Richarlison's gold-plated heroics rescue a dreadful start

Michael Kenrick 14/08/2021 359comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 3 - 1 Southampton

Everton’s 2021-22 Premier League campaign kicked off with the visit of Southampton as Rafael Benitez took charge of his first competitive match at Goodison Park in front of a full house and produced a magnificent comeback win.

With a whole raft of Everton's players — including some of the best ones on their books — missing for a mixture of reasons, Benitez was unable to call upon the services of Rodriguez, Kean, Gomes, Gbamin, Godfrey and Sigurdsson.

But at least it was an opportunity for Benitez to chose players he fully trusts in new signings, Gray and Townsend, who both need to demonstrate to the Everton fanbase at least that they can deliver end-product at this level in the Premier League.

So no real surprises and limited inspiration — unless Richarlison would decide to show everyone why he is a Gold Medal Olympic winner! Nine players on the bench: some youngish players, but only one goalie! Yea, Rafa!

For the visitors today, former Everton player, Theo Walcott, starts.

With fans finally back in attendance after 18 months of a horrible pandemic, only possible through the work of brilliant scientists who created highly effective vaccines in record time, Goodison Park was in fine form as Referee Andy Madeley got things under way at 3 pm on a Saturday afternoon.

Southampton were up for the pressing game from the off and it was all very tight, especially when Everton wanted to move forward... and they would end up going backwards all too often. A Calvert-Lewin cross was deflected back for Allan to run onto and fire at goal. A Southampton free-kick wide left was heavily glanced behind by Armstrong.

The diagonal play to Richarlison that James Rodriguez could deposit on a sixpence was wasted three times by other players, easily intersected each time. Gray did fashion a good cross but Calvert-Lewin popped it off the top of his head rather than directing it with his neck muscles.

Everton had to pay full attention when Southampton attacked, the defense hopefully less shakey than it had been the previous weekend at Old Trafford. Allan slid right through Adams, getting only a stern word from Madeley.

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Stevens cleared out Richarlison as he expected an easier passage forward with the ball. A long pass finally fell for Richarlison for him to overlap but he launched his cross too far ahead of the incoming Calvert-Lewin. At the other end, Coleman gifted the ball to Djinepo who was allowed to run right in to the byeline but surrendered the pull-back.

Richarlson was upended by Ward-Prose and the free-kick led to a great cross whipped in by Townsend but again, but no blue shirts in front of the defenders to benefit from it. A dreadful mistake by Keane, showing complete incompetence, and he was mugged; Adam Armstrong got free, firing home with consummate ease into the top corner. What an utterly shameful shambolic goal to give up!

The goal further enlivened The Saints, who were first to every contested ball as Everton struggled to present something approaching a response. But we know from previous occasions that showing spirit when going behind is anathema to most of these players. It remained to be seen if Benitez has been able to change that mentality...

Richarlison did his best to forge a path in but was blocked and then basically dived over the penalty box line and was shown a yellow card for his trouble. Romeu took out Richarlison again and this time he got a free-kick — way back in the Everton half. But it led to a foul on Calvert-Lewin (well won by the Everton man) in a dangerous position, where Everton have been painfully reluctant to take such opportunities... and so it proved with Digne's poor effort into the wall.

Another nice cross came in from Townsend to Calvert-Lewin, bouncing off the top of his head and behind. More nervey nonsense at the back ensued with Everton determined to live as dangerously as possible, but Ward-Prowse's corner was cleared effectively by Allan, before The Saints came right back. Townsend's next cross was absolutely shocking.

Another poor miskick at the back and Southampton were in like Flynn, lashing a shot that Pickford had to save. Everton basically showing no idea how to counter the physicality and speed of thought that was condemning their efforts to repeated failure as half-time approached.

Townsend whipped in a fine corner but McCarthy got his glove to it and Everton were repelled again with no reward. They played out the single minute of added time with yet another weak surrender of possession that was at least redeemed, if briefly, and the whistle came to a round of well-deserved boos from plenty of the faithful. Totally uninspiring.

Calvert-Lewin kicked off the second half and Richarlison won a corner but Digne could not beat the first defender. Another corner and Townsend returned the ball to Richarlison, who poked it rather cleverly into the roof of the net! Fantastic finish to put Everton suddenly right back in the game!

There was a free-kick to defend that caused mild panic at the back but Everton cleared well to win another couple of corners. They should have had a second when Richarllison dummied Digne's cross for Keane to strike but Ward-Crowse was across him instantly to block his goalbound shot. But much better intensity after what must have been a storm of broken teacups from Rafa in the break.

Better flow saw Townsend with another cross from the right but its trajectory and the positioning of players were rather haphazard at best. Gray got a tasty cross in from the left but Calvert-Lewin picked the wrong side of the defender, who gave away another corner.

Southampton weathered the 15-minute storm to win a corner that Pickford had to claw away from under his bar. Then more silly arses trying to play out from the back, Pickford panic-clearing into touch. But Allan got free and Gray crossed into McCarthy's hands with Calvert-Lewin again the wrong side of the action.

Everton could not repel The Saints, who came back for another corner, Pickford having to improvise again. They won another disputed corner that Pickford caught this time. Townsend was fouled but McCarthy could watch it all the way and set up another Saints attack that was only thwarted by some narrow margins.

Saints kept attacking in droves as Everton lost the inspiration, another corner given up, defended by Richarlison, who then did a nice nutmeg and drew the foul. Townsend then got a free-kick wide right but the delivery was poor, behind the line of Everton attackers. Townsend was then replaced by Iwobi but the pattern was maintained: another corner for James Ward-Prowse that came to nought.

A rubbish pass by Keane drew plenty of opprobrium from the crowd as Everton seemed to be slowly sinking back into the bad ways of the first half. A nice ball fell for Iwobi but there were opposing players threatening his space and he backed off. Then a nice cross came right to Iwobi and he just wailed at it as only he can.

But then the moment of the match from Abdoulaye Doucouré, simply fabulous. It came from a very smartly taken free-kick that Doucouré touched out to Coleman, and his cross was flicked back by Iwobi a little awkwardly to Dooucouré who trapped the ball, spun around 360°, and then fired it exquisitely to absolute perfection into the top corner, just evading McCarthy.

With Hassenhuttl making changes, Richarlison and Iwobi combined on the right and Richarlison delivered a cross that could only be converted with a diving header close in, and that's exactly what Calvert-Lewin produced this time, overpowering McCarthy for it to trickle over the goalline!

With the pressure off, Calvert-Lewin then got a dropping ball to pivot onto but he couldn't quite emulate Doucouré, firing well wide. A free-kick for Ward-Prowse won another corner off Calvert-Lewin. Iwobi was then gifted by Richarlison with a great free run and a fabulous chance for glory but he finished as only he can — with an utterly dreadful powder-puff pass to the keeper.

Richarlison came off a minute before the end (good move by Rafa!) to milk plenty of applause for his all-conquering exploits, which had turned this match on its head after an absolutely attrocious first half.

Scorers: Richarlison (47'), Doucouré (76'), Calvert-Lewin (81'); Armstrong (22').

Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Holgate, Keane, Digne, Allan, Doucoure [Y], Townsend (70' Iwobi), Gray (83' Mina), Richarlison [Y:] (89' Gordon), Calvert-Lewin.
Subs: Begovic, Kenny, Delph, Davies, Branthwaite, Broadhead.

Southampton: McCarthy, Stephens, Romeu (80' Diallo), Ward-Prowse, Armstrong, Adams, Perraud (83' Redmond), Djenepo, Livramento, Salisu, Walcott (80' Tella).
Subs: Forster, Walker-Peters, Armstrong, Elyounoussi, Bednarek, Valery.

Referee: Andy Madley
VAR: Darren England

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Reader Comments (359)

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Bill Griffiths
1 Posted 14/08/2021 at 14:02:44
Godfrey must be isolating.
Ernie Baywood
3 Posted 14/08/2021 at 14:13:27
I was trying to figure out the formation. I'd forgotten what a 4-4-2 looked like.

Let's hope the new winged wonders work out.

Alex Gray
4 Posted 14/08/2021 at 14:15:07
James, Kean, Godfrey, Gomes and Gbamin all isolating then. Not ideal at all really. Worried about Doucouré and Allan today. Didn't look fit last week but hopefully an important three points today.

Just hope the fans don't let us down and turn against Rafa on Day One.

Jamie Crowley
5 Posted 14/08/2021 at 14:15:11
Godfrey out is a blow. Let's hope Holgate steps up to the plate.

Really disappointed to not see Gbamin on the bench as well.

DCL, Rich, Gray (who's going to be a good player for us), Allan, Doucoure, Digne -- there's plenty of talent on that pitch to come away with 3 points.

Good luck Rafa. We're behind you. If you start losing I'll personally call for the fanbase to eat you alive, so start winning today please.

Anthony Jones
6 Posted 14/08/2021 at 14:15:17
Optimistic about this one.

Sigurdsson and Kean missing. Neither of which suit high tempo football.

Wide players hopefully with high work rates.

Fast, energetic centre forwards.

Let's go.

Bill Griffiths
7 Posted 14/08/2021 at 14:15:58
After queueing to get food from Goodison Supper Bar, got to the turnstile approx 1:40 pm, queue wasn't too long then and got in fairly easily and quickly. Might be different the closer it gets to kick-off time.

Almost just like old times, hurry up 3pm.

Bill Griffiths
8 Posted 14/08/2021 at 14:19:08
Guess a lot depends on Gray and Townsend putting in plenty of quality crosses for Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison.
Joe Francis
9 Posted 14/08/2021 at 14:20:44
Whenever Ancelotti named an attacking lineup like that at home, we fell apart... This time at least we have wingers, one of whom has the best hair transplant in world football. COYB!!!
Christy Ring
10 Posted 14/08/2021 at 14:29:09
With the five isolating, it's still an attacking team, especially if Richarlison is upfront with Calvert-Lewin. Not surprised to see Iwobi benched.
Alan McGuffog
11 Posted 14/08/2021 at 14:29:55
Strongest side we could put out. Would have preferred Mina to Holgate but otherwise decent. The title is there to be won!

Cheers... yeah, I'll have another large one!

Ernie Baywood
12 Posted 14/08/2021 at 14:35:10
We go top if we win by 5. It's in our hands, Alan!
Brian Murray
13 Posted 14/08/2021 at 14:40:59
Jeez... Iwobi on the bench. We don't want to be giving Pep etc any encouragement to put in a bid, that's crazy.
Ciarán McGlone
14 Posted 14/08/2021 at 14:41:48
Right (sigh)

Despite the doom and gloom and the negative style of play we are invariably going to see from Benitez, this is a reasonable opener for him. The Saints are equally in the shit but we are at home.

Think we will have too much up front despite our poor midfield.

Please god, I hope we win.

Enjoy lads.

Brian Murray
15 Posted 14/08/2021 at 14:43:37
Joe Francis. Post 9. I had mine done with a tattoo of a rabbit on my forehead. From a distance, it looks like a few hares.

I'll get me coat.

Nicholas Howard
16 Posted 14/08/2021 at 14:46:21
I just wonder why Holgate plays in front of Mina? Injury? Sales? Never comfortable with Holgate... too many incidents of lapses in concentration and committing suicidal decision-making. Very strange line up for me.

Also... Soton midfield duo will overwhelm our pairs of Allan (too slow I'm afraid) and Doucouré (a shadow of last season's fit Doucouré). Hope for the best! COYB

Jay Harris
17 Posted 14/08/2021 at 14:50:06

Good to see you up for our first proper game of the season. All will be revealed.

Surprised at Godfrey. I'm sure he was training with the squad on Thursday.

Alan J Thompson
18 Posted 14/08/2021 at 14:53:36
If those players omitted are due to isolation owing to testing positive to this virus then I owe Mr Benitez an apology. I hope that there is some explanation after the final whistle.
James Flynn
19 Posted 14/08/2021 at 14:54:44
Hope springs eternal.

Go get em boys.

Jay Wood

20 Posted 14/08/2021 at 14:58:50
If you can't be excited and hopeful on the opening day of the season, then you must be emotionally neutered.

That's a potent front four in the line up.

Gerinto 'em!

Colette Black
21 Posted 14/08/2021 at 15:12:35
Mugs away!
Alex Gray
22 Posted 14/08/2021 at 15:24:42
Really positive start then the utter pudding Keane with his usual mare. Inexcusable!
Pete Hughes
23 Posted 14/08/2021 at 15:25:17
Softarse Keane carries on where he left off last season!
Kieran Kinsella
24 Posted 14/08/2021 at 15:25:44
Holgate got away with a dreadful error earlier, now Keane follows suit. These jokers just don’t seem to be concentrating. It’s something that we’ve seen all to often from them both
Ciarán McGlone
25 Posted 14/08/2021 at 15:31:44
Emotional neutering sounds attractive at this point..
Ernie Baywood
26 Posted 14/08/2021 at 15:34:05
Shocking from Keane.

Also a symptom of our team. We're a 'get it wide early' side with two blockers in centre mid. You're not going to get given options.

But then if we're a direct team. Just play it direct!

Kieran Kinsella
27 Posted 14/08/2021 at 15:38:07
Calvert-Lewin all smiles as he gives the thumbs up after failing to connect with various crosses. You're not Andy Cole and this ain't Man Utd sunshine. If you get a chance at Everton, it might be the only one – so bloody we'll finish it!!!
Ernie Baywood
28 Posted 14/08/2021 at 15:39:03
Why are we trying to play out from the back? We keep getting caught.

There's no pretence of passing or creative football in this lineup. It's big man, little man up top with wingers. We're setup to go direct. So go direct.

Alex Gray
29 Posted 14/08/2021 at 15:42:12
Utterly frustrating. I actually think we’ve played well apart from our cbs who an utter embarrassment currently.
Andy Mead
30 Posted 14/08/2021 at 15:46:20
45 minutes that prove we need to get rid of both centre-backs. Awful, both of them.
Ciarán McGlone
31 Posted 14/08/2021 at 15:47:26
That goal has knocked any confidence from us... we've been dreadful since.

Before that, it was an even and entertaining contest between two average sides.

Keane... well... he's always got that in him and Holgate thinks he's better than he is. Not a pairing many Evertonians would have chosen.

If we lose this, I fear for a recovery for this manager.

Something special needed second half.

Michael Kenrick
32 Posted 14/08/2021 at 15:50:46
Every single team winning at home... except one.

Utterly abysmal from Benitez and Everton so far.

Kevin Dyer
33 Posted 14/08/2021 at 15:55:56
We looked OK until Keane's blunder, then all the confidence has drained away and they've been given a massive boost.

Our backline is horrific. If Mina can play he needs to replace Keane, who has carried on straight from the City match end of last season and is showcasing all the reasons that he should have been offloaded this summer. Holgate has only been slightly better.

We look leggy and slow in midfield. Allan is as poor as in the Millionarios match - I was hoping he'd pick up with match fitness but he still looks a yard slow and a booking waiting to happen. Doucoure is still technically a mediocre player but even he seems slow now, particularly his first step.

Couple of half chances for DCL but he was on his heels both times and looks off it.

No real options off the bench to change this game, unsurprisingly so it is time for Rafa to show his mettle and get that team out there with belief and composure 2nd half.

Worrying to hear the boos rain down as the whistle went. These are an average outfit that will be down the bottom of the table, we NEED to win this game, no excuses.

Alan J Thompson
34 Posted 14/08/2021 at 15:56:21
Just when you think it is all going fairly well somebody gives a stupid goal away. Why bother trying to work out what he was thinking other than a Stones brainfade.

The midfield while not creating anything did look to be getting forward in support of each other and the front two who again didn't seem to know what each other were supposed to do other than Richarlison was staying wide left.

I hate to say it but it does need that occasional stroke of genius from midfield and perhaps Richarlison to be brought more central.

Otherwise not much has been seen to recommend either team.

Cristobal Aguirre
35 Posted 14/08/2021 at 15:56:44
No chance to avoid relegation this year. Good bye Premier League!.

Mina and Godfrey are so much better than Keane and Holgate, but our manager chose the worst pair of DFC.

Nobody in our midfielders is able to pass the ball, so no chance to create goal situations.

We depend to score from crosses to DCL or a geniality from Richarlison.

two of our best player (rodriguez and kean) are not even considered in the squad.

Those kind of thing are the typical things of a relegation team. Today my prediction is Everton 0 Southampton 3.

Andy Mead
36 Posted 14/08/2021 at 15:58:31
If you lose to Southampton at home you are relegation fodder. So far we are
Kevin Dyer
37 Posted 14/08/2021 at 15:58:55
Andy Mead #30 totally agree. Replace the both of them with one, assuming we have money at some point before the window closes.
Tony Twist
38 Posted 14/08/2021 at 16:00:17
Lessons just haven't been learnt. Embarrassing, all the talk of Benitez being all clued up for his interview and yet he serves up a first half like that. Everyone knows Holgate and Keane are clueless. Debut boy scores on his first game, it could only be away at Everton. If and I say if we score, we will just concede again. Its comical.
Dan Johnson
39 Posted 14/08/2021 at 16:00:25
A terrible lack of creativity, no surprise though, Holgate and Keane together are a liability, but not many options for Rafa, it’s a tough watch, we need to get Gray on the ball.COYB
Nicolas Piñon
40 Posted 14/08/2021 at 16:00:55
Happy to see goodison full again although ok TV!! Apart from that horrendous peace of shite we didn’t played bad but if we don’t replace those CBs we’re going to pass difficult months, sadly.
I wonder if the board can see it.
Jay Wood

41 Posted 14/08/2021 at 16:01:33
That was such a stupid goal to concede. A very even contest until then, since when the Saints look the better side.

Neither centre back covering themselves with glory. Not much coming through midfield. Everton playing very direct pinging balls out to either flank.

Interesting that Gray and Townsend are doubling up on the right flank. Some of our crossing has been good and with Richy and Dom attack those balls you can see it potentially carries a threat.

But the midfield is lacking a craftsman. I wonder where they all are..?

Ernie Baywood
42 Posted 14/08/2021 at 16:02:15
It will take Dogs of War type stuff to save us, and this crop don't have it.

Maybe we will get a head of steam up and start peppering them with crosses. That's the hope and that's the full extent of the hope. The team simply isn't setup to do anything else.

It's like going back 30 years.

Barry Rathbone
43 Posted 14/08/2021 at 16:04:09
It looks like Benitez has adopted the "Wimbledon" long ball style which is good because it gets shut of the delusion we have good players.

It means comfortable survival without the angst of unfulfilled ambition – a bit like the Moyes era so many long for.

Kieran Kinsella
44 Posted 14/08/2021 at 16:05:05
Alun Armstrong must be thinking he's up against Welsh Premier League as opposed to the English!
Sam Fitzsimmons
45 Posted 14/08/2021 at 16:05:34
Does Keane suffer from narcolepsy and is there THC in Holgate's gum? Dreadful performance from two seasoned Premier League centre-backs.
Ciarán McGlone
46 Posted 14/08/2021 at 16:43:21
Thank the lord.

That could've turned nasty.

Alex Gray
47 Posted 14/08/2021 at 16:53:06
Much better second half. Keane is dross; the rest did well. I can now watch Match of the Day. Happy days.
Andrew Keatley
48 Posted 14/08/2021 at 16:56:35
Important victory - from behind, at home. Happy days.

In less happy news, Allan was absolutely shocking. Really really poor. Thankfully his no-show of an appearance didn't cost us, but watching him jog about aimlessly, get in his team-mates way, take up poor positions, and get turned so easily by the opposition... I found it hard to watch and I hope the video analysts can lay bare just how that sort of performance just does not cut it.

Keane did well to bounce back from his laughably bad pocket-pinching by Che Adams, and Southampton didn't have too many clear-cut chances, so I thought the back four did all right, even if Livramento and Djenepo were nuisances for large portions of the game.

Special praise for Doucouré, who more than made up for Allan being rubbish - and Richarlison, who worked hard and made the telling contributions in the game. When he's good he's irreplaceable.

Jerome Shields
49 Posted 14/08/2021 at 16:57:33
Great result. A more effective Everton.
Tony Twist
50 Posted 14/08/2021 at 16:58:02
Phew, I had to sell my soul to the devil at half time to get that result. What a change around, well done one and all including the goodison faithful.
Ernie Baywood
51 Posted 14/08/2021 at 16:58:36
We reverted to exactly what you do when you have no playmakers. High tempo, go long, go direct, win the second ball, cross it.

Every goal came from that avenue. I've no idea why we were pretending to be a ball playing team in the first half. No it's not fashionable, but it's worth having a go.

If your centre backs are crap on the ball, tell them to get rid of it ASAP. Pump it at our centre forward or over their full backs' heads.

We'll scare teams playing like that. It's not got a high ceiling, but it's better to watch than the pointless crap we've been served before.

