VAR adds insult to cruelty as spirited Blues fall to City

Lyndon Lloyd 26/02/2022 80comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 0 - 1 Manchester City

Teams like Manchester City don’t need extra assistance. They’re rich enough and stuffed with sufficient talent that this fixture has been almost completely one-sided since Everton inflicted what was the heaviest defeat of Pep Guardiola’s managerial career in 2017. Such is the mis-match that it took a Herculean effort by Frank Lampard’s team just to get to 82 minutes at 0-0 before finally being ground down and undone by a cruel Phil Foden goal.

Though the visitors’ superior possession and tally of shots arguably made them worthy winners, in the grand scheme of the imbalance in quality of the respective sides, Everton deserved something from this game and they should have been given the chance to claim it when Rodri clearly handled the ball in his own box. Unbelievably – or not, depending on your level of cynisicm – Video Assistant Referee Chris Kavanagh either failed spectacularly in his most basic duty or he revealed the bias, conscious or otherwise, that increasingly favours England’s very biggest clubs.

Such talk is usually the domain of bleating conspiracy theorists; sour grapes born of an inferior complex when these things are supposed to even out over the course of a 38-game season. But these incidents, an increasing number involving Kanavagh himself, either at Goodison Park or hundreds of miles away at Stockley Park, are no longer evening themselves out and they are beginning to cost teams like Everton valuable points.

It was Kavanagh who adjudged a prone Gylfi Sigurdsson to be offside when he disallowed an Everton winner over Manchester United almost two years ago to the day and then flashed Carlo Ancelotti a red card for arguing the point after the final whistle. It was Kavanagh who refused to award Everton a penalty earlier this season when Hugo Lloris brought Richarlison down in this season’s draw with Tottenham and, a week after a clear handball by Oriel Romeu wasn’t awarded to the Toffees by Andy Madley, it was Kavanagh who decided there wasn’t conclusive evidence to penalise Rodri for a handball that seems to have been blatantly obvious to everyone except the match official from Greater Manchester.

In the context of Everton’s battle against relegation, it would have been a massive point if they had converted the spot-kick and held on for at least a point. As it is, they could kick off Monday’s return fixture against Spurs in the relegation zone if Burnley pick up at least a point from the two home games, against Leicester and Chelsea, that they’ll play in the interim.

But while the injustice will sting for a while, albeit salved somewhat by Lampard’s indignant post-match comments that carried just the right amount of simmering anger without seriously over-stepping the mark, Everton can take a lot of heart from this display and draw from it optimism that while the short-term picture looks bleak in terms of league position, if they play anywhere close to this level in their remaining games at Goodison and enough of them away from home, they should be fine.

At the heart of it were spades of determination and effort from every player in royal blue following an emotional pre-match show of support for Vitalii Mykolenko, City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko and their homeland of Ukraine which is valiantly trying to stave off an invasion by Russian forces on the orders of Vladimir Putin. In truth, fatigue played as much a role in City eventually being able to wear the Blues down as anything else as the likes of Richarlison, Anthony Gordon and Alex Iwobi worked tirelessly with the press and Allan, Abdoulaye Doucouré and Donny van de Been ran themselves into the ground in midfield before the Dutchman had to go off with a knock with 20 minutes left.

The trio, forming what is unquestionably the Toffees’ strongest midfield combination in what is their best formation under Lampard, were a big reason why, in contrast to the recent away defeats at St James’ Park and St Mary’s, Everton weren’t overrun in the middle of the park. Providing they can stay fit, they will be as big a factor as any of the new boss is able to keep the club in the Premier League.

Jonjoeo Kenny was, once again, preferred to Mykolenko, who was moved to tears at the start of the match as his team-mates exited the tunnel wrapped in the flag of his country and a large banner with his likeness and Ukraine’s colours was unfurled from the Upper Gwladys. Kenny hadn’t been able to replicate his excellent display against Leeds when he was selected again at Southampton last weekend but his inclusion this evening was more than vindicated.

