with the ball and wayward with his shooting, here he scored two excellent goals, out-muscled and out-ran defenders, and weighed in with his usual defensive diligence where needed.
As good as Davies and Richarlison were – it would be remiss not to mention Seamus Coleman as well who was immense after he came on in the second half and Robin Olsen who kept Everton in it in the early stages – Abdoulaye Doucouré, with his pace, power, intelligence and indefatigable running was even better; an absolute machine across 120 minutes of action who was everywhere, knitting defence and attack together and he made a vital interception in the final third that helped create Calvert-Lewin’s equaliser.
Then there was Gylfi Sigurdsson who would have been a universal shoo-in for Man of the Match had it not been for his atrocious defending for two Spurs corners that led to goals for Davinson Sanchez, the man he had been charged with marking. He more than atoned for his botched application of whatever Ancelotti’s plans had been for defending dead-ball situations, though, by scoring a first-half penalty and then setting up three of Everton’s goals. The fifth, of course, was the pick of his assists.
With James Rodriguez ruled out with a calf injury, Sigurdsson had come into the side and Alex Iwobi started wide on the right while Yerry Mina replaced Mason Holgate and Ben Godfrey switched to right back.
However, it was Spurs who came out of the traps with more purpose and within a minute of the first whistle they had forced the first of quite a few saves demanded of Olsen who was once again in goal with Jordan Pickford still nursing a rib injury.
The Swede dived to his right to palm aside a header from Eric Lamela off a Steven Bergwijn cross but he was left helpless three minutes later as Everton's zonal marking system utterly failed and with Sigurdsson rooted to the floor, Sanchez was allowed to rise unchallenged and nod home a corner from the Tottenham left.
Godfrey forced the first save of the evening from Hugo Lloris with a low drive from distance and the French keeper tipped a Calvert-Lewin effort onto the post as the home side started to find their attacking belief but it was Olsen who was kept the busier, parrying a powerful shot from Son Hueng-Min over his crossbar and then stopping Lamela's effort from distance after Mina had given the ball away with a poor header.
Another Son shot was deflected into Bergwijn's path but Olsen got behind it again while the South Korean's next drive took a heavy deflection off Michael Keane and looped narrowly over the crossbar as Spurs continued to look the more dangerous team.
However, after Mina headed a corner wide 10 minutes before the half-time break, Everton sparked a burst of three goals in seven minutes when Calvert-Lewin hammered in his 18th of the season via Lloris's gloves.
Quick movement from Doucouré saw him seize on a loose touch from Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and a quick interchange between Iwobi and Sigurdsson on the right flank ended with the Iceland international knocking the ball into Calvert-Lewin's path. The striker connected beautifully as it sat up perfectly, rifling a shot goal-wards that Lloris couldn't keep out to make it 1-1.
Two minutes later, Digne's headed lay-off from Sanchez's awkward header was heel-flicked skilfully to Richarlison by Calvert-Lewin and the Brazilian took a touch to his right before drilling through a defender's legs and into the bottom corner from 20 yards to make it 2-1.
Five minutes after that, when Højbjerg accidentally clipped Calvert-Lewin's heels as the striker went to collect a pass inside from the left flank, referee David Coote had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and after a check by Video Assistant Referee, Chris Kavanagh, Sigurdsson stepped up to coolly roll home the resulting penalty.
That should have seen the Toffees into the interval with a two-goal cushion but an awful lapse in concentration from Mina allowed the ball to slip by him in the box and Lamela was on hand to clip it past Olsen deep into injury time.
Everton's slender 3-2 lead felt more precarious when, just nine minutes into the second half, Calvert-Lewin had to be withdrawn with an apparent recurrence of his recent hamstring problem and was replaced by Coleman, a change that saw Richarlison move into a central attacking role and Iwobi switch to left midfield.
The lead would last only a couple of minutes longer and once again it was schoolboy defending at a corner from the same side as before that was the Toffees' undoing. Sigurdsson kept his attentions on Sanchez and not the ball which mean that when the set-piece was flicked on to the back post and Olsen could only get a hand to it, it was the Colombian who pounced, holding off the Everton man, stuck out as leg to stab it home and level things up at 3-3.
If there was a sense that the pendulum had swung in the direction of Spurs, Richarlison would ensure that the next blow was landed by the hosts. Sigurdsson played him in nicely between the lines and the Brazil international powered past his man before lashing a superb left-footed shot across the keeper and in off the far post from a tight angle.
Carlo Ancelotti replaced Iwobi with Bernard immediately afterwards and, predictably, it was Tottenham who pressed as the game moved into the final minutes of normal time and they kept exposing Everton's weaknesses from set-pieces.
Olsen punched one dead-ball delivery straight to Lamela but the Argentine couldn't keep his shot down and it flew over. At the other end, Bernard put the ball on a platter for Keane in front of goal but the defender could only steer his shot into Lloris's arms.