Christy Ring
52 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:01:18
Superb goal from Doucoure who was our best player. Humble pie for me, Credit to Iwobi who proved me wrong, he played very well when he came on.
Alan McGuffog
53 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:02:37
I haven't seen the game and I gather Doucouré's goal was a stunner. But did he really turn through 360 degrees? If so, wouldn't Pickford have been in trouble... Just wondering.🤔
Mark Tanton
54 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:03:17
Well done boys, a performance with some heart and aggression. Just need Keane to come out of his coma now.

I thought there some good performances- Alan and Doucoure both good, and obviously Richarlison. Gray good too. Onwards and upwards.

Michael Nisbet
55 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:03:45
Delighted with that. I'll hold my hands up and say I was wrong. I had predicted a 0-2 result, but the second half performance was excellent. Coming back from a goal down and winning 3-1 has really boosted my spirits with respect to the new season. Well done Rafa and the boys.
Alan McGuffog
56 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:03:48
Sorry. My bad. See it now
Christine Foster
57 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:04:49
Lord that was hard to watch, especially the first half. Ernie is right, it was nice to see the crosses coming in. Have to say we badly lacked creativity and Keane and Holgate are a dreadful pairing. Well done blues, good comeback but we look a long way short of were we need to be, but a win is a win.4 am.. time for bed...
Jerome Shields
58 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:06:20
Not the defensive Everton I expected, a continuation of Ancelotti. Offensive with pace, hard tackling and direct in the box. Little are know cross the back play. Benitez is different than Ancelotti. Everton have something to build on this performance.

Keane needs time which he is not going get. Can see Godfrey playing and Keane as stop gap. Rafa won't want Keane pushing up to get caught out.

Mick O'Malley
59 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:06:57
Ernie spot on, we are embarrassingly bad when we try to play it out from the back, we’ve got two forwards who are great in the air so we should utilise that instead if pissing about playing it backwards and sideways, we’ll played Rafa for whatever you said at H/T and well done to the players for turning it a round, keep it up COYBS!
Michael Kenrick
60 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:07:17
I am prone to hyperbole on occasion, Alan, but the truth is almost hard to believe on this occasion. He did a canter pirouette my wife's dressage horse would be proud of!

Simply great execution!

Kevin Dyer
61 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:07:36
Night and day performance, so credit where it's due as the players all raised their game 2nd half, and some of them by a big margin. Has to go down to a fantastic team talk by Benitez, so a big plus for me there. How many times have we come from behind to get all 3 points the past few years?

Thought Richarlison was inspired, grew as the game went on, magnificent performance.

Doucoure, looking sluggish first half dragged himself into the match and dominated midfield in the second period. True box-to-box effort and just behind Richy as motm candidate.

The defence looked steadier against what was - in truth - a poor Saints attack. Digne far move involved, getting forward in support. Allan improved from a poor first 45 but hopefully will get better and sharper with game time. JP had a good match and played his part in getting the defence going.

Gray and Townsend, good debuts and more to come from both.

Have to give a shout out to Iwobi. I'm his strongest critic but he was a game-changer today. Neat touches, clever passing and an impact off the bench. Now we need to see consistency and we may just have a player.

3 points and a rocking Goodison, first obstacle dodged for Benitez and let's carry this momentum forward into a sequence of winnable matches.

Feeling great to be a Blue today fellas, not gonna lie!

Alan J Thompson
62 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:07:38
While Southampton were generally unimpressive and we only slightly better in the second half Benitez rose slightly in my mind for the small, easily missed changes he made. Richarlison came more central and his goal showed the nouse he has almost moving in anticipation for the goal. The second was nice to watch and if you think that what they did was premeditated then it was brilliant football. I don't think it was but it was nice to see.

We did play some old fashioned wing play which I enjoyed and I also thought that we saw what Iwobi can do.

I'm not sure it is downside but Southampton might have a bit of a struggle (which I envisaged for us) if they are to survive this season but we beat what was in front of us.

Bob Parrington
63 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:08:04
Take away the crap from Keane and Holgate and looking at the energy of the side, this was a reasonably good performance. It's a while since we've seen a team so energetic, winning much of the second ball etc etc etc.

Good win for the first game of the season.

Stefan Busby
64 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:09:52
#33 Cristobal Aguirre

Nice prediction lol.

Ben King
65 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:10:59
Great win!!!

Pleased with that result!

Well done the boys and well done Rafa

David Hallwood
66 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:12:04
Ernie Baywood(#51) I think gegenpress have trampled over playmakers; all the big teams do not play with a No 10. The nearest is De Bruyne and he's got the voracious work ethic that's lacking in the James's of the world.
Stefan Busby
68 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:12:25
Apologies. meant #35 :D
Jim Harrison
69 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:12:45
I kept thinking, got to get Doucoure on the ball more. He needs to be looking at players like Patrick Vieira for how to play. I though he grew in to the game today and looked good.

Richarlison. Who cares if he doesnt smile. Lad.

DCL. I like him, but he needs players around him to do create the chances. Hopefully Kean will do one and fee up some cash to bring in an alternative attacker to compliment/provide an alternative to Dom.

Steve Brown
70 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:14:51
Tne intensity was so much better in the second half and we began to win the physical battles. Swapping Keane and Holgate at centre back and moving Richy inside worked well - congratulations to Benitez as he made a big difference at half time.

Iwobi was excellent when he came on in the second half. But Richy was absolutely top drawer.

Joe Corgan
71 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:16:20
Cristobal Aguirre
35 Posted 14/08/2021 at 15:56:44

No chance to avoid relegation this year. Good bye Premier League!.

If you wanted proof of the absolutely stupid shit people say, look no further.

Kevin Dyer
72 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:20:49
Energetic and high-tempo football, direct and with quickness and crossing ability from out wide - this template can win us a bunch of matches this season.

Forgot to salute Calvert-Lewin's brilliant diving header, not quite Andy Gray quality but it was hip height and looked simply beautiful, not too mention brave.

Considering our squad was missing quite a few players that would have been in contention due to isolation that was a good result. Really pleased with the character on show after we looked the same old wobbly Everton after shipping a beyond soft goal.

Replace Keane and Holgate with Mina and Godfrey as soon as possible, and get a new right back in because it was a battling display from Seamus but he was running on empty late on.

Not sure how this season will go without significant reinforcements before the end of the month but great to see a reaction from the manager, whom I'm sure was animated in the dressing room, such was the sea-change from a clueless and passive last 25m in the first half. Much better than Silva sticking out his bottom lip on the sideline or Ancelotti looking nonplussed by what he was watching

Gavin Johnson
73 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:23:50
A good performance barring defensive individual errors. We played some good football at times. We looked more direct, fitter and look like we have more energy without pedestrian midfielders like Gomes and Sigurdsson. I could include James in that equation too, and while I can see why he doesn't fit into Benitez's plans, with his assists and goals he has to play a part this season if nobody comes in to buy him.

We still looked shaky at the back and someone should have told Rafa that Keane and Holgate can't play together, but overall I'm happy with much of what I saw. Townsend and Gray look very astute signings that give us a lot more balance. We just need to make sure we bring in a RB. I'd be happy with Dalot or Trippier on loan.

P.S looked like Raffa's message to Doucoure worked....What a goal!

Colin Glassar
74 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:25:07
Rafa the gaffer made some tactical switches which worked, so well done to him and Iwobi who wasn't shite today.
Bill Gienapp
75 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:26:35
A lot of the familiar shortcomings from last season in the first half. Started well for the first 10-12 minutes or so, but Keane and Holgate did their best Keystone Kops impression on Southampton's goal, and things just unraveled from there as we struggled to execute even the basics.

Second half much better. We mostly prevailed on heart and grit, and I'm not sure we would have pulled it off in an empty Goodison, but all three goals were excellent, with Doucoure's obviously the pick of the bunch (I thought 15 minutes from time was a bit early to do the rip-off-the-shirt celebration, but it's the season opener in front of a packed house - I'll allow it).

Thought Gray started really brightly then faded a bit, while Townsend's delivery lived up to the hype, even though nothing came of it.

A come-from-behind victory in Rafa's first match in charge. Silva didn't manage that in a season-and-a-half.

Also more than a little gratifying to see us get the three points while Leeds, the resident darling at the end of last season, got completely dismantled by United, and Villa, who everyone was fawning over as the "winners of the transfer window," fell flat on their face against Watford of all teams.

Christobal (35) - I was fuming too, but this is why it's generally better not to post at halftime, LOL.

Kevin Dyer
76 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:26:42
David #66 well, in Football Manager you're probably right, but there's more than one way to play and win. We didn't play that style at all today, we were just direct and attacked down the wings.

I've said this before but Sevilla a couple of years ago with the immobile and slow Benega pulling their strings were an excellent team and showed that if you surround a gifted playmaker with energy and pace then good things can happen. I don't see any reason why we couldn't use Rodriguez the same way. Every time I watched Sevilla I don't recall Benega closing down or breaking into a run at all. I'm not joking when I say James contributed twice as much as him defensively.

Dan Johnson
78 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:30:11
Much better second half, we played quicker, got forward quicker, more aggression, and scored three good goals, not perfect but 3 points, plus we had 5 squad players missing, well done Rafa and the blues
Dale Self
79 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:30:17
Nice account of proceedings Michael. We all definitely felt the drop-off after the goal but they didn't deteriorate. A halftime talk and moment of brilliance by Richy put us back in it. The fantastic finishes that came were well earned.

Rafa may have some moves with this squad given the production from Townsend and Gray. And that cross to Calvert-Lewin and that whole sequence was Everton as fuck. Get down, Rafa!

Ernie Baywood
80 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:30:54
David #66 They might not play with number 10s as defined playmakers, but they do have midfielders who want to receive the ball and dictate play. We don't.

We have a rangy big lunged unit in the middle alongside a little terrier. They're decent attributes to have as long as you don't ask them to be something they're not.

In the first half we had Keane and Holgate playing out, and Allan and Doucoure trying to come and receive the ball short. That suits precisely none of them. Nor the players further up the field who want the ball out in front of them.

I could actually enjoy watching us play the way we did in the second half. Remains to be seen how quickly an improved level of opposition nullifies it.

Ray Jacques
81 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:36:21
We can't play out from the back as the two centre-halves we had today are nothing short of clowns, they cannot even defend. Remember the fiasco of Spurs at home last season. The two of them have been awful under 4 managers and there is no sign of improvement in either.

A good win but, there are many issues for Rafa to sort.

Jay Wood

82 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:38:46
Happy with the 2nd half comeback which made a nonsense of many a pre-season prediction of the coming Armageddon, as well as some absurd observations at half time.

Saints were decent, but their solitary threat in the 2nd half was from Ward-Prowse's corner, comfortably dealt with by Pickford or his defenders.

Yes, Djenepo looked threatening backing Coleman up into his own penalty area, but if he got beyond him, Keane stepped across to make the block.

We created many more genuine openings and all 3 goals were merited for different qualities.

Richy alert to the ball coming back into the six yard box for the first. Quick free kick, good interplay between Doucoure and Iwobi and a cracking finish for the second. Outstanding work in the build up by Richy, plus his cross for Dom's strikers' instinct diving header.

Gray, Townsend, Digne and Richarlison were putting in decent to excellent crosses all game.

With Richarlison's and DCL'S late returns to Finch Farm they will not be fully tuned into Gray and Townsend yet, so potential for much improvement and more end product in that regard. The balance was better after the break with Gray switched left rather than double up with Townsend as they did in the first half.

No great craft and guile in midfield, but there was a plan and compactness that worked, which is all you can ask for. Winning tactics.

Toss up between Richarlison and Doucoure for me as to our MoTM.

Perhaps we won't be in a relegation scrap after all, eh?

Alan McGuffog
83 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:40:01
Michael...just seen the goals. Your description was spot on. A pearler indeed !

Barry Rathbone
84 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:49:13
Well done, Mr Benitez. This more direct style is what we've needed for a long time. It gives us a bit of impetus and players don't have to think (see Keane for an example of average players thinking).

I still switched off at 2-1 fearing we would do the usual – but no!! We scored a third.

Alan McMillan
85 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:56:36
Richarlison was definitely MotM, he looked up for it; very sharp despite so many games over the summer.

Holgate and Keane are too soft and slow. Looks like Keane is still in a huff after not being selected for England, where better players try harder to prove their manager wrong.

Doucouré was okay, better as the game went on – like most.

Townsend and Coleman did well. Iwobi not too bad either! Not looking for him to beat players every time, just use pace and early passes to get in behind the defence.

Now to watch the Dubs beat Mayo in the All-Ireland semi-finals. Come on, you boys in blue!

Jerome Shields
86 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:57:23
I can see where Rafa is coming from regarding James. He will be too slow for midfield, would have to be played more as a Number 10. Gomes may also have a problem if Gbamin stays fit.

Calvert-Lewin is attacking the near post at last.

Tony Shelby
87 Posted 14/08/2021 at 17:57:57
So the pitchforks are getting put away for the time being then?
Ciarán McGlone
88 Posted 14/08/2021 at 18:01:07
Why do certain posters feel the constant need to denigrate others' opinions?

We are fans, we're not emotionally neutered.

It's not big and it's not clever.

Darren Hind
89 Posted 14/08/2021 at 18:05:47
Lots of pluses.

Keane and Holgate recovered from a nightmare first half... Ended up looking like a decent partnership.

Iwobi made complete cheshire cats of me and all around me who cat-called his introduction – serves us right. "I always knew there was a player in there" was the mantra... after the game! We really are shameless at times.

Doucouré will be better for Rafa than he was for Carlo after being told to get forward... often.

They predictably queued up to get down Seamus's wing. He stuck to his guns... predictably.

The football may not have been the purest, but Rafa somehow conjured up a passion that I for one didn't see coming at half-time; Goodison liked what it saw.

It was lovely to depart a happy ground. High Fives, smiles, and back slapping... We should do this more often!

Grant Rorrison
90 Posted 14/08/2021 at 18:07:36
Decent start... but then we said that last season, and...
Jay Harris
91 Posted 14/08/2021 at 18:09:41
Summing up:

Great start by Rafa. He showed the difference of a manager getting on the touchline, geeing the players up.

Oustanding play by Richarlison who demonstrated his importance to this team.

Doucouré had his best game for a long time.

Seamus and Digne looked very solid.

Good debuts from Gray and Townsend, making a mockery of what we paid previously for the likes of Walcott, Tosun and Iwobi.

The only negative being Keane showing a total lack of concentration or confidence.

Carl Manning
92 Posted 14/08/2021 at 18:14:41
I see all the clowns were blaming Benitez for Keane's mistake before half-time. Keane showing again why he isn't international class.

We played forward more than I can remember and in bigger numbers, quicker than I remember, and more direct. We actually looked like we wanted to win and were interested. We actually crossed the ball into the box. Manager made changes at half-time, we came from behind and won. Everton don't do that!

Very positive day at the Old Lady.

Jason Li
93 Posted 14/08/2021 at 18:16:56
Glad Doucouré got his goal to ease the worry about sharing the goals. He got a few at Watford, and will get more if Rafa knows he can get back to defend when the attacking moment has gone.

At the back end of last season (March or April, was it?) his injury did coincide with us losing that midfield battle in a few games when he was consistently steady up to then.

Hard to debate with our latest world class manager so far. Having a proper winger on the right as well.

Roll on the transfer window for more good news and more squad improvements – out and in.

Andy Walker
94 Posted 14/08/2021 at 18:18:21
Tony 87, spot on, lol. Just wait until the first inevitable defeat for the real backlash.

Well done, Rafa, for sorting out the mess at half-time. We have a weak squad but we do have a reasonable 11 when fit and not knackered. This season is about survival.

John Graham
95 Posted 14/08/2021 at 18:19:00
Good to get a result first game.

Nice to see some good crosses coming over from Gray and Townsend, Hopefully once Calvert-Lewin gets tuned in to them, he will benefit with a few headed goals.

Richarlson looked up for it even after all the recent games and travelling he has done. Just need to get the defence sorted and settled and all of the players back.

Well done, Blues and Rafa.

Brian Wilkinson
96 Posted 14/08/2021 at 18:22:00
Saved my comments for after the match, reading back on some of the comments, you would certainly not want some of those in the trenches next to you.

I have never seen a group turn so quick on a team and manager after only 45 minutes of play.

Let's be honest, Rafa has been left without a pot to piss in, back to the sell-to-buy. What I have seen for the first time in a while, is a manager who is vocal on the touchline, is prepared to make changes, not sit back on a lead.

Make no mistake, in time, Rafa will weed the slackers out, he will ensure there are no passengers on the pitch, and will not make the mistake of playing players on reputation: if they do not pull their weight, they will be dropped.

Give the guy time and he will sort our sorry mess out.

Great start to the season, well done Everton, and well done the fans at the match who got behind and stuck by the team.

Graham Mockford
97 Posted 14/08/2021 at 18:24:26
Surprised Holgate was chosen ahead of Mina, based on last season's performances. And Godfrey will also slot in as first-choice once available.

Generally encouraging, we are going to be much more direct and that will suit Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison in particular.

Also, it's easy to see why James is not really suited to that style of play.

Steve Brown
99 Posted 14/08/2021 at 18:29:45
Colin @ 97, he's beginning the transition.
Robert Tressell
100 Posted 14/08/2021 at 18:34:29
Good comments, Brian #96. It's a 3-1 home victory in the sort of game we often struggled with last season.

Let's see how far work – and what appears to be a more direct style – takes us.

Terence Leong
101 Posted 14/08/2021 at 18:35:30
3 points and a victory coming from behind. Something positive to start the season with, albeit it's against Southampton, which to be fair, can be hard to play against.

I agree with some here that there is no reason why we can't play with Rodriguez. We started last season when he was the main flair player. A limited team, one that is prepared to run and play hard, can certainly afford to play with one flair player.

Brian Williams
102 Posted 14/08/2021 at 18:37:28
If – and I say 'if' – we score, we will just concede again. It's comical.

I just love comments like the above.

Alan J Thompson
103 Posted 14/08/2021 at 18:37:49
I hope I have more nous than to get into a situation that requires armed people opposing each other from trenches rather than discussing it at the table or on a website.
Jeff Armstrong
104 Posted 14/08/2021 at 18:39:10
First half was pretty dire with the Keane and Holgate shit show, Benitez tweaked the formation second half by putting Gray out wide left and moving Richarlison inside, closer to Calvert-Lewin. He also swapped Keane and Holgate around, so he didn't just raise an eyebrow and send them back out with no instructions, he actually did a bit of management.

He was also very vocal and animated on the line which made a nice change. I wasn't impressed by his appointment, but I was impressed by him today... and I'm not getting carried away after one game either.

Thought Allan was pretty poor throughout, misplaced passes, getting in the way of his teammates. Holgate won't last long under this manager either.

Tim Greeley
105 Posted 14/08/2021 at 18:44:37
Yeah budddddy!! What a start, and a “pearler” of a beach day down the NJ Jersey Shore to boot! Can't wait to watch the second half with 10-15 beers later on :))))

Honestly though, I have to say – many of you don't rate Holgate and he has earned that for the most part from last season, but how some of you are roping him in for blame on their goal is ludicrous.

But he is a young player with some skill and some bite so making him a fall guy makes you all just seem like Negative Nancies!! There I said it!!

Colin Glassar
106 Posted 14/08/2021 at 18:51:39
I agree Jeff. Allan is a busy little player but his passing is average, he loses the ball way too easily and his tackling isn’t great. He looked much better at Napoli.
Pat Kelly
107 Posted 14/08/2021 at 18:52:29
Great start. Well done all.

What the fuck was Keane doing???

David Pearl
108 Posted 14/08/2021 at 18:54:47
Jeff, exactly. He swapped around Richarlison and Gray which helped spring us into life. Carlo would have just sat there and done sweet fuck-all. So l am rather pleased with that. I remember how Carlo watched us getting torn apart against Villa so it was refreshing to see the tweaks.

More important was the energy, confidence and attitude change second half. I hope Godfrey and Mina get a chance together soon.

Also, l thought Townsend played the James role so l fail to see again why Rafa wants shut of the classiest player we have?

My MotM has to be Richarlison. Let's hope he doesn't suffer a burn-out because his all round play, scoring, assisting, chasing.... All good.

Well done, Rafa.

Danny Broderick
109 Posted 14/08/2021 at 19:03:38
A good day all round, I thought. First half wasn't great.

I had one right idiot just behind me moaning at the top of his voice throughout – why do people like this go to the match?! He went down at half time, missed the equaliser at the start of the 2nd half, and even then he spent the next 20 minutes doing more complaining… only to start supporting us when we were 3-1 up!!

It's clear we still need to work on constructing attacks. First half, we had limited ideas. There was no link-up between the full-backs and wingers on either side of the pitch. And the goal we conceded was dreadful.