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The formerly forgotten Scouser was instrumental in keeping Foden and Bernardo Silva quiet down City’s right flank during a first half where Guardiola’s much-vaunted attack were restricted to just one meaningful effort on target. Indeed, the only disappointment about Kenny’s participation was that the Blues’ best chance of the first period fell to him on his weaker foot and he sliced a shot into the Park End after terrific work by the tenacious Allan with half an hour gone.

This was a case of City not being allowed to play their game. Everton let their centre-halves have it as far as the halfway line but then they would hunt their quarry in packs and try to snuff out the opposition’s attacks. Chances were at a premium for Lampard’s men but they had the best of them in the first 45 minutes, with Gordon testing Ederson with a low, fizzed cross from the left in the 13th minute, Richarlison driving a shot straight at his compatriot in the 34th and Gordon clearing the crossbar by inches with a direct free-kick in first-half stoppage time.

Everton began the second half well but, as expected, the visitors soon began to exert their superiority on the contest with increasing pressure as the hosts started to feel the physical effects of their ceaseless efforts.

Foden forced the first serious save from Pickford 11 minutes after the restart when the keeper beat his shot away and he had to be even more alert to deny John Stones a rare goal from open play when he parried the former Everton defender's rising shot behind for a corner.

Pickford then made a terrific double-save to foil first De Bruyne and then Foden before Van de Beek made a stretching tackle to divert the ball away from danger, unfortunately injuring himself in the process requiring the introduction of Dele Alli in his stead.

Two minutes later, De Bruyne headed a chipped Bernardo Silva cross onto the roof of the net before Everton's only real chance of the second period fell to Gordon. Iwobi and the returning Doucouré had peeled away on the counter-attack with the latter finding Gordon's surging run down the opposite flank but the 21-year-old could only find the side-netting with his finish.

The game had moved into the final 10 minutes when City's pressure told in the most frustrating of circumstances from Everton's point of view. Bernardo Silva's low cross took a deflection off Holgate's out-stretched leg which wrong-footed Keane who couldn't react in time as Foden seized on the loose ball and tucked it home. Both players have had their share of critics this season but this was simply bad luck with, perhaps, the result of tired limbs and minds.

Yet Everton's gutsy display could and should have been rewarded with that spot-kick at the other end just two minutes later, one which would almost certainly have been given at the other end if the teams and scoreline were reversed. Dele had picked Richarlison out with a ball between the lines and Ederson saved from his compatriot but as Rodri tried to control the rebound, he moved his arm toward the ball making contact below his bicep which led to the Gwladys Street End and the Blues players to bay in unison for a penalty.

No dice from Kavanagh who didn’t even instruct referee Paul Tierney to view the incident on the pitch-side monitor. You have to wonder why not, but the answer is unlikely to be forthcoming and until the game as a whole rises up and demands that VAR be implemented properly, impartially and by competent officials, controversies like this will continue to blight the domestic game.

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Jim Bennings
1 Posted 27/02/2022 at 07:52:16
VAR is a disgrace, it's something that we very quickly sussed out two years ago when it was first introduced, it's been introduced only to benefit the top sides.

It's nothing new to us anyway, we've been robbed by referees for years, some of the worst culprits in recent years Martin Twatkinson and Mark Clattenburg in the 2007 Merseyside derby (at least Clattenburg was big enough to admit his mistakes).

Yesterday was a defeat but it already feels different under Lampard, doesn't it? There's more hunger, more drive, more pressing; kudos to him for already getting these players to run harder.

Hopefully the tide will turn because he doesn't deserve relegation with Everton, a mess that was already 90% made before his arrival last month.

Steve Little
2 Posted 27/02/2022 at 08:31:49
Richarlison was offside when put through, just before the handball occurred.

So the offside unfortunately has to take precedence and hence City were given an indirect free-kick.

Ray Roche
3 Posted 27/02/2022 at 08:34:38
Yes Steve and didn’t Sky debunk that offside claim?
Tony Everan
4 Posted 27/02/2022 at 08:43:13
VAR referee Kavanagh made no mistake, this interpretation was intended, it was a corrupt decision whichever way you look at it. Why wasn't it referred to the pitch side monitor? Answer: because the ref then would have been compelled to give a penalty. Corrupt not to give it it as it was clear and obvious and corrupt not to refer it to the monitor. Corrupt because any investigation would be futile.