With 82 minutes gone, however, Everton's defence was breached again following yet another corner. Olsen's glancing fist on the ball ended up with Lamela again, his shot was headed off the line by Abdoulaye Doucouré but when Son collected the loose ball on the far side and was allowed to bend a cross to the back post, substitute Harry Kane was there unmarked to head in from close range.
Once more, with their deeper bench and their tails up at having made it 4-4 to force extra-time, Spurs might have felt the momentum was with them. And they came close to making it 5-4 five minutes into the first half when Kane cut in off the byline and fired from close range but he scuffed his shot enough that Olsen was able to bounce on it.
Two minutes later, Everton grabbed the deciding goal that finally broke Spurs's resilience and was one worthy of settling any tie, scored by a man who, had it not been for a deadline-day collapse in talks, would be in the United Arab Emirates right now instead of toasting a thrilling match winner. Bernard played a ball inside to Sigurdsson, he controlled it and then chipped deftly over the defence for the little Brazilian to track and then half-volley sweetly past Lloris with his left foot.
The Blues still found the energy to come close to padding their lead in the first minute of the second period of extra-time when Sigurdsson and Richarlison raced away on the counter-attack but the former ignored the latter and the goalkeeper beat away his shot.
Keane then dropped a header off a free-kick wide before Tottenham's last, desperate attacks yielded a direct free-kick for Kane that came back off the defensive wall and a couple of corners that were much better defended before the referee called time on an exhausting but victorious contest for Ancelotti's players.
Everton must wait 24 hours to find out whom they will face in the quarter-finals but with building levels of self-belief there is surely no team, with the possible exception of an fearsome-looking Manchester City, who they will fear at this point... although they will surely have to defend better now matter who they paired with.
Injuries to key players like James and Calvert-Lewin may yet prove to be roadblocks that will make the road to Wembley and/or the top four more challenging than it otherwise will be but just as important as keeping them fit will be successfully negotiating more routine opponents.
That means getting the business done against Fulham this weekend and Southampton at the end of the month; the Premier League matches in between against City and Liverpool offer more opportunities to show that they can take on pretty much anyone when they’re truly in the mood.
Reader Comments (39)
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1 Posted 11/02/2021 at 07:32:52
Richarlison was lively and back to beating people. His run for the second goal was timed perfectly, which we've definitely not seen recently. Sigurdsson showed some sublime moments going forward – the touch for the penalty incident, the Bernard assist, the flick for Dom's first – and yet still had time for some Alcaraz defending.
Doucoure was everywhere. He's unstoppable and undroppable. Coleman came on and rolled back the years. Olsen kept us in it. Dom's assist for the first Richarlison goal was class. Bloody hell, even Bernard scored a peach and showed flashes of what he can do!
But Tom Davies. I'm so pleased for him. He was exceptional. He moved us forward, he showed great footwork, he tackled, harried and pressed, he played some great through balls – just as he did on Saturday – and he looked like he could have kept running for another 120 minutes. England international Harry Winks came on for Spurs and looked a shade of the player Tom is fast becoming. If he can maintain these levels, then our central midfield will look even stronger.
Must also reserve some praise for the manager. That was a strange, freewheeling game and god knows what we were doing from set-pieces. But seeing that calm and collected maestro who has done it all before but still looks hungry makes me feel more confident, as it clearly does the players. He just needs to spend the week hammering into them that we can't just walk it against Fulham.
Beat them, beat some more and win the cup. That would be lovely. COYB
2 Posted 11/02/2021 at 09:10:01
3 Posted 11/02/2021 at 09:10:46
4 Posted 11/02/2021 at 09:12:38
Sir, sir, please sir - I posted that he had another great game. Was it Son he chased back to catch up with and overtaking? Might be our Man of the Season at season's end. Future Everton Captain?
5 Posted 11/02/2021 at 09:18:07
6 Posted 11/02/2021 at 09:20:55
7 Posted 11/02/2021 at 09:23:50
Just a mention for the Tom, Dom, Duke, Bernard and Carlo haters. I hope like myself they are gagging on their humble pie.
I think Godfrey is the buy of the season lets hope we can keep the predators away while we build a team to challenge for silverware.
8 Posted 11/02/2021 at 09:58:17
9 Posted 11/02/2021 at 09:58:29
Called me grossly optimistic but theres been something about the last two games, because Im sure it usually us coming off the worse from results like that? As in, WE usually concede a last minute equaliser and WE go down 5-4 despite scoring first and equalising twice?
10 Posted 11/02/2021 at 10:40:58
I hope they put some training in on defending set pieces as we were almost comical in the way we couldn't deal with them overloading the near post. Fulham will have seen that and will look to profit on it. Got to keep Coleman in for that game though and thankfully Digne looks like he's back on it at last.