Credit to Rafa for switching it second half. Gray did well with his pace going down the line from the left-wing, and Richarlison was much better playing as a striker. And we defended much better second half, like a proper team.

Lots of positives… but lots to work on. We needed to get off to a good start today, and we did.

Jamie Crowley
110 Posted 14/08/2021 at 19:07:02
I said this on the Live Forum, and I do understand the criticism of Keane.

He had a keeper-esque awful blunder at the worst part of the pitch.


He's not a bad defender, and he played, I thought, very well in the second half.

What more can you ask of a player? Make a terrible play, get up, dust yourself off, and get back to it. Michael Keane did that today in my opinion.

If you give me a choice between Keane and Holgate, I take Keane every single time. He's generally a very solid defender. I, for one, will give him a pass for today's blunder. He was bailed out wonderfully by his teammates, and he responded well to his gaff.

Gary Smith
111 Posted 14/08/2021 at 19:08:03
Pickford (7) – dealt with the corners
Seamus (6) – wish they all had his heart
Keane (2) – 6 in second half, –4 in first!
Holgate (6) – better than Keane.
Digne (7) – great second half
Gray (7) – pace and guile.
Doucouré (8) – let him loose.
Allan (6) – worked hard.
Townsend (6) – left-footed right winger, handy
Calvert-Lewin (6) - good goal.
Richarlison (9) – he's Brazilian!!

Overall, the way we come back is really encouraging. We've been lacking heart for 2 years. Can't start like that, though, and mistakes like Keane's have got to stop.

Phil Bickerstaff
112 Posted 14/08/2021 at 19:13:21
In all the years of supporting my Everton, I have never felt so low. The crap players we cannot move on and the pathetic unfair FFP rules.

Football is shite. We will carry on with the same 6 clubs winning everything, year-in and year-out. Can you imagine if the Red Shite had not got us banned from Europe, we would be flying high. Unfortunately things never happened that way.

Yes, today we won... but, without player investment, it will be another season finishing mid-table.

Charles Brewer
113 Posted 14/08/2021 at 19:13:27
I haven't seen anything apart from the score and comments so far, but one thing is clear – something happened at half-time.

For as long as I can remember, conceding the first goal has been the kiss of death for Everton performances, which is an indication of poor motivation and lack of confidence. The best managers (Mancini vs Southgate?) can take a side which has played poorly in the first half, change players and formation and inspire a different second half, and it would appear this is what Benitez has done.

An Everton team which can come out fighting in the second half will be something new and, I hope, be much better.

David Israel
114 Posted 14/08/2021 at 19:15:08
Relief is how I can best describe my feelings at the end of the game. Not just because we turned it around, but mostly because we won a game that we should win – which did not happen frequently last season – and there was clear evidence that all doesn't have to be doom and gloom.

Also, as a few on here have pointed out, it is nice having a manager that gets busy on the touchline, for a change.

Finally, a word for Danny O'Neill, if he happens to read this: your round trip was well worth it! Get back safely to the smoke. I'm sure you even won't mind your better half's shopping spree!

Jay Harris
115 Posted 14/08/2021 at 19:22:19

I have to disagree on Keane. He is a seasoned international, not a raw kid, and the reason I won't give him a pass is that he has these brain-farts far too reliably for a centre-back. He knows you don't stand on the ball when you are the last line of defence.

Other than that, all positive vibes today.Solid performance all round even from the unchosen one.

Peter Mills
116 Posted 14/08/2021 at 19:42:04
Having expressed my disillusionment with modern top-flight football on here, I have to say this was an emotional and enjoyable day.

I strolled up to Goodison with my son and 7-year-old grandson, thinking of my Grandad and Dad with whom I first visited the ground in the early '60s. Getting in was easy, then it was fond “Hello's” to many match-day acquaintances. The stadium didn't look like it had been tarted up, given that work has started at Bramley-Moore Dock, I assume little money will now be spent on The Old Lady.

There was a very nice tribute on the screens to those lost, the crowd were up for it, Z-Cars came on, Sr Benitez was applauded generously.

I didn't think we were atrocious in the first half; we were okayish, and tentative. The concession of an awful goal could have killed us, but it didn't. We are desperate for a commanding centre-half to partner Godfrey, I have little faith in Keane, Mina or Holgate. Allan was poor.

The early goal in the 2nd half was crucial, and we played some good stuff. Doucouré was excellent, Seamus was very good, Iwobi did pretty well when he came on. Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin playing in the middle looked promising.

Happy faces at the end. It was great to see a happy Goodison Park.

George Carroll
117 Posted 14/08/2021 at 19:44:48
Has anybody heard that Brands is leaving the Blues ?I am hoping its untrue
Jamie Crowley
118 Posted 14/08/2021 at 19:52:53
Jay -

Firstly hello mate, hope you are well!

I think Keane played very well in the second half. Your point about him making errors too often is a fair opinion. I think a lot of what Keane does well goes largely unnoticed. He's not a "sexy" centre-back. He's a big fella, not fast, and he defends.

I appreciate him. And looking at the centre-backs we presently have, he is easily in our top 3 and therefore, due to a long season, will be called upon often.

Let's hope he's Mr Unappreciated and defends, and doesn't repeat today's gaff too often.

Raymond Fox
119 Posted 14/08/2021 at 19:54:10
Gary you give Keane a 6 in the SH and a 4 in the FH and yet you rate him a 2! There's some consistently miserable souls on here, you'd think they're actually disappointed when we do well.

Also glad to see Iwobi got some well deserved praise instead of the 'all climb on the bandwagon' shit he usually gets.

As for Keane, find me a player who doesn't make a mistake, they don't exist.

Benitez is just the sort of 'all hands on deck' manager we need at this time. I'm not expecting fireworks but he'll get the best out of what we have. Today, we got some much-needed confidence all round.

Michael Roberts
120 Posted 14/08/2021 at 19:59:46
A guy in front of me who I've sat behind for 20 years wasn't there today. He was in his 50s and died of COVID. His brother was in his seat and told me. Absolutely devastated we weren't friends but always chatted at the game. He'd have enjoyed today's comeback. A sad loss.
Bogdan Kotarlic
122 Posted 14/08/2021 at 20:11:09
I am very satisfied with this win. The team played well and after conceding a goal we scored three times to earn vital three points on the opening day of the season. This season, the expectations from the fans are not as huge as the last season and maybe that lack of pressure could help us.

Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin both scored, Doucouré also, and maybe these three players could be those who will carry us through the season.

Southampton is a good team and this win is important. It will give us a massive boost and also Benitez will get even more credit from the Everton fans.

Once again, a good win and a very nice day for the Evertonians.
Kevin Molloy
123 Posted 14/08/2021 at 20:13:29
This was such an important result. The players will have seen the manager tested by a tricky half-time, and see him handle it with aplomb, so they will be more likely to listen to his advice going forward.

I'm so pleased he got a good reception from the crowd. If this thing clicks, we could be on the verge of finally getting things right. He's top notch. He's done that tinker job at half-time now so many times with a 3-goal second-half turnaround.

Suddenly, the season looks bright.

Peter Mills
124 Posted 14/08/2021 at 20:14:23
Bogdan #123,

That is a very good summary of the day.

Simon Dalzell
125 Posted 14/08/2021 at 20:14:30
The result was all that mattered today considering the circumstances. Nobody can be crititicized for lack of effort.

I was told Godfrey was playing so, when I saw Holgate, my heart sank. He didn't disappoint. A headless chicken again. No composure and spreads panic throughout. How he plays before Mina is one for Arthur C Clarke...

One poor team and one very poor team. If that's Premier League football... well.

Today highlighted how urgently we need quality. We did as well as we could with the players that were available, but I have little confidence for the following weeks with this bunch.

Looks like Southampton could be fellow relegation candidates, so maybe this was a vital 6-pointer.

John Boon
126 Posted 14/08/2021 at 20:16:39
If Benitez could be blamed if we had lost then surely he should get some credit for the win?

Better to forget the first half. Benitez must have done something right at half-time because the second "serving" was far sweeter. It is far too early to make predictions but perhaps we may get some of the team playing up to their true ability.

I think Ancelotti had lost the manager - player relationships. Hopefully a new manager is given a fair chance to get the best out of what he has got. We still need more creativity in midfield. Plenty of activity in the middle but that is never a realistic substitute for the genius who can turn a half-chance into a goal.

All defenders make mistakes that can be disastrous enough to give the opposition a gift goal. Unfortunately we seem to do it far too often. I am as nervous as a bag of trapped mice when Kean and Holgate are the defensive back pair. Mina and Godfrey please, for the next game.

Michael Lynch
127 Posted 14/08/2021 at 20:16:51
Goodison rocking, a fighting come-back, a screamer from Doucouré, Richarlison on fire, Gray looking a bargain, and Iwobi like a new signing.

And, to cap it all, Rafa was my Man of the Match for some astute tactical tweaks and 90 minutes of passion on the touchline.

What a great start to the season!

Jim Lloyd
128 Posted 14/08/2021 at 20:24:03
It was great today. Not just the result, but meeting the mates in the club, going to the ground, and seeing everyone there who I hoped would be there. It was great to hear us all making Goodison rock and a good place to be.

I thought Southampton were a decent side. Strong at the back, quick to get stuck into us, and dangerous when coming at us. Thought we were doing okay until Keane made a howler of a mistake and then we began to visibly lose heart. Even so, Richarlison, Gray and Townsend looked lively.

In the 2nd half, Gray and Townsend attacked on the wings with Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin (who I thought had been well handled by the Southampton defence in the 1st half) giving them a lot of trouble down the middle. I was glad for Iwobi, thought he done well. Shame about his shot but it was a brilliant run that got him the chance anyway.

All-in-all, we got better as the game went on. The two lads who cost £1½M between them, looked very lively, did a lot of work, and put in some really good crosses; Gray looks dangerous on the ball as well. All good goals, well created.

Top marks to Rafa... and to us supporters!

Michael Burke
129 Posted 14/08/2021 at 20:25:53
Raymond #120, read the post again: MINUS 4 first half, 6 second = 2 overall!
Dave Abrahams
130 Posted 14/08/2021 at 20:26:14
Peter (117), I enjoyed the day because I saw it much the same as yourself. I got in early because I anticipated long queues and a longer wait; no queue and no wait at all.

I read all the messages from families to their loved ones, including one paying tribute to a great Blue getting buried on Monday, good job I knew about him. Goodnight, God Bless, John Drew, you loved Everton more than me.

You would have been very happy with that result, seen all the faults and appreciated the good points (quite a few) and would have roared with joy as we came from behind to win this game.

Still poor passing aplenty and we went off the boil after a decent start but picked ourselves up with a couple of astute changes and sent us all home, not ecstatic but a bit more than reasonably happy.

It will do for starters and possibly two or three new strong players to come in before the deadline closure will give us more assurance that the season will not be as bleak as some seem to think it will be.

Gary Smith
131 Posted 14/08/2021 at 20:28:52
Raymond, I rated him as a minus four in the first half, and a plus six in the second. Add them up... then wobble your head. :)
Ian Bennett
132 Posted 14/08/2021 at 20:29:20
Fair play to Rafa and Richarlison, they turned it around.

Playing more direct, with plenty of delivery into the box, is an improvement on the tippy-tappy shit we've been served up since Moyes.

Not convinced on Allan tbh. Whilst Holgate and Keane underlines that they're both fucking dreadful. Whoever bought and sanctioned Michael Keane's transfer needs sectioning. He's just awful.

John McFarlane Snr
133 Posted 14/08/2021 at 20:29:40
Hi Peter [117] I agree with you regarding the tribute on the screens. I spotted the name of someone I used to play football with many years ago. I know that there are some fans who don't rate the work done by 'Everton in the Community' but it's gestures like this that make me proud to be an Evertonian.

Regarding the game today, I thought that we were on the back foot for the first 10 minutes or so, but picked up a little, creating a couple of goal scoring chances from low crosses. However, the goal conceded by the defensive error handed the impetus to Southampton. Sitting in the Park End and my eyesight growing slowly worse as time goes by, I will have to wait for 'Match of the Day' for clarification.

At half-time, things didn't look so bright, but you may be sick of reading that I believe, 'anything can happen in a game of football', and it came true today. I left Goodison today with a smile on my face and a spring in my step, I know that there are some who complain that there isn't enough entertainment in the game, but I suspect there are many more who regard favourable results as more important. The ideal is that we watch entertaining games which end in victory, but I'm afraid point-earning results are the be-all and end-all at the end of the day.

John Keating
134 Posted 14/08/2021 at 20:33:23
Apart from Keane's mistake for their goal, he and Holgate just didn't look a good fit from the kick-off. They wander about and are far too far apart. Just didn't look right together.

I thought Benitez did well adjusting things at half-time. It was very noticeable and worked well, so good on him for that.

It was a bit disappointing at half-time with a few boos. Some dickhead was slagging Benitez off from before the kick-off! Still moaning at full-time! Unbelievable.

Good to see Doucouré playing further forward.

Long season ahead but maybe a bit more patience required from all. Attacking midfielder and right-back and we'll be okay!

Ian Burns
135 Posted 14/08/2021 at 20:35:55
Bloody hell, Simon @126 – don't hit the gin tonight it might just deepen that depression!

Yes, we needed the win and, for most fans, it was a sweet confidence booster, particularly having gone behind. In addition, we are seeing a manager involved and actively participating in the game and, along with his changes at half-time, contributing enormously to the result.

Southampton may well go down but we won't although it won't be much more than mid-table. Cheer up: 40 points, here we come!

John Malone
136 Posted 14/08/2021 at 20:37:58
Jamie Crowley 119 shout of the night that mate!

“Michael Keane is easily in the top 3 of our centre backs!”

We’ve only got four!

Hahahaha tickled me that well in mate.

Eddie Dunn
137 Posted 14/08/2021 at 20:38:03
Rafa switched Keane and Holgate round at half-time. Then they looked much better. Makes me wonder why he didn't start them this way?

It was a different side second half, even Iwobi did well!

Clive Rogers
138 Posted 14/08/2021 at 20:40:17
Allan is past his best and is now an average player at best. If we can bring in a midfield general type of player, he is the one to be replaced.
Gavin Fennessy
139 Posted 14/08/2021 at 20:41:40
Really relieved things picked up in the second half. That first-half performance was worrying, especially on the back of the home performances from last season.

I thought it was very encouraging to see the crosses delivered from the new lads on the wings. We needed something from the game and that in my opinion is a weak Southampton team. I thought the fitness and physicality of our team was perhaps the biggest difference in getting the 3 points.

Obviously, I think we can all do without another match with Holgate and Keane as a pairing. It has been tried and, like the Spurs match last year, they appear to lack a collective focus. Communication seems to be absent. It may come down to their individual abilities, but both have looked much more solid alongside Mina.

Benn Chambers
140 Posted 14/08/2021 at 20:43:10
I have to admit, when I seen the starting 11 and the bench, I wasn't confident. Mainly because I knew for a fact the central defensive pairing was a disaster. Neither Keane nor Holgate should be in our starting 11 but as a pairing, they are complete and utter Chernobyl.

Also, the bench. Looking at the 6 players out isolating, realistically some of them would be starting and most would make up the bench.

I think it's time Keane is dumped, ideally out of the club but certainly from the starting 11. Mina and Godfrey must be our central pairing going forward. Ideally we would bring a centre-back in and let Keane or Holgate go. Keane has been suffering from a lack of confidence since the day we signed him. He's just not for me. He's a bag of nerves and a disaster waiting to happen. He's also too slow. I hope Benitez has quickly learned this.

On a lighter note. I thought from an attacking perspective, we look like we will score goals and cause any team problems. We now have pace in Gray and Townsend and Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin will always score goals. It's refreshing to see so many crosses raining in to the box. Must've been more in that game that there was all of last season combined!!!!

I like the look of Doucouré in his proper Watford position and he should be played higher and he is capable of being a source of goals from midfield. I'd fear for Allan if Gbamin finds his feet. He still looks a little slow for this league. Very capable footballer but the games often seem too fast for him. Gbamin seems a lot more physically suited to the pace of the league but his ability to stay fit will determine that. We'll see anyway.

I'm hoping the window brings us what we need because a couple of injuries to key players (god forbid) and we'd be in trouble.

Lastly, special mention to Rafa for seeing what was needed and sorting it. Dunno what he did or said at half-time but it worked.


Paul Birmingham
141 Posted 14/08/2021 at 20:44:00
Good to see Goodison Park and the pubs in flow, like Lazarus today.

A determination, grit, belief, some great play and skill, in the second half.

The mistake for their goal is a potential in every game and Holgate and Keane, - “Near and Miss', in terms of risk assessment terms at work, don't install any hope and reliance in myself and perhaps other Evertonians and the players.

But a great come back and Leeds up next. Richarlison and Gray to shreed the Leeds defence, and secure a good away win.

Good confidence booster, and well done Rafa, and the verciferous Everton crowd, helping finish off a stubborn Southampton.

Forget the rest, it's about Everton; let them worry about us.

Jim Lloyd
142 Posted 14/08/2021 at 20:46:21
Dave Abrahams, Glad you made it to the match and see the tribute to those who didn't, including your mate. Nice touch by the club.
Mike Gaynes
143 Posted 14/08/2021 at 20:48:02
Pete #117, great report. Glad you guys enjoyed the day so much.

I'm with Jamie #119 on Keane. Yes, he's limited on pace, but he's intelligent, strong, can pass the ball well, and has shown great courage and commitment even through difficult times. Nobody has ever accused him of being lazy or not giving his all for the shirt. Today was the first monumentally stupid thing I've ever seen him do, and everybody's entitled to one of those.

Charles #114, like most here I didn't want Rafa, but I gotta say it's been years since I've since an Everton side explode out of the locker room for the second half the way we did today. We earned a goal and four corner kicks in the first five minutes. Rafa clearly did some skin-peeling of these guys at the half, something that they've so often needed but didn't get in recent seasons. Plus the Iwobi sub, which drew universal groans on the Forum, worked great. So here's to the FSW for a proper first day on the job.

Finally, Dave #130 and John Sr., I was thinking of you both today while watching the game from halfway around the world. Glad you were there and you BOTH came home with springy steps.

Kristian Boyce
144 Posted 14/08/2021 at 20:48:50
Despite Keane's performance, especially during the first half, I bet he's going to be Rafa's first-choice centre-back for the season.

By the looks of things, we're going very direct this season. Keane's long ball distribution is one of the best at the club (possibly will be the best when James leaves). We will be seeing a ton of those long diagonal passes like we did today out to the left wing.

Rick Tarleton
145 Posted 14/08/2021 at 20:48:56
I agree with what has been said about the centre-backs, but do remember that Keane was good for much of last season and that Holgate and Mina were far worse last season.

Keane may have had a dreadful game, but has frequently been a good choice. Holgate is struggling and has been for some time.

Keane and Godfrey would, to me, be the best partnership.

Andy Crooks
146 Posted 14/08/2021 at 20:52:18
Great result and I am so pleased to see Blues back at the game enjoying a win. Hope everyone had a brilliant day.

First competitive game for the coach: 3 points, 3 goals, and a decent welcome. For me, a fine start. Had the score stayed at 0-1, I reckon we would already have hit 500 posts on here...

Danny O'Neill, our new lucky charm. Hope you are home to enjoy MotD, Danny.

Mike Gaynes
147 Posted 14/08/2021 at 20:53:13
Rick #145, maybe at some point, but the fact is that most of our best wins last season came with the Mina & Keane pairing.

Holgate was poor again today, and to me, he is the clear 4th choice.

Danny Broderick
148 Posted 14/08/2021 at 21:04:31
Some absolute nonsense being spouted on here about Michael Keane. Yes, he made a dreadful error for the goal. And yes, he made an awful pass straight into touch in the second half. But those moments aside, he had an okay game.

He recovered well after his mistake, he made several headed clearances in the second half from corners and made a great tackle when their left winger cut in and put Coleman on his arse. I thought him and Holgate were strong second half. I don't recall their strikers having a shot?

Let's be fair with criticism. If players turn it around after a mistake, let's be fair and give them credit for doing so. I'm not saying Holgate and Keane are world beaters, but they played well second half. The whole team did.

John McFarlane Snr
149 Posted 14/08/2021 at 21:11:52
Hi Mike [143],

It's kind of you to be thinking of Dave and I, but I trust you won't be offended when I say that you were never on my mind. Because, as I have stated on this site once or twice, when Everton are playing at home, my world is 120 yards long and 75 yards wide. I am oblivious to anything that may be going on in the real world, and I think that applies to all followers of the 'Beautiful Game'.

I intend to stay around long enough to share that bottle of Guinness with you and the other friends I have made, "Fellow ToffeeWebbers" wishing you and your family best wishes.

Mike Keating
150 Posted 14/08/2021 at 21:24:05
Beware the Fly in the Loaf. As ever, we went to the Fly for a few pints after the game only to be turned away because we hadn't booked a table to watch the RS on telly.

Went to the Roscoe Head instead. Great beer and plenty of Evertonians.

On the way home, popped my head through the door of the Fly where I was now welcomed with open arms – game over, pub empty – fuck ‘em.

Brent Stephens
151 Posted 14/08/2021 at 21:35:10
"Iwobi made complete cheshire cats of me"

Oh yes!!!

John McFarlane Snr
152 Posted 14/08/2021 at 21:37:53
Hi Danny [148],

I have been ridiculed on this site by saying the players are not machines that can be programmed, but that's what some fans are demanding. I often use the example of Calvert-Lewin smashing in a 30-yard screamer, the consensus of opinion is that no goalkeeper in the world would stop that, but if the opposing centre-forward scored exactly the same goal, the cries of Keane should have closed him down, or Pickford was too far off his line.

What it amounts to is that it's okay for the opposition to make mistakes, but woe betide the Everton player who does so.

Ian Riley
153 Posted 14/08/2021 at 21:38:10
No negatives! Showed guts, showed desire and real pace!! Today, since under David Moyes we fought to come back!!

We are going to make mistakes! New methods being implemented! Rafa will as well with tactics as he gets to know the players!!

All I have asked for is more desire for the shirt! Not a bad start!

Oliver Molloy
154 Posted 14/08/2021 at 21:51:02
Despite Keane's best efforts, Benitez's reign begins with a home win.

I expected us to win today, but what the fuck was Keane doing? That was so poor from an experienced centre-half, and Holgate's attempted challenge wasn't up to much either – both of them way too slow.

I thought Southampton were much more "up for it" in the first half. Our midfield, particularly Allan, looked like headless chickens and, in some instances, we were quite poor all over the pitch.

The second half got off to a flyer and gave the team the confidence to push on, roared on by the crowd from what I could hear.

Very happy with the 3 points but lots of work to be done. If this had been a Top 6 side today, I reckon we would have been in trouble... time will tell. COYB.

Danny Broderick
155 Posted 14/08/2021 at 22:03:20
John (152),

You're exactly right. I'm reading here by some ‘experts' that Keane should be dumped out of the club!! For fuck's safe, get a grip! Mistakes happen. Keane could have gone under today after that horror show of a goal he gave away – great finish by their lad by the way.

But I thought our whole team didn't give them a sniff second half all over the pitch. Keane dusted himself off and produced a decent performance after his mistake. Why does there always have to be a whipping boy, even when we win 3-1? I will never understand it.

Ben King
156 Posted 14/08/2021 at 22:07:37
Danny #155,

You're spot on. It's this ‘perfection' attitude that puts so much pressure on our players and strangles the creativity

We should be winning because of our fans, not despite them.

Phil Smith
157 Posted 14/08/2021 at 22:10:06
Yes, Keane was at fault but he had zero movement in front of him, which made him delay his pass and then he totally got robbed. Holgate had to take everything (man and ball) to make sure Adams didn't pass it through. 2 mistakes in a row in the Premier League usually leads to a goal. Better, much better, with Mina in there.

Bit long ball today. Plenty of crosses but lacking Rodriguez's guile. Let's see how we do next game.

Mike Keating
158 Posted 14/08/2021 at 22:14:34
Iwobi a breath of fresh air when he came on.

Sorry, Colin!

Jim Lloyd
159 Posted 14/08/2021 at 22:17:18
Danny (155),

I called Keane all the names under the sun for that cock-up. I also called Dominic for letting their two centre-halves bully him.

Keane, I don't rate as a top centre-half; but he didn't fold and worked hard for the team; and 5 minutes after I'd said Dom hadn't got into the game... he scored! I think it's time I remembered they're our players!

I agree with you that our manager and our team tore into them in the second half and you could see confidence flowing through them. It's counter-productive getting on our own players' backs.

So I'll slap my wrist for calling out our own players and desist in the future; but pour myself a bottle of Abbot for admitting it.

Mike Jones
160 Posted 14/08/2021 at 22:40:27
Benitez knows our limitations. None of this 'playing out from the back' shit. Faster and more direct. I hate the Red Shite as much as the next Blue but I'm not sure our manager cares about allegiances; he cares about his own reputation and I for one don't care as that second half was better than anything I've seen in the last two seasons.
Stuart Sharp
161 Posted 14/08/2021 at 22:41:08
Great atmosphere today. Wonderful to see old faces. Good to see the team play with a bit of desire, and more direct, and to see a manager make influential changes at half time. Pleasantly amazed to see Iwobi make a good contribution.

Disagree about Keane... I'd pick Mina and Godfrey, personally, and I didn't see Keane 'recover well' until after our goals. Thought he looked nervous and made a couple more bad mistakes as a result... but overall a great day and a very satisfying result.

I hope Danny O'Neill had a great day back up north.

Tony Abrahams
162 Posted 14/08/2021 at 22:46:59
Some good summaries and Paul Birmingham, after going on about the Birmingham game from 40 years ago last night, I hope you done the same score line in the bookies today mate! Same everything except the weather, with us even coming from a goal down to win comfortably.

I hate criticising players, but Keane is not good enough imo, because it's impossible for us to go and really play on the front foot when he's in our lineup. Playing on the front foot is so very important, and is why I think we need to go and sign a commanding central defender, which will also go and help to let Ben Godfrey develop naturally.

John Raftery
163 Posted 14/08/2021 at 22:51:56
I have not seen the television replay yet, but at the game, I thought Holgate was almost as culpable as Keane for the goal. They were too close to each other. The spare centre half should always be alert to a slip-up by his partner and position himself accordingly. Holgate failed in that respect.

As we know, Keane is a very good penalty box defender in a team defending deep. In that role, he had a decent second half. Outside his own area, he is suspect with his decision-making and lack of agility on the turn.

Otherwise, I thought it was a decent team performance. It was most certainly not a dreadful start. We began the game in positive fashion with some good work by Gray and Townsend in the opening 20 minutes. The opening goal disorientated the team for 20 minutes but at least they did not crumble.

After half-time, we outplayed the opposition with quick passing and movement in front of a solid defence. I thought Doucouré, with his driving runs, tackling, passing and covering was outstanding before he scored. His goal cemented a Man of the Match rating as far as I was concerned.

Richarlison's energy throughout the game plus a well-taken goal and a cross for the final score suggested perhaps that participation in an Olympic tournament is not the worst preparation for a new season.

I was in a small minority who thought Benitez was the best qualified candidate for the job. There is much to do to improve the squad as individuals and as a unit. It will take time but today offered evidence that Benitez is up to – and as important – up for the task.

Daniel A Johnson
164 Posted 14/08/2021 at 22:54:36
At times our football under Ancelotti was spineless cowardly and gutless.

He was a damn lucky fella we had an empty stadium last season.

Already under Rafa we seem more direct and willing to go for a win.

I was 50:50 with Rafa but (whisper it quietly) I think it could prove to be a masterstroke. Anyone who can get a tune out of our first 11 deserves a chance.

Brent Stephens
165 Posted 14/08/2021 at 22:55:42
John, agree, Mason should not have dwelt alongside Keane as the latter fiddled with the ball. He should have been stepping back in case Keane made a mistake.
Ray Roche
166 Posted 14/08/2021 at 22:59:07
John @63

I agree entirely with your comments, I would only add that Iwobi played very well when he came on, credit where it's due.

Rob Dolby
167 Posted 14/08/2021 at 23:21:49
Toothless first-half topped off by a mistake from Keane. I do think Southampton are in a bit of trouble this year so it was important to get the win.

Got to give credit to the manager for changing formation in the 2nd half. Matching their 4-4-2 turned the game on its head.

Doucouré was my MotM, he looks a different player running forward with the ball.

2 centre-backs looked shaky all game. At 0-1, Keane and Holgate looked awful. At 3-1, Keane is pinging passes about effortlessly. I like Keane for being an honest defender that throws himself into battle but, if we continue playing a higher line, I can see him getting dropped sharpish.

It was good being back in the ground, I enjoyed the atmosphere and seeing familiar faces though I also felt that I was taking part in a mass social experiment. I just hope that there aren't massive spikes in Covid as a result of fans being allowed back in.

Benitez got a warmish reception, no more, no less. The only way he can keep the fans on his side is to keep winning.

Jim Lloyd
168 Posted 14/08/2021 at 23:32:09
I'd just add to my earlier post about Keane... and I think Holgate as well. Neither of them fill me with confidence at times during the match. However, I think it's fine to assess players before or after the match. Debate their good points and bad points, attitude – anything you like.

During the match, though, they're our players playing for our club. I don't think it does any good at all to criticise them during the match, if they're pulling their tripes out.

They pulled their tripes out today and we, the supporters responded. It was a great atmosphere, especially in the second half.

Jamie Crowley
169 Posted 14/08/2021 at 23:37:46
John @ 136 -

It's those pearls of wisdom I drop so often that really make the posts shine!

Point being, Keane is going to get time on the pitch, and I'm not ready to run the fella up the pole for that awful blunder. He's played some solid stuff at the back for long stretches for Everton over the years, played on a terribly injured foot, if my memory serves, and I can never, ever fault his effort. I like the kid, and if he screws up terribly, as long as it doesn't become commonplace, he's okay by me.

But his error was awful. Like completely "What the fuck are you doing?" awful! I move on. He's not a serial poor player by any stretch. He doesn't shit out, and he doesn't give up / not try.

Cheers. Look for more pearls throughout the season. I promise I won't disappoint! 😜

Jamie Crowley
170 Posted 14/08/2021 at 23:47:37
I agree wholeheartedly with John Rafferty @ 163 and with Brent at 165.

Mason Holgate is standing too close to Keane, then loses concentration and places his thumb squarely up his ass, and then puts in a terrible tackle knowing he's the last man defending!

It's an awful effort to protect his centre-back partner. Terrible.

Watch again @ 2:05 and see for yourself.


Yes, Keane is at fault. But he got zero help from Holgate. Terrible anticipation and effort where a quality centre-back should step up and save the day.

Mark Ryan
171 Posted 14/08/2021 at 23:50:09
Utterly abysmal from Benitez and Everton so far says Michael Kenrick @ 32. Why blame Benitez for a fuck up by Keane and why not says well done to Benitez having them won 3-1? Let's blame Benitez for anything shit but, if it's something good, we'll just say nowt.

I said to my son before kick-off, watch ToffeeWeb implode with "Benitez is shit" if we go 1-0 down and watch nobody say well done to him if we actually win. I'm glad to see that some people have done the decent thing and making positive comments and giving him credit when it is due.

If we are to support this team, let's give the manager and the players some credit, at what is a very difficult time for the club, when the team tries to play with passion, as it did today.

Paul Birmingham
172 Posted 14/08/2021 at 23:53:32
Tony, yes, uncanny, but let's hope this is the start, but life is good and can be grand very soon for Evertonians.

Leeds will be a tough game but I believe Benitez will get the team in the mode to give their all.

Today, the crowd were superb, and the whole squad showed more directness and positive forward play across the whole game than in any match last season.

Early days and we know not to get carried away.

All Evertonians enjoy this day and here's to many more good days this season.

Feck the rest.

What's Our Name?

Michael Williams
173 Posted 14/08/2021 at 00:01:26
To Daniel A Johnson #164,

Yes! “Anyone who gets a tune out of our first 11 deserves a chance.”

I will just add that this squad is maybe a bit above average barely because of Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison. If we list those two, we are in a world of hurt. We are not Europe quality, we are top 10 at best.

I will support Rafa because he's the manager and I believe he actually cares about the club.

David Pearl
174 Posted 14/08/2021 at 00:08:48
Mark, to be fair, we were pretty awful first half and didn't get going till the second. Michael reports with the same raw emotion we all have. While Lyndon digests things first.

Lots of positives. Richarlison looking the most match fit funnily enough. We seem to be playing to our goal scoring strengths, as in get the ball in early. Encouraging signs from Rafa and l really enjoyed the energy.

Kieran Kinsella
175 Posted 15/08/2021 at 00:21:53
In fairness to Keane, Holgate earlier and Coleman later gave up possession carelessly right outside the box but luckily Southampton were not ruthless enough to punish us. Personally, I think Keane is alright with a solid authoritative figure beside him. Holgate is not that. He seems to have poor concentration and you end up with neither trusting the other and more mistakes.
Kevin Dyer
176 Posted 15/08/2021 at 00:26:03
Mike #143,

Off the top of my head, I can think of two blunders last season. Hammering the ball against Holgate in the Spurs cup match, and his attempted dribble through the Man City midfield in the disastrous season finale.

Keane is a solid option if a team plans to sit back and repel crosses all game, such as he did at Burnley. Anything more progressive and he's a liability. Slow and turns like the Titanic. Also commonly misjudges floated deep crosses, weirdly (see Spurs FA cup 1st Kane goal for what I mean). Passive and not a leader.

Amazed a few posters still clinging on to the theory that we will be battling relegation, or can aspire to mid-table at best. Granted, Southampton are relegation candidates this season imo, but we won handily today, posting the highest xG stat of any team so far, and completely turned that game around at half-time. Other then Keane's gift, they created very little. And we were missing several players that would have been options today.

Bill Watson
177 Posted 15/08/2021 at 00:27:40
Rob #167

Yes, it was great to be back after so long but I found it a bit alarming that virtually nobody was wearing a mask. It was the same on the football bus back to town but a bit better on the train.

Ernie Baywood
178 Posted 15/08/2021 at 00:43:34
Mark, the 90-minute revisionism is just as bad.

What we witnessed in the first half was terrible. A team with limited ability and movement being shown up for their weaknesses. People claiming it was just an individual mistake followed by a tactical masterclass are missing the point. The first half was crap. That remains the case.

In the second half, we saw a team playing to its strengths. Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison want the ball in the box early. Townsend and Gray want it in front of them early. Doucouré and Allan prefer combat to tiki-taka, the centre-backs are happy playing it direct rather than finding passes, the full-backs want to follow up the pitch.

Pickford will have an easier time being asked to go direct than the pressure he's been put under by being asked to recycle possession. I'll guarantee fewer keeper errors with that style.

The difference was stark. I'm happy enough with a direct style. And it was a pretty unashamed direct style.

But we also need to see where that will take us because that kind of football has its limits – that's the reason that the top teams don't just go direct and win the second ball.

We'll also need to find some squad strength playing at that tempo. Benitez has talked about improving fitness. They'll need it.

John Boon
179 Posted 14/08/2021 at 00:43:38
John (152)

As you well know, we are not the same age. Because I am 1 year younger, I have always gone by the old adage to "Respect Your Elders". Actually, I do respect your thoughts and points of view because they are very similar to mine in most things regarding Everton.

Your perspective of today's game was exactly as I saw the game. You had the joy of seeing the game live and you left with a jaunty step, which is always provided when Everton win. I watched from my Canadian living room with my offspring, also rabid Evertonians. I also left my house elated shouting to a deaf back yard "We Won!!!"

However, regarding your post (152), I would like to respectfully disagree. You have sensibly adapted to not being overly critical of Everton players. I am not so forgiving, particularly when I see handsomely paid footballers not putting forth an honest effort. Effort was not a factor today.

Mistakes will always happen so I am not too critical of Keane's "howler". However, every Evertonian does have their own point of view and ToffeeWeb is one of the few ways I can express my feelings. I have never liked the Keane - Holgate combination and I need to put forward my feelings in print.

But that is still not the reason for my response to your post (152). You indicated that Evertonians can be very harsh on any player in Blue who makes a mistake. They can even shout and scream and direct their venom towards the player. You said that, if an opponent makes the same mistake, they don't do anything.

Really John, the reason is very simple for me: I just don't care what the team we are playing against do. I don't care how many mistakes their left-back makes. Actually... the more, the better! I don't say "Oh what a bad pass" by their centre-back. I just smile and hope he keeps on doing it. But if Keane or any Everton player does what he did today, my natural response is unprintable, as is my description of him.

That is not because I actually hate him. I don't. But because he is playing for Everton, I can feel only what my mind and body tell me to feel and, at that moment of insanity, that is how I felt... Honestly!!!

By the end of the game, I had forgiven him, mainly because we won. I feel I know how every Everton player played but, for Southampton players, all I know is that they wore striped shirts and I don't give a monkey's uncle how any of them played. I will care if one of them transfers to Everton but, if they do, they had better not do a Keane!!!

John and I communicate on a regular basis so I just hope he does not take this as a lack of respect for my slightly elder elder. Any response accepted, although by now John McFarlane Snr should be in bed dreaming of Everton. Or having a nightmare about The Keane Man!

Andy Crooks
180 Posted 15/08/2021 at 00:49:51
Good summary, Ernie @178.
Pete Clarke
181 Posted 15/08/2021 at 01:11:57
Relief is the word I will use. I was so full of fear for us getting beat in this game which could have had a shocking effect on the team.

Credit to the manager and players to come back and win that game after a really awful first half. I thought Calvert-Lewin was bang average but that goal was as excellent and very brave.

Doucouré has the energy to get up and down the pitch and he is far more useful in the opposition half than our own so hats off to him for a great goal.

We put a few crosses into the danger zone and that's encouraging from the new boys.

Confidence is everything so let's hope this win lifts the players and fans alike. I am happy to be proved wrong as I didn't see that win coming at half-time.

Mike Gaynes
182 Posted 15/08/2021 at 01:26:33
Kevin #176,

Yep, and I can think of a couple additional mistakes last season and a second one today that nobody noticed because it didn't cost anything. All defenders make mistakes, and Keane is no exception. But this is the first one I've ever seen, in nearly 150 games for us, that was simply rank inattention, brain lock, a complete howler.

I won't crucify him for it. He'll never dazzle us with greatness, but Everton has no braver, more honest, more committed, more professional player than Michael Keane.

Now let's hope Rafa has learned the dangers of the Keane & Holgate combo and will consign Holgate to his appropriate seat at the end of the bench.

Bill Watson
183 Posted 15/08/2021 at 01:36:03
Nice to see the side actually looking up for it in the second half, albeit the early equaliser helped.

Many are slating Keane and Co but I think our real problem is in midfield and has been for some time. Often they don't make themselves available as an outlet, when a defender has the ball, and we saw the result, today. Our collective midfield seldom dominate or control a game which is why we had such a poor record in overcoming deficits.

I'm one of Iwobi's biggest critics but he did well when he came on and, with a little more composure, would have got on the score sheet.

Overall, some very encouraging signs. A lot quicker moving up the pitch and I really liked the first-time crosses. Once Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison realise the ball will actually be delivered, they'll start making more runs.

A special day for me as Sandra, my late wife, was on the Tribute screen. It's one of the things which makes our club a bit special!

Nicholas Ryan
184 Posted 15/08/2021 at 01:41:43
Well... that could have been an awful lot worse!
David Cooper
185 Posted 15/08/2021 at 01:47:42
Google news are saying that the tribute video played before the game had a picture of Anne Frank in the tribute and included numerous fake names. Can’t find any more information. Could someone have hijacked the video?
Bill Gienapp
186 Posted 15/08/2021 at 01:54:54
Keane is what he is. He's had some very good performances for us and, by and large, is pretty dependable. He also played on an injured foot that nearly had to be amputated and came back from a skull fracture as soon as possible. You certainly can't question his heart.

On the other hand, we're all aware of his limitations, and that's not going to change. He's never going to look fully comfortable playing in the more progressive style we aspire to, which has always been the main issue with him, big picture.

James Flynn
187 Posted 15/08/2021 at 01:55:47
I only get to see it on TV but the Goodison roar does it to me every time.

Kudos to whoever that fellow was Doucoure ran over to. Doucoure is a big boy and that fellow just grabbed him and lifted him off the ground.

Derek Thomas
188 Posted 15/08/2021 at 01:57:20
There, that wasn't too bad was it, Benitez's brief step up and quick wave on the pitch, got a muted but not disrespectful welcome...both crowd and ex-rs Squire of Caldy looked/felt wary, a bit like two dogs not sure of each other, but nobody was going to make an aggressive first move.

They both started in what used to be termed 'typical cup-tie fashion', but slowed down a bit after 20mins as the new season novelty wore off. Keane got the ball but with nobody really open to pass to...Holgate being too close, went into indecisive panic mode and got his feet mixed up and we were down a goal.

Least said about the rest of the half the better, we couldn't really have complained if we went in 2 down - but we didnt.

The Squire obviously did more than blow on his half time,Bovril at HT, but what ever he did worked...that in its self is a first.
The rest as thry say is history
We were better with 2 men centrally, from what we've seen of Gray, Townsend and Bergovic, it was up to now, £1.7M well spent.

Next week we have to face the recently arse smacked Leeds, who will no doubt be out to make amends. Never an easy task going there for some reason.

All things considered, it could...and has been, a lot worse. A decent platform to build on - if we can...if there is anything to build with.