Dom's injury is a worry, but thankfully they brought King in so he can play at Fulham and Allan will hopefully come back in, or Gomes if not. Even Bernard might have another super sub appearance! Great to have options at last, but our loans have left a bare subs bench. Wierd having two keepers.
If we can keep this new found never say die attitude going for future matches I can see us doing well for the rest of the season. Heads need to be right though for Fulham as we won't walk that. They'll have two ex blues who will run their tripe out and a cup tie attitude. We don't want another ding dong like last night!
11 Posted 11/02/2021 at 11:35:52
All of a sudden they looked less of a threat down that side of the pitch, and when in possession, Seamus does what Seamus does best, those marauding runs down the wing which finally put Spurs on the back foot.
I would love us to win a trophy for him, simply to reward a truly inspirational player and captain.
He knows he's no longer first choice at full back, but he has an incredible attitude.
Ironically, when DCL was forced off, Richarlison really stepped up to the plate and led the line wonderfully well, his best game for months.
Without Carlo in charge, I think we may have lost that game. He may not jump up and down on the touchline and thump his chest for the cameras (like someone else we know), but he's calm when he needs to be, and has the utmost respect of the players.
Were still 'work in progress' and Carlo will know that, but WE have made real progress in the last 12 months.
Onwards and upwards.
12 Posted 11/02/2021 at 11:38:44
13 Posted 11/02/2021 at 11:42:39
14 Posted 11/02/2021 at 11:43:38
15 Posted 11/02/2021 at 11:46:37
16 Posted 11/02/2021 at 11:47:32
17 Posted 11/02/2021 at 12:03:31
18 Posted 11/02/2021 at 12:15:09
We are where we are this season because of how the players are being managed.
When all others are losing it, be that in frustration or in joy, the Manager who has been there, seen that, won this, stays calm and collective; still able to make rational judgement.
Without getting overly carried away on the back of a 3-3- draw and a close but fiercely fought cup tie, we are set nicely for a run in that could see us have a crack at top 4 and in the quarter finals of the FA Cup. Credit obviously goes to the players, but it is how those players have been managed for individual games and how the squad has been managed for the season (not just the next game as the cliche goes) that is the glaringly obvious elephant in the room to recent seasons for me.
We remain work in progress. We have much to do to turn this squad into something that can regularly challenge. We will still inevitably have the odd "Newcastle" moment or two. But the mentality and optimism around the club is starkly 180 degrees the opposite from this time just over 12 months ago because we are thinking bigger picture.
19 Posted 11/02/2021 at 13:04:37
20 Posted 11/02/2021 at 13:14:23
21 Posted 11/02/2021 at 13:21:22
Like Seamus and DCL - and more recently Godfrey- this is a player who doesnt hide even when not playing well. Speaks volumes for his character. Long May it continue.
22 Posted 11/02/2021 at 13:44:59
Tom Davies, keep proving me wrong son.
The more I am wrong about you, the happier I will be, if that makes sense!!
23 Posted 11/02/2021 at 15:02:00
I can only think training with the quality of James and Allan along with Carlo's insight is proving beneficial. I really hope he can prove to be consistent and turn into the midfielder we desperately want him to be. Last night needs to become a bare minimum performance level. I hope it does.
I do find it odd that people get shouted at on here for criticising certain players, especially home grown ones. Those people telling you off are usually criticising the manager or foreign players, not sure how that is different.
I think what we need to remember is despite criticism we are desperate for them to be a success, whether that be player or manager. You'd have to be pretty stupid to want anyone at the club to fail as that means we all fail.
True that we have King on board to take some of the burden off DCL if injured. Question is, do I put Richarlison in for DCL in FF?
24 Posted 11/02/2021 at 16:32:39
Richi seems to have got some confidence back with the goals. He has been poor for the last couple of months in my opinion. Davis and Decoure never stopped putting the miles in for the full 120 minutes. Godfrey could be our best buy for years. Has Siggi been picking up some tips from James. Only thing please put him on the post or out of the way at corners cos he cannot defend set pieces. Always niggling me how the hell does Iwobi keep getting picked. In the first 30 mins every time he got the ball it was lost or pass misplaced. Surely Carlo must see this even when blowing the froth off his cappucino. Great result in the end without our star midfielders. Olsen must stay in goal. Just seen on sky DCL is having a scan on his hammie. Never a good sign. Hope not too serious. If we can reproduce this form may be a place in Europe. Onwards and upwards the mighty Toffees.