Bill Watson
189 Posted 15/08/2021 at 02:06:19
David #185

Some RS teleclappers dominate the comments section on Everton articles in the Red Echo so it wouldn't surprise me, one bit, if they spend the rest of their time on the Everton website.

They must live really sad, unfulfilled, lives.

Pete Clarke
190 Posted 15/08/2021 at 03:10:04
TV cameras showed a few of our old heroes at the game. One I particular caught my attention and that was Peter Reid.

Reidy is only in his mid sixties so still relatively young but to me he doesn't look very well. Hopefully I'm wrong on that.

On the other hand, Big Joe Royle was in the crowd looking as fresh as a daisy.

I would love to have players of their ilk in our team today.

Terry White
191 Posted 15/08/2021 at 03:13:53
John (#179),

I think you are talking about Keane, who is a defender, and not Kean, who is a forward. I do wish we could spell correctly the names of our players.

Jamie Crowley
192 Posted 15/08/2021 at 03:23:42
Bill Watson @183 -

Brilliant. It's a wonderful gesture to pay homage to your late wife.

I'll be at Mass tomorrow, and I'll throw one up to the Big Man for her.

Great stuff man. Bless her.


It warms my heart when I read stuff like this on TW. Doesn't matter if you're religious or an atheist, nice remembrance, and ergo, my best to you, Bill.

Steve Brown
193 Posted 15/08/2021 at 03:53:07
To be fair to Keane, I was trying to recall another example of where an individual error by him resulted in a goal but couldn’t. It was certainly a howler but he doesn’t make many.

The combination with Holgate is not the right one though, as they both lack that little bit of confidence and composure.

Mike Gaynes
194 Posted 15/08/2021 at 04:37:44
Steve, I don't think Keane lacks confidence -- that's not the problem with his Holgate partnership. The difference to me (aside from Mina being a better player than Holgate) is the communication between Mina and Keane when they play together. The conversation is constant. You saw it today in the 10 minutes Mina played.
John Boon
195 Posted 15/08/2021 at 05:08:12
Terry (191).. My apologies for my not giving the "e" to Keane. (179). My spelling must surely be as bad as his defending. However, I stand corrected.

My (179) post, with my despicable spelling, does show that we all have our weaknesses. Mine is my spelling, while Keane's is merely playing football. Terry, do you have any faults? Have you ever considered becoming a Preecher, a Preeest, a Vickeeer or a Teechar?

Danny O’Neill
198 Posted 15/08/2021 at 06:35:00
Apologies for not reading through everything. I only got in at 1 am this morning having left the house at 8 am yesterday morning. A long day but worth it regardless of result. As planned, I met with my brothers and cousin as well as a few of my dad's old mates.

Caveat; I'm not great at assessing Everton at the best of times, let alone when I'm watching in the flesh, so this is just a raw "how I saw it" from the Upper Bullens. I haven't even seen the highlights yet. Credit Michael for being able to write almost seemingly live!

Let's get the negatives (if you want to call them that) out of the way. Michael Keane has worried me since we signed him. Please, Mr Benitez, don't play him and Holgate together again unless we have no other options.

Mistake aside for their goal, he almost cost us another before half-time with a typical Michael Keane moment. Ball drifted overhead, has the "Oh shit" moment, but isn't quite quick enough on the recovery side. He needs to read the game better.

In honesty, a dreary first half that was only separated by the mistake in my opinion. I also thought our problem at right back is something teams will target unless we sort it. Southampton certainly tried yesterday. There was a period in the second half where they were seemingly continuously probing that flank and winning a lot of corners on that side.

Talk about a game of two halves. Whatever the manager said at half-time worked. I'm guessing one thing he said was to tell the centre-backs to stop being scared of a football. Also, we seemed to have Richarlison playing more central second half. I still don't know if we went 4-4-2 or we had Richarlison playing in the No 10 role. But it worked.

Doucouré was awesome. Close call between him and Richarlison for Man of the Match but I'll tip Doucouré and not just for the goal. His energy and forward running was immense.

Credit to Richarlison. Many criticise his attitude, but a young player having just come back from an international tournament and not had a break in 2 years putting a shift like that is has to be commended.

Allan done a very good but unassuming job of breaking things up. Once again, the unofficial captain. Constantly talking and what I liked is something "nice little Everton" has missed; a flea in the officials' ear. Who I thought was biased. I need to watch the Richarlison yellow again. I'm convinced there was contact as the Southampton pack targeted him on one of many occasions.

I also have to give Jordan Pickford credit. Although in the first half, he smashed it aimlessly, I think he too was lacking confidence in his centre-backs. He looks much more mature and calm. Much more commanding.

Townsend and Gray gave us an outlet and much-needed pace and I have to say, Iwobi made a difference when he came on!

Anyway, what a day. Benitez in a blue suit stating "the majority of them know I like to fight" when asked about the Everton fans.

Dogs need walking and I haven't looked at how much I spent let alone what the wife spent in compensation. This might not look pretty.

Football hey. Leeds thumped, Arsenal embarrassed and Villa beaten. It's one game and let's not get carried away, but before kick-off yesterday, they were clubs predicted to be miles ahead of us!!

Bill Watson
199 Posted 15/08/2021 at 06:42:01
Jamie #192

Thanks for that, Jamie. We were both. Sandra was a RC who was married to an atheist. I appreciate your intention, at Mass, as I'm sure she would have done.

All the best to you, too!

Danny O’Neill
200 Posted 15/08/2021 at 07:19:53
Reading back through some of the posts, to be clear, Keane isn't a "whipping boy" for me. Not my style. I just don't rate him and to maintain my consistency, have been calling for a new centre-back for some time even though some don't agree with me in terms of it being a priority.

It wasn't just that mistake yesterday by the way. Or over his time at the club. He's 28 and not going to get much better than what he is.

Credit the crowd yesterday. Common these days for crowds to turn early if things aren't going well. Goodison didn't.

Steve Shave
201 Posted 15/08/2021 at 07:36:48
Good result yesterday which I am thrilled with (though not getting carried away). Watching the highlights and I also felt a real sense of happiness for fellow Blues who got to return to Goodison and watched the match.

Thanks for the report, Danny and others on here who got to the game; for those of you who are able to enjoy it, I am really pleased for you. Some (who shall not be named) simply cannot seem to enjoy anything and instead bitch and moan even when we are winning!

I think some of the comments on here towards Michael Keane are disrespectful, he might not be our most talented player but he has put in some real shifts for us; he is not prone to making those mistakes and is a solid team player.

That said, it's interesting how both he and Holgate have over the past few seasons (though not last season in the case of Mason) had spells of really good form for us, now both seem like our 3rd and 4th choice centre-backs. Don't forget that many were calling Mason a future England centre back 2 seasons ago.

It might be too soon but could we promote young Branthwaite and take some £££ for one of Keane or Holgate? It would be a way of getting around FFP. Now before I am slated for that, I am not suggesting Jarad play every game but, as 4th choice, he could get some valuable minutes and experience in Everton's first team. He didn't let us down before, he is also very fast and I rate him highly.

We still need some signings, it will be very interesting to watch the rest of the transfer window with potential sales of James, Kean and maybe Tosun. If we can't get rid of Cenk and Rafa likes 4-4-2, maybe this could be the season we see something from him? He can't play on his own, that's for sure.

We aren't going to be spending a lot (a new right-back at least, please, Marcel!) so, in this respect, Rafa may well end up being an inspired choice to steady this ship. Ha, ha, what a fickle bunch we are! Agree with a comment above that credit must be given where it is due and Rafa has started his tenure by showing experience and the courage to make changes.

Could Gray end up being the bargain of the season? Seems like he is going to get lots of opportunities to play, maybe Goodison is the place where he finally settles and reaches the potential many saw in him for years. Happy Blue here – COYB!

Steve Brown
202 Posted 15/08/2021 at 07:42:47
Good point and good spot Mike G, thanks for sharing.
Steve Shave
203 Posted 15/08/2021 at 07:43:22
I saw a comment somewhere that described DCL's goal as having a touch of the "Andy Gray's about it" and I couldn't agree more, seeing it trickle over the line and then Dominic running behind the goal to celebrate gave me chills.

A mention too for Gbamin, I really feel for this guy, I don't know if we will ever see him but wouldn't it be so great if he could stay fit and beast that midfield!

Derek Knox
204 Posted 15/08/2021 at 07:44:20
Danny, I know we all see things differently, but my humble opinion is that Keane is not a bad centre-back option but being paired with Holgate (who I don't rate) didn't help yesterday. Having said that, I don't think Keane is the best we have in that position, but nevertheless usually a reliable option with a chance of a goal too.

As you say, I do believe the crowd can really lift the side especially as like yesterday, going behind to a brainfart in defence with a gifted goal, but the lad took it well, and they could have had another but for Pickford's keeping. Second half was more apparent, now whether that was the crowd, Rafa's words or the players' embarrassment, or a combination of all three, is a matter of conjecture.

Although Leeds were pasted by Man Utd, I don't think they will be an easy game away at Elland Road next. Our second half performance equivalent will be needed for starters, then possibly up it for the second half again. Looking forward to it all the same, and great to be back to 'normality'.

Michael Connelly
205 Posted 15/08/2021 at 08:00:30
A lot of people on here slating Keane, and he did cock up for their goal, but the reason he is picked is that his head is like a magnet to the ball. Clears so many long balls and incoming crosses, and is a major reason for the amount of goals we don't concede. Makes the odd mistake, but worth his place in the side, hence why successive managers keep picking him.
Lester Yip
206 Posted 15/08/2021 at 08:04:53
To be honest, I quite enjoy the game even the 1st half. There are good crosses put in the box and I know with the right connection there would be a goal. Unlike previous seasons we tend to be over-cautious. We worked and worked the ball from back to opponent's half and back again waiting for that perfect moment. Yawn...

£1.5M for both wingers is a steal. The speed and directness is brilliant.

Darren Hind
207 Posted 15/08/2021 at 08:06:18
Our central defensive partnership will be discussed throughout this season if we play like we did yesterday. There is a clear difference between the "defensive masterclasses" we witnessed last season and what happened yesterday.

Carlo defended in numbers, not quality. We simply did not allow players up the pitch. There were always insurance policies around to sweep up errors like Keane's yesterday. Expect more of that if Rafa is going to ask his attackers to attack and his defenders to defend.

Keane can pick out players at a distance if given time on the ball, but he is not the same player when he is being harassed. His short game isn't up to it. He'll adapt to the changed landscape.

Quite why Holgate is being held responsible in any way for the goal is beyond me. I wonder if people making these comments have played the game? In the old days, defenders in his position would have just hacked the forward down once he had got there first and knocked the ball past him but, if you do that today, you end up playing with 10 men. He was simply run over by the bus he had been thrown under.

We were shaky right across the back four in the first half yesterday, with all our defenders making poor choices. It was the first game of the season, remember, and the crowded house they played in last season was a little emptier... But everyone of them improved and we defended excellently in the second half.

I thought it was clear that Southampton were targeting Seamus throughout the second half. They were clearly testing his ability to still "do it" but, in the face of some of the game's best movement and trickery, our boy was defiance personified... even ended up taking the game to them.

I'm made up. Our midfield were playing a good 5 yards higher than we were for most of last season. Townsend, Richarlison and later even Iwobi looked to test their full-backs on more than one occasion, and young Gray had me on the edge of my seat with his impressive change of pace – I look forward to more of that.

Hopefully Keane will adapt to life outside his own area. Hopefully Rafa can knock the cockiness out of Holgate which he has demonstrated since the moment he was given a fat contract. Hopefully Godfrey will come back and be as imposing as he was last season.

Hopefully we will win 3-1 every week and the biggest concern we have is a few early mistakes from the centre-backs.

Flaws? Yeah, there was loads, all over the pitch. The footy wasn't quite School of Science, but we showed a passion and an intent to win the game yesterday. Given my pre-match reservations, I would have snatched your hand off if you had offered me this before the game.

Danny O’Neill
208 Posted 15/08/2021 at 08:17:44
He's not a bad centre-back, Derek. He's a good one. But I just have never felt totally comfortable with him. I might be being harsh and maybe it's based on where I'd like to be rather than where we are now.

I wish someone could have coached reading the game into him when he was younger. I always use Carragher as an example. He made up for lack of pace by reading the game and anticipating.

I'm not going to dwell on it and it's nothing I haven't said before. He's a good player, I just wouldn't play him and Holgate together.

I still haven't watched back, but the diving header from Calvert-Lewin was excellent and I suppose you could say Andy Gray like. But for me, it was Richarlison's role in the build-up that made me purr like a kitten. A great take, quick play out to the flank, positive running to receive the return, and a first time cross that put it on a plate for Dominic.

As I said, torn between him and Doucouré yesterday, but Richarlison showed his quality in spades.

Danny O’Neill
209 Posted 15/08/2021 at 08:26:14
I thought that too, Darren. At the time, could Holgate have cleaned out the player when the pass was played short? But then he'd have been looking at a red.

It was encouraging to see us on the front foot second half. Although the same personnel in the centre, the midfield just looked different.

Yes, as mentioned above, they were hitting our right channel and right-back a lot in the second half. I was in that corner of the ground and was seeing it right in front of me.

Pleased with the day. Pleased with the result. Pleased with the performance in the context of first game of the season. Pleased, but not getting carried away!

Geoff Lambert
210 Posted 15/08/2021 at 08:40:03
Holgate should have won the ball. No need to foul, just make the tackle with his left foot, not a half-arsed attempt to try and kick it with his right.
Danny O’Neill
211 Posted 15/08/2021 at 08:49:42
Match of the Day. Looking forward to the highlights.

Although that cheesy "Sweet Caroline" intro has got me off to a bad start. They've ruined one of my favourite Apres Ski songs as I will now associate it with the England football team!

I know they're only highlights, but it might put some of my interpretation of yesterday into perspective.

Duncan McDine
212 Posted 15/08/2021 at 08:57:15
No need to get carried away with that win, but the 2nd and 3rd goals were fantastic. As others have said, we look direct and quick to get the ball forward which I like… is this a tactic that we'll see all season, or simply a by-product of Sigurdsson and Gomes being unavailable?
Paul Swan
213 Posted 15/08/2021 at 09:07:42
I would hope the club has a record of who submitted names and photographs for the tribute to the supporters who passed away. If so name and shame the arseholes who submitted the false names and image that was used. Let's see how funny they then find that.
Colin Glassar
214 Posted 15/08/2021 at 09:10:25
Darren, your positivity is quite alarming. Are you on the verge of becoming a “happy-clapper”? Btw, I totally agree with everything you said re fight, passion, tactics etc… all spot on in the 2nd half. Long may it continue.
George McKane
215 Posted 15/08/2021 at 09:13:18
Danny @211, hope you enjoyed the whole of your day, it was tremendous to be back.

Re: MotD, that's why I always record it and watch it Sunday morning. I never watch "those", I fast-forward to the matches I want to watch and Everton's game.

Good start to the season, let's see but always keep the "posso waves".

Andrew Brookfield
216 Posted 15/08/2021 at 09:18:15
A good performance yesterday and a good start.

I'd sell any two of Keane, Holgate or Mina and replace them with Koubilaly (promoting Jarrad to fourth choice). A new right-back and we'd have a very strong defence.

Our midfield with quick passes and movement suits the players we have. Gbamin as first-choice central defensive midfielder, with Allan as his backup. Doucouré playing as a box-to-box midfielder. I'd be happy if Gomes was moved on, but I think he would flourish more in this new system than that static role Carlo asked him to play.

I'd love to keep James, and have him and Gray competing for the No 10 spot, behind a No 9 of either Calvert-Lewin or Richarlison. In that respect, we wouldn't need any more strikers and any money brought in for Kean could be reinvested in defence.

Southampton are a poor poor team, and I don't think we should get too excited about the win, but you can only beat what's in front of you and great to get back to winning ways at Goodison Park.

Well done, Rafa... we'll done, Iwobi, UTFT.

Eddie Dunn
217 Posted 15/08/2021 at 09:19:04
One thing I noticed watching the game on Hesgoal was Duncan talking animatedly with Rafa. He seemed to have some genuine input – unlike when he was with Ancelotti. A battling performance ensued.
Denis Richardson
218 Posted 15/08/2021 at 09:25:04
Thanks for the write-up. Let's make no mistake here, this was a huge win.

3 points aside, the win and the manner, coming back after a poor start, means the anti-Benitez brigade stays at home for now. This alone is our biggest threat this season imo.

There will always be a hardcore minority against Benitez, even if we do a Leicester, but this win and hopefully continued progress will make that minority very small and increasingly irrelevant.

It's only the first game and lots of work to do but I'm over the moon we've started with a decent home win. We've gotten lucky with a relatively easy start so hopefully we can put more points on the board before the first international break.

10-12 points from the first 6 games would be excellent. (I hope Richarlison gets some rest at some point otherwise he's only going to have half a season….)

One game at a time but a happy Sunday to all Blues.

Scott Robinson
219 Posted 15/08/2021 at 09:29:52
The title of this article is totally off IMHO.

Yes Keane made a 'dreadful' mistake, but hey it happens in football.

Let's now look at the positives for a change:

- the team won under Benitez in the Premier League for the first time.
- the crowds were back.
- we scored 3 goals (one of them incredible); and
- they came from behind to win handsomely!

Honestly, I think we've all been used to so much negativity, especially on TW. Is the glass half-empty or half-full? I know where I will be this season with Everton FC.

Danny O’Neill
220 Posted 15/08/2021 at 09:30:00
It was a great day George. Family and Everton family topped off with 3 points!

One thing I noticed because of where I was sat was the reception Theo Walcott got and also his appreciation to the Everton fans.

Not the most popular during his time here, but very telling that he stayed behind on the pitch with the Everton players and ran towards the temporary away team changing room long after the rest of the Southampton team had left the pitch.

He got a really nice reception from that corner of the Bullens and the Park End and returned the gesture.

Tony Shelby
221 Posted 15/08/2021 at 09:35:37
Scott (219) - I thought that.

It’s a new season under a new regime. Time for all of us to press reset and leave prior baggage behind us, including TW.

Paul Tran
222 Posted 15/08/2021 at 09:40:27
That's a game we would have lost under Ancelotti. The players seemed to do the first half on memory, the usual disjointed, slow mess, punctuated by a few decent balls into the box from Townsend & Gray.

Credit to Benitez. Made switches and clearly got the message across to the players. Did or said something to spark them into action. Playing on the front foot, with aggression and pace is contagious, on and off the pitch.

We did those basics well and that gives our talent space to do their stuff.

Doucouré was immense yesterday. He minded the centre-backs when they went to pieces in the first half, covered for the woefully off-pace Allan. If Gbamin can stay fit, he may be a better option.

Best thing (apart from it sealing my acca!) is that, because it's Benitez in charge, we'll get less of the hyperbole after a thrilling win.

A good start. A blueprint. Can he get them to produce that energy, pace & aggression consistently?

Tony Everan
223 Posted 15/08/2021 at 09:40:54
Thrilled with the reaction from half time, we looked like a team that is starting to gel. More effort, commitment, quicker to the ball, desire to attack. It was a joy to watch a tenacious Everton team refusing to lie down and determined to impose themselves. This is one happy Evertonian! That I had a few £s on Doucouré to score from his more advanced role is just the icing on the cake.

I think it's important not to get too carried away, we are a work in progress and it's early days. Next week will be tougher but the signs are there we are on the right track. A bit of unity is needed whilst we are in the formation stage of a new Everton era because it's a certainty it's not going to be plain sailing. Progress and success is going to be gradual rather than instant, this concept has to be accepted by the fanbase if we are going overall in the right direction.

Well done to the manager and the players for coming back from a nasty, potentially demoralising, goal down to win. They showed the character and identity that are prerequisite for a real Everton team. The future for us looks a bit brighter this morning, and who knows, there's maybe still one or two important signings to come to strengthen us further.

Colin Glassar
224 Posted 15/08/2021 at 09:42:21
Paul 213, just seen a report about that. Some people have no sense of time or place. Everything has to turn into a joke. It was a well meant tribute which was ruined (to a degree) by these morons.
Jerome Shields
225 Posted 15/08/2021 at 09:44:05
The ironic thing is that Everton in the second half did to Southampton what lower division sides have being doing to them for this past 5 years. Rafa turned the tables on a first-half huff and puff Southampton to go all-out attacking, mainly crossing Everton in the second half.

How many times have Aston Villa, Newcastle, Fulham, Bournemouth, Southampton and Sheffield United done the same thing to Everton over this past seasons?

This performance is a good sign for Everton accumulating points in the coming season. . . It will be interesting to see how Everton's away play stands up, starting with Leeds next week.

Ian Burns
226 Posted 15/08/2021 at 09:45:58
Danny @198 and Darren @207 – just to say two excellent reports and why I don't bother to write down my own thoughts!!

John Boon @179 – loved that post, a mirror on my own mind.

Thanks, guys!

David Pearl
227 Posted 15/08/2021 at 09:48:02
Danny, good to hear that about Walcott after some of the abuse l witnessed a few times.

It will be interesting to see how we play against the better teams but that set-up saw us back to being the Everton the crowd wants to see.

Not surprising that Richarlison was match fit but hope he can keep that up. I'm sure Allan will have better games, l wish people wouldn't write him off so soon. With the 5 to return, the squad isn't looking so shabby, although we are relying heavily on Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin.

Neil Gribbin
228 Posted 15/08/2021 at 09:49:48
There are numerous fans who want Benitez to fail, and aren't even prepared to give him a chance. That obviously extends that Everton would fail? I can't get my head round that thinking. Hopefully yesterday might shut a few of that gang up.
John Boswell
229 Posted 15/08/2021 at 09:57:56
I was unable to watch the match yesterday, only have BBC Match of the Day and the result to comment on.

Last season, we struggled to gain a home win; today, we got one. We came from behind to win. We scored 3 goals and conceded 1. Reasons to be joyful. COYB

Ian Edwards
230 Posted 15/08/2021 at 10:00:05
Trust everyone had a decent Summer. I was pleased with what I saw yesterday. The passing was quicker and crisper. Crosses were fired in and it good to see attacking play with width.

Benitez showed his coaching acumen. He changed Keane and Holgate's positions at half-time. Played Doucouré further forward after Ancelotti wasted him last season. Iwobi did an assist. The team rallied well and overturned a half-time deficit for the first time in 6 years.

Onwards and upwards.

Danny O’Neill
231 Posted 15/08/2021 at 10:05:53
You absolutely should, Ian Burns. That's what this is all about. Sharing views and opinions even when we don't agree!

I still think I have a bit of the happy juice in me after a long day yesterday. Only one cure. Brunch and get myself to the local to watch today's football.

Considering the pre-season trepidation. I'm feeling positive about this season. I always do, but I have a hunch about this one.

As I said yesterday morning at 8 am-ish, when I was on the train outside Wembley Stadium. We're going to Wembley, so tell yer Ma!!!

I said I wouldn't get carried away. Sorry!!

David Pearl
232 Posted 15/08/2021 at 10:12:05
Wow. Anne Frank? How did they miss that one?
Kevin Dyer
233 Posted 15/08/2021 at 10:14:51
Mike #182,

Keane was generally effective last season because in most of the matches we sat with a deep backline and when he doesn't have to worry about space behind him (see: the lofted crosses that he is prone to misjudging, as Danny has mentioned several times) or being turned, then he is a good defender. If we are planning to play like that, then he'll be fine. If we intend to set up further up the pitch, he is and will continue to be a liability.

He isn't going to get faster or more agile or improve other aspects of his game; he is the finished article. It's my opinion that he should be sold, if this is possible.

You mention one error that cost a goal yesterday, although correctly acknowledging that he did cock up a couple more times but, due to the quality of the opposition, we were able to come back and win. Against a better team, he'd have cost us 2 or 3 points and to drop points in the first game of the season, with another 37 opportunities to do so, would fatally undermine our chances of securing European qualification, which has to be the aim.

Keane is a brave, generally solid defender, but very much a system player and, if we are not going to play that system, then he is not going to have a good season. I'm sure Karius is a good guy and a decent player but Klopp ruthlessly replaced him after his disaster of a Champions League final. This is why they win stuff and we don't. Being a decent all-around guy and committed Everton player doesn't mean he should be starting for us; if he can be upgraded, then this needs to happen if we are to progress.

I agree with Darren, how Holgate – the current whipping boy in the team – was blamed for Keane's mistake is mystifying.

I am not putting the boot into Keane. Every player can make an error, but some are suggesting the "lack of options" in midfield as vindication and that is an argument but can't recall the same excuses being offered for "gum-chewing, arrogant vaudeville villain" Holgate against Villa last season. There has to be balance and consistency in critiquing players, or it's a total waste of time. In both cases, if an immediate pass is not on and you are being closed down, go direct. Keane is 28 and has played hundreds of games at high level.

Danny O’Neill
234 Posted 15/08/2021 at 10:15:22
Last one for a while I promise as I'm getting some glaring looks from Mrs O'Neill and concerning looks from the dogs.

But what I didn't realise yesterday was Seamus Coleman's cute lobbed pass into Iwobi before setting up Doucouré for the second.

Seamus Sheedy. Those who know will remember the home match and lobbed pass to Adrian Heath in the 86-87 championship season!!

Ernie Baywood
235 Posted 15/08/2021 at 10:28:30
Do you know how Michael Keane arrived at this point in his career.

He was the best player in his school team. He dominated his local league. He started attracting attention and one of the biggest clubs in the world snapped him up. Surrounded by the best talents in his age group, he stood out enough to be offered a deal. No shame in not breaking through, but he was good enough to earn a move to a decent a Premier League club where he excelled and earned a big money move as well as international caps.

Crap? No, he's not. You don't achieve what he's achieved without having qualities. The key is playing to his strengths.

For comparison, is he as good as Robert Huth or Wes Morgan? Those guys won the league, doing things that suited them down to the ground.

Keane's main weakness is finding a short pass under pressure. Incredibly, that's what we've asked him to do for much of his Everton career.

If my manager asked me to do something I wasn't suited to, I'd question his ability to manage. And I do the same for those who have expected Keane to play out like Beckenbauer.

Darren Hind
236 Posted 15/08/2021 at 10:31:46
Nice work, Paul.

What odds did you get for the acca?


I`ve always been a bit of a happy clapper. Very easily pleased. Give me passion, a desire to win and love of playing for the Everton shirt and I`m in.

Ernie Baywood
237 Posted 15/08/2021 at 10:41:04
David #232, how did they miss Faye Knewse?

Picture of Anne Frank shown in official Everton tribute to football fans who died during pandemic

To be fair to our club, it's a shame that some people's response to a call for memoriam is to look for a chance to take the piss. A bit of respect wouldn't go amiss.

Derek Taylor
238 Posted 15/08/2021 at 10:44:10
Regardless of the result, so many people on here want all of Seamus, Keane and Holgate got rid of and Kean, Davies and Iwobi moved on without delay. Pickford is only ever one daydream away from similar treatment.

How many of these ultra critics attend matches and thus see the whole picture, I know not, but I bet it ain't the majority!

Martin Mason
239 Posted 15/08/2021 at 10:47:52
I've seen a big change in the comments here with rationality and positivity becoming dominant in the comments.

I really think that the dreadful Ancelotti episode, the search for a new manager, and Paul's articles on the financial weaknesses at the club have really been an education and I believe that there's been a very good increase in the quality of posts. Of course there's still some ridiculous negativity and expectations but there's hope even for them.

I'm pleased with how the club has managed the disaster of the last year and that we may yet be surprised by a couple of quality and good-value buys. It needs the very big transfers to go ahead and start knocking over the dominoes that will be our buys – and these may be on the last day.

Brian Hennessy
240 Posted 15/08/2021 at 10:56:35
Darren #207 That's a really excellent summary of yesterday's match.
Ian Jones
241 Posted 15/08/2021 at 10:57:16
Agreed re the Anne Frank image. We all love a prank but to find a way of including it and also some fake names is poor in these circumstances. I suppose names are not that easy to spot such as Fay Knewse. Assume that's not a real one!

You'd think that the people who put the video together might have checked the images first. However, I doubt that many people, especially the younger ones who are likely to have put the video together, have any idea who Anne Frank is!

Danny O’Neill
242 Posted 15/08/2021 at 10:57:17
Ability helps as well, Darren.

I've got passion, desire and would love to play for Everton.

We need a mix of quality players too.

Not all players have all the above ingredients. What you need is a balance across the team.

If we can reproduce the 2nd half performance for more games this season than not. We'll be in the mix for Europe.

Martin Nicholls
243 Posted 15/08/2021 at 11:01:18
Michael K - first things first. Massive thanks to you for highlighting the sole reason why we were all able to get back into GP yesterday - "only possible through the work of brilliant scientists who created highly effective vaccines in record time". Without their work and the product of it, we'd still be watching the game (played in an empty stadium) on tv - that might be fine for the average rs but not for us! I just wish even more people would see sense and take advantage of the offer of vaccination.

As to the game itself, I thought performance was better than many others did - Doucouré was MotM by a country mile for me. Atmosphere created by fans was fantastic and, as Calvert-Lewin has since said, gave the players a great lift.

Brian Harrison
244 Posted 15/08/2021 at 11:02:34
The greatest pleasure yesterday was seeing all the usual faces sitting around me in Upper Bullens and all genuinely pleased to see one another after such a long time. I felt, having been away for such a long time, that the crowd were really up for it yesterday, and scoring early in the second half changed the whole outlook of the game.

I think in the first half, besides Keane's mistake, we were not good at all – miscontrolling the ball a lot, not a lot of movement, and just couldn't see where a goal was coming from.

But the whole thing changed a couple of minutes into the 2nd half when Richarlison scored. You could see the confidence spread through the team and, with Goodison in full volume. When Doucouré scored a brilliant goal, then there was no way back for Southampton. And when Calvert-Lewin met Richarlison's brilliant cross, it was full celebratory mood all around Goodison.

My Son reminded me we have only 2 more opening games of the season left at Goodison; yes, it will soon be time to leave the Old Lady and move to Bramley-Moore Dock.

Getting back to the game, I thought we played far too many long balls and gave away possession too easily. Thank God Richarlison came straight here from his success at the Olympics, he was a class above everyone else in a blue shirt. Doucouré had a very good second half but thought he lost possession far too often in the first half to be a contender for MotM.

Keane also had an excellent second half – it would have been very easy for him to hide after his mistake but he didn't. Even Iwobi looked half-decent when he came on, Although the change of positions helped in the second half, I don't remember Holgate winning any of his aerial duels which is crucial for a centre-back.

Just a mention for Djenepo of Southampton, this kid looks like a real find, he went past our defenders on numerous occasions and did it with either foot, definitely one to watch. But despite my thoughts about our manager, it was a good win and he is to take some of the credit for the victory.

I would just say to those saying how nice to win at home, we did actually start last season very well at home and away – have they forgotten we were celebrating being top of the league for a week or two? So let's not try and rewrite history just because it doesn't suit our narrative.

Colin Glassar
245 Posted 15/08/2021 at 11:04:07
Hear, hear, Darren. I’m just happy whenever Everton win. If that makes us all happy clappers, so be it.
Mark Andrews
246 Posted 15/08/2021 at 11:09:25
There's a gaping hole in the middle of the park. Who will fill this gap with some creativity?

We can't rely on wing play and set pieces all season. We eventually overcame a poor Saints side, we'll be cruelly exposed against better teams. It's going to be a long, painful season.

Brian Williams
247 Posted 15/08/2021 at 11:47:36
That's right Mark, look on the bright side mate!

Did anyone stay right 'til the death and see all the players off the pitch?

If you didn't you missed Benitez have a quiet, friendly, word with Iwobi before slapping him on the face.
It was really funny because Iwobi had a look of wtf on his face for about a second!

I reckon it went. "Well played Alex you did well, but (slap) don't fuck up a golden chance like that one you had again"!

David Pearl
248 Posted 15/08/2021 at 11:53:44
Mark, 246. I think the way we set up yesterday will suit Gomes game a lot better. Or we could ask the wide players to come inside to we switch it up. Its all in the movement from the players and l think that comes a lot from confidence. Ancelotti had us playing with fear and l am pretty pleased he's gone.

Ernie, l missed the Fay Knews one. A few weeks ago l thought Rafa coming in was just that. I now think he could be just what we need... even if it still makes me laugh looking at his face in the match program.

Tom Bowers
249 Posted 15/08/2021 at 11:54:29
Mark Andrews you are so right.

We need the talisman in the midfield. A Peter Reid type who wins the ball, drives forward and makes things happen, Despite what we have nobody is
up to the task. I thought Gomes was the one but it wasn't to be.

Wins are good even against the likes of Soton but we still need so much improvement. Yesterday a draw was on the cards with 15 minutes left which would have made us all miserable.

Andy Crooks
250 Posted 15/08/2021 at 11:59:55
The effort and dedication, plus ability, needed for any lad to make a career as a professional footballer is incredible. To make it in the Premier league requires staggering sacrifice from the kid and his family.
Some of them are overrated, have an off day, lose their form, carry an injury. None of them are shite.

Steve Shave
251 Posted 15/08/2021 at 12:28:05
Mark 246 if only we had a superstar Columbian on the books who could plug said gap? Shame.
Bill Gienapp
252 Posted 15/08/2021 at 12:33:02
Steve - was about to say the same. If only a world class playmaker could fall from the sky and into our laps... wouldn't that be something?
Danny Baily
253 Posted 15/08/2021 at 12:35:31
Barkley would add something to the midfield. Hasn't been given a squad number at Chelsea.
Brian Williams
254 Posted 15/08/2021 at 12:38:39
Danny, there's a good reason for that mate. And a good reason AV didn't try to keep him.
Tom Richards
255 Posted 15/08/2021 at 12:42:58
Keane and Holgate will never play for a top 4 team. If we were to put both on the market who would the potential buyers be? Lower half clubs at best.

Anyone who considers the two of them to be a potential good partnership watches a different game to me.
Geoff Lambert
256 Posted 15/08/2021 at 12:44:20
Andy I'm sure their bank balance will help the poor little souls.
Geoff Lambert
257 Posted 15/08/2021 at 12:46:52
Sad news Gerd Muller has passed away aged 75
What a striker he was.
Brent Stephens
258 Posted 15/08/2021 at 12:48:48
Steve, Bill, the frustration for me when James was playing was that his vision and passing ability (ability to quickly spot a pass, ability to execute an accurate pass) wasn't matched enough by other players running into spaces quickly enough or at all. His passing ability seems to me to be exactly what Benitez would want given his desire for the ball to be moved on a lot more quickly.

Of course, I can see the arguments about the defensive side of his game...

Oliver Molloy
259 Posted 15/08/2021 at 12:53:23
Disagree Darren,
Holgate way too slow to react to Keane's fuck up - doesn't matter if you have played the game or not, his attempt to bail his partner out was quite pathetic as was some of his other play.
You can bet your life Benitez will be telling Keane do that again and I will haul you off.
I agree with you regards Holgate cockiness and hope you are correct that Benitez can sort it out..

One thing I would like to know from you and those who were at the game, what was Ferguson reactions to our goals etc, and the general vibe with him and Benitez ?

Jack Convery
260 Posted 15/08/2021 at 12:54:51
STAT of the Weekend : Saturday's game was the first time Everton had come from a losing position at half time to win a Premier League match since September 2015. Unbelievable !!!
Robert Tressell
261 Posted 15/08/2021 at 12:58:14
Mark # 246, we will get cruelly exposed this season - just as we usually do. The team and squad is mediocre, has been for a while, and it's highly unlikely we'll get the players we need to really make a difference. But hard work, fitness, team spirit and tactics to suit the group can also make it very difficult for better teams (and those around us) to take points off us.

We won't make the top 4. We're just not good enough, but let's see how far we can go.

Raymond Fox
262 Posted 15/08/2021 at 13:01:48
The result and performance was just what was needed by the manager the players and of course us.
I cant remember the last time we came from behind and scored 3 goals, it feels good.
I'll be watching the rest of the season with my expectations being a 9th-ish finishing team though, I think thats just about where we are at as we stand.
I want James and Kean gone along with 1 or 2 other surplus players.
I would keep the much maligned Iwobi, Gomes and Holgate
Gbamin who could be anything if he can stay fit, but thats the big if.

There will be no doubt be a few incomings, I doubt they will be too expensive though, but who knows we might be suprised!

Paul Birmingham
263 Posted 15/08/2021 at 13:05:16
Dear Bomber -RIP, one of the best strikers and finishers I’ve seen., and was an inspiration in my youth.

Football loses a genuine World Class Legend.

Darren Hind
264 Posted 15/08/2021 at 13:05:41
My first boss was German. He used to tell me about a striker who's finishing "bordered on cruelty". He was referring to the number of times Der Bomber would win games his team had not deserved to win

For years ater He used to listen every time the "greatest ever footballer" argument would surface.

"Der Bomber would not get involved in arguments with world class players " He would say "He simply settled them"

RIP Gerd Muller. Greatest finisher of all time ? He was up there wasnt he ?

Chris Corn
265 Posted 15/08/2021 at 13:12:54
Mark 246, I'm going to politely disagree with your comments. There is no reason why we cannot improve on last season's finish. I just cant see why we are going to be embroiled in a relegation battle. If we are, then so are Villa and Leeds judging by today's results.

If we had shown a similar response as yesterday in only a couple of the games against "poor" opposition that we capitulated to at Goodison, we would have been sat in the Euro spots

Peter Mills
266 Posted 15/08/2021 at 13:14:12
Gerd Muller would have got a game for any team, at any time. R.I.P. Der Bomber.
Matthew Williams
267 Posted 15/08/2021 at 13:20:00
I saw the goals on MotD this morning, shocking mistake by Keane in the first half but we upped our game in front of the faithful and really rallied in the second half.

Just watching that little explosion of joy after Doucouré's goal was just beautiful to watch, with fans getting on the pitch to join in the celebrations.

More of the same please this season and I will be the first person to apologize to Mr Benitez on these hallowed pages for all my negative comments about his appointment.

Tony Everan
268 Posted 15/08/2021 at 13:26:32
Well said all above, RIP to an iconic footballer, Gerd Muller.

Brian 244. Djenepo is a real handful, looks like he is improving. Sarr looked very sharp for Watford too. I'd take either to improve the strength in depth for our attack. Both still only 23 I think. If Moise Kean gets sold, it's possible we could bang in an offer to Southampton or Watford for one of these forwards.

Ray Robinson
269 Posted 15/08/2021 at 13:28:10
Der Bomber was possibly the best instinctive finisher that I've ever seen. Never thought of it before but Agüero is the closest modern-day equivalent.

But – tongue-in-cheek – what did he ever do for Bayern and Germany except score goals?

Shades of the James argument? Surround a Müller or James with other class players and you can ignore their other obvious "weaknesses".

Ray Smith
270 Posted 15/08/2021 at 13:29:49
16 days left before the window closes.

Who’s coming in?

I see us being saddled with James and Kean. Who wants them?

Gomes may well get a move back to Portugal.

Hopefully Gbamin is one of the 5 self isolating, and be available for Leeds, he’s as good as a new signing.

To the anti-Iwobi brigade, he’s going nowhere. Impact sub, like yesterday for me.

Nobody in for Delph, so a squad player if and when fit.

There are others who won’t be moved on, unless we give them away!

I’m not and never have been anti Rafa. Give him the chance he deserves, you doubters may well be surprised, and have to eat your words!

Dave Abrahams
271 Posted 15/08/2021 at 13:33:54
In my post earlier in this thread, because the day was very special and the players and the crowd, especially us supporters, made the day that way, I purposely never mentioned any player. But reading this thread and seeing posters getting some stick because they criticised some of the players' performance, really amazes me. The players get plenty of praise when they play well, rightly so, when they play the opposite, what's wrong with having a go?

This is ToffeeWeb the supporters' outlet; we are not Everton FC's website where everything good is printed and nothing bad ever happens, give me ToffeeWeb every single time.

I was happy yesterday where happiness ruled, mostly, and I was content to just leave it like that, but those who had a moan were just pointing out some things that happened and commenting on it. I'll be doing the same in future weeks when we're good, bad or indifferent.

Alan McGuffog
272 Posted 15/08/2021 at 13:36:37
Hasn't Gbamin succumbed to another knock? Thought I saw something about a knee problem... 🤷‍♂️
Ray Robinson
273 Posted 15/08/2021 at 13:41:07
I agree Tony. Djenepo looks like a possible Mané Mk II but I doubt Southampton would sell him yet. I was impressed too with Livramento but couldn't understand why, having got into promising forward positions, he never once crossed the ball.

Keane had a poor game but, despite this and his obvious flaws, still seems to me to be our best defender.

Very impressed with Doucouré in the second half in particular, and with Richarlison's commitment.

Great to be back in such an eventually great atmosphere! Onwards Blues!

David Israel
274 Posted 15/08/2021 at 13:47:36
Darren #264, he was Bayern's Bob Latchford!
Bill Gall
275 Posted 15/08/2021 at 13:48:06
I watched again last night and, with knowing the score, did not get as overly excited as I did watching it live.

Richarlison is to be commended for his first goal as he was the only player who reacted to the header from Townsend.

Benitez needs recognition for seeing the problem in the first half by making the alterations in the formations for the second half.

As well as Coleman played, I believe that a quicker right-back is needed as their left wing created a lot of problems that could have been worse if he wasn't such a glory hunter for a goal.