25 Posted 11/02/2021 at 16:40:41
I understand there will always be pundits whos allegiances lie with other teams however to not even have a section on Evertons fantastic hard fought victory is absurd. Im sick and tired of it now. We never ever get credit off anyone, Sky or BT. It always seems to be that the other team didnt take their chances or Everton didnt deserve to win/draw. How about coming out and actually talking about Everton and their gut and guile through games such as away at United, at home against Liverpool and Spurs last night. Seems like all they want to do is talk about how Pickford injured VVD and how that has affected their season.
We have lost 2 games in 10 and with a win on Sunday we could go 4th. And another game in hand. Im telling you what if we go and beat Fulham, beat City and beat Liverpool. Will they then talk about us? Just all seems a joke to me.
26 Posted 11/02/2021 at 17:02:23
27 Posted 11/02/2021 at 17:07:59
In the league game I remember it was similar with Spurs overrunning us all guns blazing for 20 minutes but we found our composure then. Ideally Id like to see us start better but at least we have the character now to regroup
28 Posted 11/02/2021 at 17:10:01
Our defence was much worse than our offensive part, especially after corners, Ancelotti should work a lot on that.
Calvert-Lewin was very good before he left the match, he scored a goal, had an assist and was fouled for the penalty. He is in a very good form this season and could become the most important member of our team. If he is not that already.
Now we could really win the FA Cup, we last lifted that trophy long time ago and now we have a realistic chance. There are still some very good teams left in the competition but we should play our game and maybe we can win.
Our next game is versus Fulham, let`s win that and try to finish in the top four at the end of the season. Playing in the Champions league would mean a lot to us and I sincerely hope we can reach that goal.
29 Posted 11/02/2021 at 17:20:23
30 Posted 11/02/2021 at 18:02:37
I did say Davis and Decoure put the miles in for 120 minutes. I could have qualified it a bit more as I think he had the best game I have seen him have. Seems to be getting more consistent. Is this Carlos influence?
31 Posted 11/02/2021 at 18:03:03
It's just amusing now and will make our breaking into the top 4 all the more enjoyable. If you listen to the recent disclosures about the potential co -efficient nonsense in respect of the Champions League, it doesn't take a genius to join the dots and realise the pigs' commercial snouts are all buried in the same trough - Uefa, the so -called big 6 ( used to be 5 - hang on 4 ), sponsors and their media madams.
I've long since not been bothered - infact I revel in the lack of media recognition now - it's strangely satisfying.
It's our club - it belongs to us - so fuck them.
32 Posted 11/02/2021 at 18:14:26
Proving a few doubters wrong. Only negative balls were when nobody made space or a run for him. Well Done Tom Davies (and every other player as well) v Spurs.
33 Posted 11/02/2021 at 18:28:38
Blown a 3-1 lead to go 3-3
Got to 4-3, and let it slip
Nothing on the bench and DCL injured
Kane on the pitch with a good spurs team on paper.
It was all going typically "Everton" - snatching a defeat from the jaws of victory. Conceding goals at set pieces, and giving away free kicks & corners a plenty.
But a bit of character. Anchelotti didn't get carried away and we dug out a win against the odds. Chuffed, but these lads have bloody owed the fans down the years.
34 Posted 11/02/2021 at 21:22:44
And we need Lookman and Barkley back
35 Posted 11/02/2021 at 21:43:46
37 Posted 12/02/2021 at 10:16:04
38 Posted 12/02/2021 at 12:44:26
HUGE thanks for flagging up the Tom Davies video.
No fabrication, just yesterday I was thinking I would love to see such a compilation video of all the plays by not just Tom, but 3 players v Spurs: Tom, Doucoure and Siggy.
And you've pointed me in the direction of just that.
Very impressive reel. It reinforces IMO just how much Tom has matured as a player. And he is still only 22.
It was Barry Williams a few weeks back who made a valid point about Tom (can't remember the game). How in one passage he stood root still with the ball, surveying his options, before making the pass.
Tom has been always been high-energy and enthusiastic. As a result, we have seen him lose the ball and in an attempt to win it back for the team, go flying in wrecklessly and pick up an unnecessary yellow card.
He is looking so much calmer and reassured on the ball now and using his quick feet and short passing game to good effect. I'm going to keep my eyes on his numbers, but without checking I'd wager that he is and will continue to pick up fewer yellow cards in his current manifestation than in the past.
There is now a calmness, not frenzy, in his game.
Note both on and off the ball his head movement before receiving or laying off the ball. Looking around. Be aware of where both his team mates and opposition are. Having played the ball himself, how many times he points in advice where the team mate he's just passed to should play the ball.
Very encouraging. Thanks again Derek.
39 Posted 12/02/2021 at 13:02:05
40 Posted 12/02/2021 at 13:07:07
'you have to assume this is not rocket science and that loads of players all over the world do it - you would have to hope it's a fairly obvious part of a player's game!'
You would think, wouldn't you? But then I think of one player in our team and wonder.
Richarlison. (Dave Abrahams might have something to say on that!).
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