There were still a number of mistakes made during the game, excluding the obvious one, that I noticed Benitez turning around to one of the other coaches and demonstrating to him, that I took as "Take notes, we will go over this in the next training session".

Overall it was a decent performance, but it was the first game so I enjoyed it, as so did the crowd that showed what has been missing since the restrictions started.

Southampton played okay with the problems they have had losing key players, so I expect games to get a little harder as the season continues, and wonder if there will be any changes when the 5 in isolation return.

I think after watching the first game, so it is too early to predict, but I don't think we are in as bad a shape for this season as quite a number of supporters were expecting.

Ian Bennett
276 Posted 15/08/2021 at 13:49:25
Gbamin was out isolating - alongside Godfrey, Gomes, James and Kean.
Matt Stapleton
277 Posted 15/08/2021 at 13:53:29
The thing I think nobody has mentioned yet, and the most pleasing thing for me, was when we went 2-1 up, we didn't turn into a back 10 like we have done in every game I can remember.

We got away with it a lot last season, sitting back after being ahead, but it's not fun. Did we win any games by more than 1 goal last season after the first few weeks?

Anyway, it was nice to see us so positive, so forceful, and playing without that same fear as last year.

Getting that 3rd goal rather than sitting on the edge of our own box for the last 20 minutes. Well done, boys!

Tony Everan
278 Posted 15/08/2021 at 13:56:35
This Buta rumour is spreading. Being reported today we have made a bid of €4M for him, which is being considered.
Brent Stephens
279 Posted 15/08/2021 at 14:05:36
Dave #271 that's a fine post. And I think it's important that players (and coach) don't get stick from the crowd during the game – that can be left to later.
Derek Thomas
280 Posted 15/08/2021 at 14:08:53
Dave @ 271; As it should be mate. If we can't tell it like we see it here, we'll end up like the BBC for the rs.
Dave Abrahams
281 Posted 15/08/2021 at 14:10:34
The really sad thing about the death of Gerd Muller is the way his life has been the last 6 years because of his illness, dementia, so very sad. Thanks for the memories and the goals, the equivalent of the best British goalscorer I ever saw, Jimmy Greaves.

Jimmy knocked them in, then a little wave acknowledging the goal, then getting ready to score his next one. No hysterics, like today's players, you'd think they had discovered the wheel or some other thing that no-one had ever seen before, silly so and so's.

It's Sunday, I try not to swear on Sundays.

Jay Wood

282 Posted 15/08/2021 at 14:10:41
On the issue of the Everton Pandemic Tribute Video, a couple of points.

That was a classy, polished and moving compilation. A near 4 minute double column scrolling list of the many Blues that were taken in the last year or so. Tastefully set to the violin strings and a playing of Z-Cars and Grand Ole Team.

Excellent work by the club.

A stark reminder of the number of empty seats at Goodison from those taken. The empty chair at the family kitchen table. The favourite comfy chair in the parlour no longer occupied. The vacant bar stool at the local pub.

What kind of mind would corrupt that memorial by submitting false names and images? 'Don't take it all so seriously, Just 'aving a larf, like.'

I really hope whoever were the authors of this jolly jape can be traced, outed and shamed.

Jay Evans
283 Posted 15/08/2021 at 14:14:19
Ha ha ha some absolute dipshit theories on here as usual and who knows, I may have been responsible for a few of them myself over the years, but blaming Mason Holgate for any part in that goal defies belief.

Seriously boys and girls, what was he meant to do? Cut Armstrong in half and leave us with ten men? Just think how that would have ended for our new manager's first game in charge... 🤔

Michael Keane is a big fart. I have lost count of how many centre-forwards bully him year-in & and year-out. He got away with absolute murder last season playing in empty grounds and this was emphasised all the more yesterday once the volume was cranked up for the last 30 minutes of the first half. He went to pieces and looked like an acid casualty from Woodstock. His relief on hearing the half-time whistle was so obvious.

When men were men, eh, Michael.

On a more positive note, a decent home debut for Gray, particularly in the second half.

Jay Wood

284 Posted 15/08/2021 at 14:17:54
This is the scrolling list of names video I referred to:

Everton Pandemic Tribute Video

Scroll down and play the embedded Everton Twitter video to view it.

The previous video is on the club site, an 8-minute video with individual personalised bios on some of those taken.

[I had both windows open simultaneously and copy-pasted the wrong one.]

Dave Abrahams
285 Posted 15/08/2021 at 14:18:00
Jay ( 282),

When was this list shown, I missed it, was it half time? I was gabbing away to a mate if it was.

Before the game, they showed individual greetings etc and I saw all of those.

The list of those who passed was the one I wanted to see, at least two of those would have been on that list, my mate of over seventy years, Michael Eugene Brownless and Ronnie Cleary, both lifelong Bluenoses.

Jay Wood

286 Posted 15/08/2021 at 14:25:12
Dave mate, no idea when it was shown at the game. My match day stream didn't show it. Only heard about it post-match.

My 2nd post shows the very, VERY long list of those taken. It's from Everton's Twitter account. Names appear in alphabetic order, so you should be able to pick out any mates you know who are no longer with us. It's a simple, but beautifully crafted tribute.

The first video I linked is on the club site, 8 minutes showing images and short bios and messages from family and friends to those who passed.

Michael Lynch
287 Posted 15/08/2021 at 14:34:50
Just remembered one other thing from the match yesterday: did anyone else notice?

After Doucouré's screamer of a goal, he was mobbed by a couple of fans. As one of them was dragged back into the Lower Bullens, Seamus noticed the fan had dropped his phone, picked it up and legged after him to make sure he got it back!

What a fucking legend of an Evertonian, I hope he stays at the club forever.

Dave Abrahams
288 Posted 15/08/2021 at 14:40:08
Michael (287),

Yes, I noticed that. I didn't know what it was that Seamus gave him but, as you say, he was running after him and shouting to him before he caught up to him and gave him the object.

What a down-to-earth man Coleman is, a massive difference to a lot of today's players, including one who played yesterday, but that is for another day.

Brian Williams
289 Posted 15/08/2021 at 14:40:10
It's funny that lots of little things happen in and around the game that mostly go unnoticed.

I mentioned earlier Benitez giving Iwobi a friendly slap on the face.

Another one was Seamus chasing one of the supporters who ran on the pitch to celebrate Doucouré's goal. Not to throw him off the pitch or anything but to give him back his mobile phone that had dropped out of his pocket as he jumped up and down. That sums up Seamus to a "Tee".

Andy Crooks
290 Posted 15/08/2021 at 14:42:36
Jay @ 82, good post.

There is no point imposing draconian "hanging is too good " measures on the fools. Just perhaps, if they can be traced, putting up their names. Belittling is the greatest deterrent in the world. Even Sociopaths are frightened if humiliation.

Gerd Muller, the greatest goal hanger of all time. There is no such role today. The much-ridiculed Brazilian, Fred, was the last of them. In my view, a perfect example of that defunct role.

John McFarlane Snr
291 Posted 15/08/2021 at 14:44:24
HI John [179],

I used Calvert-Lewin, and Keane as examples, I should have been more explicit, and said 'striker and defender', of any team. It's a natural reaction for fans to express joy or disappointment, it's not confined to Everton fans.

I feel that the human factor is not taken into consideration, better players than Keane have made the same mistakes, and I don't believe they do it on purpose.

In closing, I would like to repeat, it's not confined to Everton fans, it's experienced by every fan of every team. It's the vilification of players that I don't understand. "After all, we all make mistakes".

Paul Tran
292 Posted 15/08/2021 at 14:54:52
Darren #236, it was Chelsea, Leicester, Everton, boosted to 9/2.

Der Bomber. Whenever I'm in a conversation about the importance of goalscorers to any football team, he's the man I refer to.

You knew. They knew. He did, he always did.

RIP, Herr Muller.

Colin Glassar
293 Posted 15/08/2021 at 15:09:24
Being brought up in a very anti-German family (war and all that) I was a secret admirer of those 1970-74 German sides. My dad and older brothers hated them but I liked Schoen, Beckenbauer, Muller, Grabowski, Vogts and Co.

I supported them in the ‘74 World Cup final to my eternal regret because I thought Holland would win the next one with Cruyff. It was not to be so, sorry Holland.

Brian Murray
294 Posted 15/08/2021 at 15:23:56
Loved that phrase used on MotD to describe us as relentless!! Just shows what proper fitness and planning can get you. More of the same next week! Every game at full pelt and see if it's enough. Coyb
Darren Hind
295 Posted 15/08/2021 at 15:24:23
Get in Paul.

All seems so obvious...Now

Steve Shave
296 Posted 15/08/2021 at 15:50:33
Tony - Buta looks promising, bloody rapid!

By the looks of Arrons's performance yesterday (according to a Norwich fan I know who attended their game) we may well end up spending our pennies more wisely.

Jerome Shields
297 Posted 15/08/2021 at 16:11:50

I think the pairing at Centre Back will be Godfrey and Holgate. Not only does Keane prefer play in front of him , but so does Mina. Both dread pace and having to defend on the turn. They both suited the passing round the back of Ancelotti and space and time. Under Benitez it's going to receive and positive pass forward immediately. I know many have doubts about Holgate , but he is better at this than either Keane or Mina. . Godfrey is the best.

Alan #272,

Appeared on BBC Sport website prior to the game, that he had a knee problem and would not be playing. Seemed to get lost after that with Benitez's presser, which seemed to put absent players down to Covid isolation. Rodriguez later confirmed he was not available for selection due to Covid Isolation.

Communications could be better.

Brian #294,

Loved the use of the word 'relentless' as well. All great Everton teams were relentless.

Neil Copeland
298 Posted 15/08/2021 at 16:27:44
I haven't read all the posts so apologies in advance if this question has already been raised and answered. When was the last time we came back from a losing position to win the opening game of the season?

Very encouraging start yesterday, not world beating stuff but much better than the second half of last season. As others have posted, so refreshing to see desire and commitment plus a fitter looking team than of late. I was impressed by Gray's attitude, he never seems to give up on an apparent lost cause – great to see.

I was disappointed with Allan who shows a lot of desire but seems slow and not really in touch with the game. If Gbamin proves his fitness, I can see Allan being moved to the bench.

Michael Keane looks like a player who suffers with a lack of confidence when things go wrong. Last season, I thought he was excellent but we played deep; hopefully he just needs time to adapt to the higher line and his confidence returns as a result.

I think we need options in the middle of the park though, an attacking midfield player would help us. If we rely solely upon crossing the ball in, teams will find a way to counter it.

Overall, though plenty to be optimistic about and hoping that Rafa and Marcel Brands have one or two rabbits lined up.

Danny O’Neill
299 Posted 15/08/2021 at 17:21:05
During my time as a young child in Germany, when we had no access to English television, I grew up watching German football. It's how I got into following Schalke.

But I always remember Gerd Muller and my dad's admiration of him. I've just looked at the BBC write-up. 68 goals in 62 appearances for Germany including a winning goal in a World Cup Final. And 574 goals for Bayern Munich in 15 years.

Outstanding contribution to the beautiful game, sir. Take your place in footballing heaven.

Mike Gaynes
300 Posted 15/08/2021 at 17:40:29
Noting the use of the word "relentless"... nobody defined it better than Gerd Muller. The deadliest pure finisher in the history of the game, and the most ferociously competitive striker I've ever seen.

Listed at 5'-9", which was a lie by at least 2 inches, he would commit everything, risk anything, to score. And he never seemed to miss. Even at age 35, playing in the US, he was unstoppable -- that's where I saw him in person.

The ultimate winner, yet a tragic story as well... stricken with early Alzheimer's while still in his 60s, perhaps brought on by years of post-retirement alcoholism. He left us with so many memories... which he himself had lost long before his death.

Don Alexander
301 Posted 15/08/2021 at 17:46:28
Gerd Muller was the most lethal goal-scorer I've ever seen, the more so because, in the toughest matches he was involved in, he always seemed to score. He couldn't be stopped. The nearest I've seen to him in the Premier League has been Sergio Aguero.

That said, my old Dad used to eulogise Ferenc Puskás, 523 club games – 509 goals, 85 caps and 84 goals. They don't make 'em like that anymore!

Bobby Mallon
302 Posted 15/08/2021 at 18:40:50
Don 301, they do... in the names of Ronaldo and Messi and Rooney.
Julian Exshaw
303 Posted 14/08/2021 at 19:25:53
I won't pretend I wanted Rafa as manager but the way he turned things around at half-time yesterday was impressive.

The question I often ask myself is why the players never start as they mean to go on? Why do they need a kick up the ass at half-time to get started? Chalk and cheese were those two halves yesterday. I'm sure I wasn't the only one thinking at half-time "Here we go again!"

It won't take a lot for us to fall in love with this team, or coach again, just show us that passion and desire in the second half! That should do the trick.

As for Gerd Müller. I remember as a kid watching the World Cup in 1974. The blaring of those German horns. That was truly another era. RIP, der Bomber.

Kim Vivian
304 Posted 15/08/2021 at 19:44:26
If we properly get behind Rafa and the team I think we can have a decent season. There will be bumps and potholes along the way but unless the lethargy of previous seasons takes hold again there should be some mitigation. Every player will make mistakes.

Keane's faux pas yesterday was mind boggling but I guarantee you that was a lesson well learned as was the attempt to walk the ball through the ManCity midfield last term. Luckily it didn't prove costly this time. Last year it would have.

Onward and upward blues!

John McFarlane Snr
305 Posted 15/08/2021 at 20:24:31
Hi John [179]

I responded to your post, you may care to read it.

Hi Dave [285], The list was shown prior to the kick-off and again during the half-time interval. I concentrated on the names and saw one that could be a lad I played football with some time ago. I will need to contact his family to see if they nominated him.

Josh asked me why there was a photo of Anne Franks? I shrugged it off but it appears that there was a photo of her. I can only imagine that he must have learned of her during a school lesson.

Andy Crooks
306 Posted 15/08/2021 at 21:07:20
Nice to see all the Muller posts. He seems to strike a chord. I doubt he would be in anybody's great players list but he was something special. An incredibly hard player to define. I have looked to find another player to define as Muller- like. There is none.
How would he fit in the Premier League? I actually think he would have been the greatest goal scorer we have ever seen.
Just that. No more.
Dave Abrahams
307 Posted 15/08/2021 at 21:22:18
John ( 305), I got in my seat around 2-00 pm, watched the personal messages, which have to be paid for, but never saw the list of those who have passed on, either before the game or at half time, thanks to Jay Wood I have seen them now and saw the two names I was looking for. I will go through it again looking for other great Blues who are no longer with us.
Ernie Baywood
308 Posted 15/08/2021 at 21:47:21
Turning to Leeds... can we relentlessly outrun them?

They make have just taken a beating but 'styles make fights'. We may need a different style against Leeds.

Andy Crooks
309 Posted 15/08/2021 at 21:59:26
Ernie, I will be astonished if Rafa( fuck me, can't believe I just said that) does not have some variation up his sleeve.(Can't believe that either).
What ever one thinks of Benitez, and I was a doubter, I would not have Ancelotti back here in a million years. Imagine that spineless dinosaur with this squad. Can't wait to see Madrid fuck the coward out.
Tony Abrahams
310 Posted 15/08/2021 at 22:04:48
You will find at least one other old mate in there Dave, although I didn’t realise Mick, was going to be on that list, so I’m glad you mentioned him, because he was definitely one of my favourite Evertonians of all time🙏
Neil Copeland
311 Posted 15/08/2021 at 22:38:41
Andy #309, spot on.
Laurie Hartley
312 Posted 15/08/2021 at 22:52:14
Great to see Goodison full to the brim again and rewarded with a terrific come from behind win.

Doucoure had a stormer and unlike some I thought Allan went about his business very well. I don't think Gomes or Davies will get a start while those two are fit.

Richarlison is a cracking player – enough said.

Ray Robinson # 273 – I agree with you about Livramento, their 18-year-old right-back – he looks top class. I just can't figure out why Chelsea would let a talent like that go.

All-in-all, a great start to the season.

Barry Rathbone
313 Posted 15/08/2021 at 23:06:42
Gerd Muller was the greatest goal scorer I ever saw impossible to knock off the ball because of his colossal legs he was never truly off balance. His goal against England in Mexico flying with one leg raised was a perfect example of complete control where others would be flailing.

The amount of times he rolled the ball into the net amidst a flurry of defenders appeared like luck but it wasn't it was down to his glue-like adherence to the ground gained from his immovable stance. It give a micro second to weigh things up that others just didn't have and as a result he would gently knock the ball past the keeper into the net.

Could head them in, blast goals from all angles and had a fantastic first touch with great awareness and vision, he really wasa one off. Only Romario from Brazil came near although Aguerro deserves an honourable mention.

RIP der bomber the greatest goal scorer of all time.

John Boon
314 Posted 15/08/2021 at 23:17:29
It really does not matter whether we welcomed Ancelotti with open arms, as 90% of Evertonians did, or correctly categorized him as the worn out Charlatan over the hill manager that he proved to be. We should have all learned that it is not always easy to predict the fortunes of any incoming manager.

We may be right or wrong about predicting how Benitez will be. However with just one match there seems to be far more unity throughout the "Blue" community. We have suffered for too long and the last few months of last season were miserable.

I am a naive dyed in the wool Evertonian who does try to look on the bright side. I have seen the very 'best' in the '60s and '80s and the very worst (1952). I don't know why but I do have a feeling that we may be on the up and up. This may be illogical, idiotic etc. We do not have the greatest players right now, but we do have some good ones.

I was horrified initially about the Benitez appointment. I have now put that aside and he may be the best piece of sliced bread to come our way in some time. I just feel things will happen. I hope this feeling lasts more than a week. My wife told me that I think I know everything! So I could be right once more.

Don Alexander
315 Posted 15/08/2021 at 23:46:32
Fair point Bobby (#302) but Rooney, Messi and Ronaldo were/are significantly (and rightly) protected from the shoe-ings the likes of Muller, Greaves, Pele et al had to constantly endure on the pitch from unscrupulous "defenders".
Don Alexander
316 Posted 15/08/2021 at 00:17:47
John (#314),

I hope your hopes bear fruit, genuinely, but Benitez will put himself on a par with Brian Clough as a fabulous manager if he can even get close to Ol' Big 'Ead's successes at Derby and Forest (and in their own minds, their fans consider themselves identical to us and Liverpool as arch rivals) with the largely mundane squad of overpaid, over-contracted, couldn't-care-less, usually visibly unfit players our boardroom has made available to him.

I admire your optimism but, having just officially become an OAP (I was 3 years from birth in '52), I'm still traumatised by the dashing of any hope I've ever had for trophy success year-after-year, decade-after-decade, under the present chairman's still ongoing machinations.

But if he's by now only a mere puppet for a dubious, incompetent or unknown owner(s), what power does he now have to for once improve the club rather than continue to (largely successfully given the length of his tenure) pull the wool over the eyes of a desperate fan-base?

Jamie Crowley
317 Posted 16/08/2021 at 01:29:59
Off topic, genuine question.

The handful of fans that jumped on the pitch to celebrate with Doucouré, will they incur some type of disciplinary action?

I believe there's cameras all over the place. Will they identify those individuals who jumped over the "barrier" to celebrate with him?

I hope not, but was wondering. If someone could shine a little light on that, I'd be appreciative.

Jamie Crowley
318 Posted 16/08/2021 at 01:39:38
Also, regarding Michael Keane, something I noticed here watching highlights again for the hundredth time.


Go to 8:56 of this link. As the players are moving towards Calvert-Lewinto celebrate, Michael Keane comes into the "circle" of celebration and starts talking. You can clearly see Digne, and to my eyes it looks like a lot of other players, listen to Michael Keane and whatever he's saying. He's telling them all something, and they all listen. Digne even starts nodding in agreement.

Michael Keane had something to say to his teammates, and they took notice.

That's leadership, people.

Frank Wolfe
319 Posted 16/08/2021 at 01:40:37
I think Rafa has done a good job with what he's inherited and really happy with the attitude and result on Saturday. However, we still have a ways to go.

Leeds away will be tough. Even Huddersfield away won't be an easy game. We definitely need some more reinforcements – right-back, attacking midfielder, and a backup striker. Let's hope that gets sorted in the next 2 weeks.

Kim Vivian
320 Posted 16/08/2021 at 08:56:54
Jamie - your last couple of links don't work in the UK...

"Video unavailable' The uploader has not made this video available in your country"

unless it's just because I live on Romney Marsh! :-)

Tony Abrahams
321 Posted 16/08/2021 at 09:20:05
After the last 18 months we've had, Jamie, I'm hoping that little celebration will be overlooked mate, especially because it added to the occasion!

So Chelsea have let that right-back leave and he's only 18 years of age, Laurie? Have to look at him a few times, but I was asking the people around me his name, and also saying we need to get at him, to see if he could defend, with the same composure that he shows when he's got the ball at his feet.

If he can then he is going to be a top level footballer, so he's definitely one to keep an eye on now, and so is Chelsea's academy, because they do seem to be producing a lot of very good young footballers nowadays.

Laurie Hartley
322 Posted 16/08/2021 at 09:52:12
Well, Tony, he held his own against Richarlison in the first half. I think Southampton have got right under everyone's radar signing that lad.
Jim Lloyd
323 Posted 16/08/2021 at 10:52:10
Frank (319) You're right about the next couple of games, they're not "easy" games. I don't believe there are ANY games in the premier league that can be forecast as "easy." Just look at all the "easy" games we lost at home last season.
What I think, is that Rafa Benitez will drum this into our players, week in and week out. I think he''ll be telling them that "in this league you have to earn those wins, in fact you have to earn every point." If we find that a match is easy, then that's a bonus, not a given.

I didn't think Southampton were a poor side or "relegation fodder" as several called them. I thought they had a good side and liked the look of a number of them.
Their defenders looked a no nonsense bunch of players and whoever that tall lad was on their right hand side, looked a special player, waltzing through our players like a proper winger..classy. Their left winger was a little dynamo as well. Why they Ings go, I wouldn't know but their centre forward looked handy as well.

I think the difference with Rafa at the helm, he is instilling already into our players, that you have to compete for every ball, you have to work and you have to work as a team! I think that showed on Saturday. Last season we would likely had lost that home match, like we lost so many.

Even in this first competitve game under Rafa, we came from behind and took the game to them. We'll lose games but I don't think there'll be to many where we just give them away, like we've done for years

Derek Thomas
324 Posted 16/08/2021 at 10:55:32
Re. Gerd Muller; I read somewhere that if Dean was the goalscorer of the 1st half of the 20th Century – and he was – then Muller must be the goalscorer of the 2nd half of the Century... which he very well may have been.

And for the 1st half of the 21st Century, we'll there's 29 still to go, but Messi and Ronaldo are in the club house with good scores on the board.

Danny O’Neill
325 Posted 16/08/2021 at 10:59:53
Lewandowski and Ibrohaomovic Derek? I'm not sure Muller's contemporary namesake is up there but he's had a good innings too.

I haven't checked out the stats by the way, so the statto police can feel free to nab me!!

Just names of top strikers that sprung to mind.

Laurie Hartley
326 Posted 16/08/2021 at 12:12:54
Surprised Jimmy Greaves hasn't had a mention. Different kind of striker altogether but his record (from the same era) is not far off Gerd Muller's.
Ray Roche
327 Posted 16/08/2021 at 12:21:13
Laurie, Dave Abrahams pays tribute Greaves in his post at 281.
Best finisher I’ve seen. Not spectacular, just passed the ball into the net.
Tom Bowers
328 Posted 16/08/2021 at 12:30:45
Hard to compare strikers from the Greaves era to now.

Greavsie was a tremendous finisher but, in today's game, how much space would he get and opportunities for that matter?

In the modern game, so much of it is spent with long periods of possession before it gets to strikers who are usually double marked when it does.

Shearer was probably the best striker of the modern era.

Danny O’Neill
329 Posted 16/08/2021 at 12:51:33
If we're talking English strikers Tom, I'd agree and that's a good call. And I'd add Linekar to that. Certainly in the season I saw him at Everton. Maybe not the best footballer. I don't really remember him being a tackler, a dribbler or being able to beat a player with the ball at his feet.

But put that ball in behind, and his pace and finishing ability got you goals. Dare I say and not just because of the Leicester link, an 80s version of Vardy? Probably not as aggressive as Vardy I would say.

John McFarlane Snr
330 Posted 16/08/2021 at 14:01:23
Hi Laurie [326],

Dave Abrahams and I have, once or twice discussed the merits of Jimmy Greaves, a joy to behold, with a positional sense that can't be coached. The sad part is that in our early days television coverage was little or non-existent, today's fans can view games that take place all over the globe.

But, to be truthful, I wouldn't swap my formative days as a follower of the 'Beautiful Game', even though I have to rely on my feeble memory to see the likes of Tom Finney, Wilf Mannion, Len Shackleton, Raich Carter, Stanley Matthews etc.

David Peate
331 Posted 16/08/2021 at 15:23:31
There is talk about Jimmy Greaves as a goal-poacher but what about our own John Willie Parker?
Martin Nicholls
332 Posted 16/08/2021 at 15:34:20
David #331,

John Willie Parker was a bit before my time but I do know that Roy Vernon compared himself very favourably with Greaves and Law when it came to putting the ball in the net!

Tony Abrahams
333 Posted 16/08/2021 at 15:50:56
I have to agree John Mc, although I probably would have loved football being on the telly most days when I was younger, whereas nowadays it’s very hard to me to sit and watch a game for 90 minutes, unless it’s being played by Everton.

It’s a different game imo now though, a lot of teams play for possession, or getting into little areas to set their patterns up, and this can become so very boring to watch.

Terry White
334 Posted 16/08/2021 at 16:50:48
Jim (#323), you said "whoever that tall lad was on their right hand side, looked a special player, waltzing through our players like a proper winger..classy". Livramento, is his name.

Yes, he looked good going forward. But he is a young right back, not a winger, so how good is he defensively at this age? Aarons and Lamptey look good going forward on YouTube but both would appear to have serious defensive deficiencies. The first job of a "full back" in my view is to defend.

And second half Gray showed him a clean pair of heels. Livramento is young and will doubtless learn and improve as he gets more experienced.

Jay Harris
335 Posted 16/08/2021 at 17:08:55
I thought Livramento did well defending too as he was constantly up against Richy, Digne and Gray.

It restores my faith in good recruitment rather than expensive recruitment.

Robert Tressell
336 Posted 16/08/2021 at 17:12:33
It's a difficult balance with full backs. This is over-simplistic but it kind of comes down to whether you believe you are a big club or a small club.

Hibbert is an example of a classic small club full back. A good defender, blocks crosses etc but really poor on the ball.

With players like Hibbert you're forced to defend because you can't attack and the opposition knows it.

Since I dream of us being a big club, I'd love to have an Aarons or Livramento at the club. Let the opposition defend while we have the ball and ask the questions.

Tony Abrahams
337 Posted 16/08/2021 at 17:25:45
The last three posts, by Terry, Jay and Robert, could bring about three new debates when I put my own two pence worth in.

Terry likes his fullbacks to first and foremost defend, Robert is the opposite and wants them to attack, citing a perfect example in Tony Hibbert, (remember Villarreal when we had them on the rack, and they just kept channeling us out wide so we would pass the ball to Hibbert?)

Jay talks about good recruitment over expensive recruitment, and I will go for good coaching over methodical coaching, because the way that Southampton player had so much composure on the ball, it wasn’t a surprise to hear he’d been brought up going through the Chelsea academy.

Jay Harris
338 Posted 16/08/2021 at 17:43:32
Thats 4 debates now Tony.
Tony Abrahams
339 Posted 16/08/2021 at 17:48:46
And I used to think that counting was one of my strong points Jay!

Seriously though I thought that right back was so relaxed, comfortable and composed on the ball, and was shocked that Chelsea have let him go so young, but they are a club that do seem to have developed a very good production line for young players, over the last three or four years, and they all look very, very comfortable in possession of the football.

Robert Tressell
340 Posted 16/08/2021 at 17:51:48
Tony, I don't necessarily want them to attack - I want them to be good footballers. Keeping the ball and having the initiative is just as much a form of defence as tackling and heading.

I remember seeing Johan Cruyff ask a flummoxed Alan Hansen what is the best way to defend.

Hansen rambled his way through an answer until interrupted by Cruyff who said the best way to defend is to have the ball. The opposition cannot score if you have the ball.

It's a bit romantic and easier said than done, but the best "defender" can be the biggest defensive liability in the team.

Tony Everan
341 Posted 16/08/2021 at 17:59:16
It has to be a bit of both and some serious pace added to it. Kyle Walker is a menace of a full back when he is on song, he’s consistent too. Physical, pacey and not scared to get forward and recovers well. Chelsea’s Reece James is another who has a great physicality about him strong and offensive minded too. I like these strong brave/nasty players who will not back down, spindly wingers know it. Wingers find it hard against such athletic, quick and good technical players, especially if they have to fight fires defensively because of them.
Tony Abrahams
342 Posted 16/08/2021 at 18:21:39
The best defender can be the biggest defensive liability in the team Robert, is exactly what I think every time I read how much Michael Keane has improved.

How will a young Ben Godfrey improve, when he has got to negate his best assets by defending deep? Lose the man he’s marking because he’s defending deep and the chances are that the other team will score, but if he loses his man forty yards from goal, the chances are he will get back because of his fantastic recover?

This is why I think it’s imperative that Godfrey is given the right type of partner now, because if he’s allowed to defend by playing to his strengths, I personally think it would improve our team massively.

Robert Tressell
343 Posted 16/08/2021 at 18:38:20
Yes, I think that's fair Tony. None of Keane, Mina or Holgate seems to be the right fit (although Branthwaite could be).

Danny has been saying for a while a good partner for Godfrey is a priority. That partner needs to be tall, mobile and good on the ball. I think Ancelotti wanted Bremer from Torino (after being priced out of buying Koulibaly).

Personally, I think a big club focusses on how it scores goals and relies on a potent attack to peg the opposition back, thus relieving pressure on an often ropey defence. Since we score abysmally few goals, I think that is where our immediate priorities lie. Without getting all Kevin Keegan about it, it would also make us more entertaining.

However, since the team is so mediocre and poorly assembled, you could make a good case for saying the attack, the midfield or defence is the priority.

Dave Abrahams
344 Posted 16/08/2021 at 18:41:24
Danny (329), Len Shackleton a great footballer also wrote for The News Of The World, or some other Sunday paper.after he retired, he didn’t mince his words, he said of Gary Linacre. “ He is a good goalscorer but a puddin’ of a footballer” I thought that was a good description of our former player.

David (331),John Willie Parker was a good poacher and a provider for many goals, particularly to Dave Hickson with little flicks of his head nodding the ball down to Davie, but alas nowhere in the same class as Jimmy Greaves was an excellent footballer as well as a special goalscorer, and he’d find space today to score plenty of goals even against the best defences that cram the defensive zones now.

Jay Harris
345 Posted 16/08/2021 at 19:00:33
Look what youve started now Tony,
Add the "total football" concept to make it 5 debates and now youve added Ben Godffrey thats six.

For what sits worth I think Ben has terrific pace and concentration which is basically Michael Keane's problem because he has neither and could well be a liability against Leeds for that reason.

Holgate seems to have lost the plot since his injury last year and has gone from one of the most promising to the worst CB on our books. I have high hopes for young Brandthwaite whose only flaw is his lack of experience IMO.

Yerry MIna is just Yerry, brilliant at his best but prone to the occasional gaffe.

It has become obvious that Keane and Holgate are in total disarray when playing together so for me our first choice pairing should be Godfrey and Mina.

They aslo complement our current MF better as they enable them to push further up the pitch.

Jay Harris
346 Posted 16/08/2021 at 19:01:59
Dave, my Dad always said he rated Tommy Lawton higher than William Ralph and Dave Hickson deserves an honourable mention too.
Tony Abrahams
347 Posted 16/08/2021 at 19:04:26
Good points Robert, but it’s the middle of our defence for me, and by playing 15/20 yards further up the pitch, it will also reduce the space in the middle of the park, and allow us to stay compact further forward, and also help us to play more on the front foot?

If Moise Kean leaves🤞then I think we will need another forward, but Benitez might go for a wide player who can come in from the sides, and push Richarlison, into a similar position that worked so well for us on Saturday?

Then we need another midfield player, unless Gbamin can come in and stay fit, and another right back, not forgetting to see if our young French fullback is adequate cover for Luca Digne, on the other side!!

Tom Bowers
348 Posted 16/08/2021 at 19:09:43
Godfrey looks the best bet so far but who to pair him with is debatable with what we have. Mina may have the edge but it is something Rafa has to solve pretty quick after the indecisiveness in Saturday's game against a so so opposition offence comprising of two guys who were only Championship forwards not too long ago.

We need a stable back three or four that is reliable in order to progress to the level we all want.

Offensively we looked better with the new options although it took a while to get the ball in the net.

Midfield could be a lot better although Doucoure played very well gets started but I would like to see what Gbamin has to offer after finally getting some starts.

Tony Abrahams
349 Posted 16/08/2021 at 19:12:53
I’d honestly try Holgate in midfield, because he does seem to now lack concentration defensively, and has also become way to careless and casual with some of his passing, and putting him into this area of the pitch, might just switch him back on again, plus he’s also proved he can play there before (albeit short term) and has a lot of good physical attributes that are required for this position?
Brian Williams
350 Posted 16/08/2021 at 19:18:01
Tony, I'd try Holgate in midfield too..........for Aston Villa.
Brian Harrison
351 Posted 16/08/2021 at 19:24:54
Tony 349

You correctly say Holgate lacks concentration and is way to careless with his passing, but then suggest a player with these basic faults should play in midfield. What makes you think he would eradicate these faults playing in a different position, and why you would even want to find a place in the team for him I find really strange. Apart from the odd game he has always shown the faults you yourself highlight, I think he hasn't improved since he first came into the team.

Jay Harris
352 Posted 16/08/2021 at 19:27:24
Tony for some reasom Mason seems to have deriorated as a player since that purple patch in MF.

He seems far too laid back and lethargic over the last 12 months.

MAybe he needs a good kick up the arse because he has the potential to be a very good footballer.

Oliver Molloy
353 Posted 16/08/2021 at 19:29:52
Tell you what, watching the game today again I think Holgate is a lucky boy for a challenge on Armstrong just after Iwobi came on.
It could easily have been seen as leaving a bit on Armstrong in my opinion.
Why do I think this, I just think Holgate is a little bit Pickfordish, always capable of a moment of madness.
John McFarlane Snr
354 Posted 16/08/2021 at 19:34:20
Hi David [331] I suppose that it's fair to regard John Willie as a poacher, he came alive in the penalty area, and some used to accuse him of cashing on the industry Dave Abrahams hero Davie Hickson. But it was a partnership that gained many goals and points, they shared 56 League goals in the 1953/54 promotion season John Willie scoring 31, and Davie 25. no golden boots trophy in those days.

Hi Martin [332] Roy Vernon and John willie Parker were alike in some things, but I think that Roy Vernon was more industrious and probably scored more spectacular goals, but a goal is a goal at the end of the day.

Hi Tony [333] I agree entirely with your opinion regarding what I term as the pass and 'don't go', knocking the ball around in midfield may appear pretty to some, but I think that the majority of us would like to see a more direct approach. A lot of fans seem to think that a long ball is to be compared to kick and rush, but nothing could be further from the truth, one well delivered pass can beat five men, my feeling is that a long ball as long as it's a good ball is ok with me.

John McFarlane Snr
355 Posted 16/08/2021 at 19:57:19
Hi Dave [344] I posted before reading your contribution, what would we give to have two of what they now call 'strikers' like Davie and John Willie? I know that it's impossible to compare players from different eras, and to those who say that players like Jimmy Greaves would not survive in todays game, I would counter that by saying, if he was in the game today he would be as fit as his peers, playing on the bowling greens and not the mudheaps that players not so very long ago had to contend with. I hope to see at the Bramley Moore, you do know that you and I the only ever present's don't you?
Danny O’Neill
356 Posted 16/08/2021 at 20:11:07
Robert @340, if possession is good enough for Cryuff, then its good enough for me. I think many have become scarred by the the possession for possession sake nature of the game adopted by many teams now. There's a difference between that and the type of possession football Manchester City play. Patience but go forward with intent when they flick the switch. The principle however is the same. If we have the ball, the opposition doesn't and can't hurt us, but we can them.

I've been boring everyone since January about the centre back Robert, but a key position for me. We need to have defenders who are comfortable playing higher up the pitch. That is not the high line and doesn't dismiss the need for them to defend. It means they are comfortable coming out with the ball, which in turn pushes the midfield further forward when we have possession and leaves the strikers less isolated as Dominic has often found himself because our defenders are scared to leave the edge of our box and the midfield equally frightened of venturing 10 yards from them.

Hey, I'm still in positive mood!!

Bill Gall
357 Posted 16/08/2021 at 20:22:25
Watching the goal by DCL. with the diving header reminded me of a player in the 70s who does not seem to get much mention or credit and that is M.Lyons who,s diving header for a goal I think it was against Leeds where he nearly lost his head with boots flying in. Tough young man he showed the pride in wearing the royal blue shirt of Everton.
Tony Abrahams
358 Posted 16/08/2021 at 20:33:07
I’d try him in midfield because when he’s played there in the past I’ve been impressed by the way he gets about the pitch Brian H, and I also don’t think that you’ve got the time to switch off in midfield, which is what Holgate seems to do when he’s got to much time. This is when his passing also starts to become careless, and once we take away Doucoure, then it’s not as if we are blessed with that much physicality in the middle of the park.

I thought it was strange when Ferguson picked Holgate in midfield, but he looked better in that role than he’s looked when playing either fullback or centre back, although I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if Everton tried to offload Holgate, if they can start doing some business in this transfer window. I can’t see Villa coming in for him though Brian!

David Peate
359 Posted 16/08/2021 at 20:41:50
Dave (344) I agree that John Willie Parker was not in the same class as Greaves. However, in the promotion year from div.2 to div. 1, John Willie scared over 30 goals in that season. Very few players can boast this feat whatever division they may have been in. Laid back is the memory of our JWP.
Laurie Hartley
360 Posted 16/08/2021 at 23:20:28
Ray#327 - Dave did indeed - I missed it. Apologies Dave.
He was a special footballer Jimmy.
Jamie Crowley
361 Posted 16/08/2021 at 23:36:15
Kim @ 320 -

Thanks for the heads up! It's the NBC highlights, so probably only viewable if your IP is in the USA.

Oh well. I tried.

Don Alexander
362 Posted 16/08/2021 at 00:06:19
We've never had a complete central defence with pace. Yes, we had Ratters but his partners were nowhere close in terms of pace but since then the game's changed and successful teams all seem to be able to play way higher than we've been unable to do for decades.

In addition our midfield has for yonks also been depressingly lacking in pace and that all means, as others say, we're stretched beyond belief in terms of readily supporting whatever poor sap/s been in our forward line.

On a more positive note DCL in an interview a year or so ago admitted, ruefully he said, that only Ben and Jarrad were quicker than him in a race. Maybe those at USMFF need to explore this?

Paul Birmingham
363 Posted 16/08/2021 at 00:08:39
Massive, massive and if this season Everton gets close to playing the football of Everton 1983-1988,89, and could muster the belief and spirit of Brazil in the 1982 World Cup, this could be some season.

But on par with Saturday a great base to build on. Some of the first time passes, and general offensive press, were the key to the goals.

The last manager stifled the nature of offensive football, at EFC,

I recall a goal the last manager scored when he played for Milan v Real, in 1989, and won 5-0. It was at the time one of those greatest games of the time. But he was lucky to be in a world class team. The Gary Neville of his era.

It’s haunted him, as a manager, and he deployed the worst boring football Goodison has seen in its history, in my view, and was the traditional 2 forward and six reverse gears cowardly manager.

Everton swerved the bullet with the last manager and perhaps the succession plan from a legal perspective has seen the board level change, announced today.

Onwards Evertonians, “Whats Our Name?”

Leeds, and to victory!

James Flynn
364 Posted 17/08/2021 at 01:02:06
"our midfield has for yonks also been depressingly lacking in pace and that all means, as others say, we're stretched beyond belief in terms of readily supporting whatever poor sap/s been in our forward line."

Goodness, how devoid of the simplest, basic observation can a person be?

Roberto's first two seasons we had pace EVERYWHERE on the pitch. Maybe, Barry didn't have straight-ahead pace. Maybe. Always seemed to be where where the ball was, though. Anywhere else on the pitch, our boys moved fast.

The problem was, and remains in retrospect, Roberto and his coaching staff were horseshit. A shameful waste of a talented side.

But, those Martinez sides "lacking in pace" can only come from someone who watched them with his back turned.

Just a few years ago.

Dave Abrahams
365 Posted 17/08/2021 at 14:59:14
David (359), yes John Willie was a good player and thirty goals in a season illustrates that fact, I was a fan of John Willie and “laid back” describes him perfectly, on and off the field.

Laurie (360) no need for apologies, this has been a very long thread, knowing your age I realise you saw Jimmy Greaves, and once you saw Greavsie you never ever forgot him. I hope you are keeping well Laurie, in Australia, you promised to buy me a pint when you come over, that in my diary Laurie, in large print!!

Laurie Hartley
366 Posted 18/08/2021 at 12:46:39

I am keeping well thanks and I haven't forgotten:

There were some good inside forwards knocking around in those days.


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