The only way VAR will get better and inconsistencies ironed out is having total transparency in real time of the decision-making process. Officials have to be accountable of their decision-making like in Rugby or Cricket. Only then will they be motivated (or forced) to improve.

Until that happens, VAR is fertile ground for corruption to flourish.

Onto the game, the lads deserved a draw for their effort and desire to work throughout. First half we were comfortable, Kenny, Richarlison should have finished better. The midfield with Doucouré, Allan and Van de Beek looked far better and it is a very promising combination. It has tenacity and quality. The continued fitness of these three is central to our security. More of this midfield energy and organisation and we will be fine.

Jim Bennings
5 Posted 27/02/2022 at 08:49:19
Agreed if Richarlison and Kenny had been able to finish better we'd probably have won that game.

Sadly Kenny has never scored and probably won't with his left foot ever.

Whilst Richarlison never seems composed enough these days in front of goal, I'm struggling to work out why he seemed to be a better finisher in his first two seasons than he has been in this last 18 months?

Anyway, we need a striker in the summer, relying on Calvert-Lewin when he's hardly fit now and likely to be off is naive at best.

Danny O’Neill
6 Posted 27/02/2022 at 08:54:29
There lies the fundamental problem Jim Bennings. The standard of the officials, whether watching on video or on the pitch. That's what needs to be addressed.

Nothing is ever 100%, but VAR should push the needle closer to 90% than perhaps the 70% we experienced with unaided human decisions made in the split second.

Used properly by officials who actually understand the game and a Top 4 fan group, VAR should even things out. Funny how it tends to get used correctly in games not involving the Top 4.

Sorry. Still a bit raw over that. The most blatant penalty since Carragher wrestled Lescott to the ground and claimed innocence.

Frank Sheppard
7 Posted 27/02/2022 at 08:57:43
Steve @ 2,

Match officials explained to Lampard that Richarlison was not offside in the build-up.

Barry Rathbone
8 Posted 27/02/2022 at 09:01:44
Foden pounces to snatch late victory

@3.20 the pass has been made and the ball on it's way Richarlison is clearly the right side of the last City defender therefore not offside. It took 5 seconds to see this irrefutable evidence. Very poor officiating.

Bill Fairfield
9 Posted 27/02/2022 at 09:03:14
The game was stopped for an offside decision, but that was after the handball incident.

Lampard was told by the referee there was no offside leading up to the handball incident.

Phil Wood
10 Posted 27/02/2022 at 09:19:39
Bad or corrupt decisions are rife in Sport.

After witnessing the disgraceful no penalty decision yesterday and hearing the media support the penalty call and lack of cohesive Referee and VAR co-operation, I then watch the boxing and witness another party robbed of justice. Yet again, all knowledgeable witnesses to the folly are "gobsmacked" by a decision.

Who holds these corrupt and bumbling officials to book?

Just fed up with being taken for a sucker.

Jerome Shields
11 Posted 27/02/2022 at 09:29:23
We where robbed at the death of a point. The team effort was what I expected and hopefully are rest and recovery regime this week does not affect our performance against Tottenham. An FA Cup tie in-between will help in keeping players up to speed.

Everton were back to their Brentford & Leeds performance. All the players played well. Iowbi improved in ball retention and Van de Beek gained composure. Allan played De Bruyne off the pitch. Everton are better against a Top 6 side where individual players are not targeted.

The only failing was the error-prone Keane, who had played well up to that point, and Lampard fai!ing to make the necessary substitutions early enough, which he did do eventually, in the second half. This allowed Man City to keep pushing their defensive line up to midfield in support of the attack. Everton, like Tottenham, had the players to take advantage of this and push them back.

Everton need some luck and I wish them luck in the run-in.

Brent Stephens
12 Posted 27/02/2022 at 09:37:25
"Checking Club Badge. VAR"! Very good title, Lyndon!

A shocking VAR decision. Looked a penalty in real time and on replays.

Mal van Schaick
13 Posted 27/02/2022 at 09:39:00
After a gritty performance with our players giving their all, we were robbed of a valuable point.

The club should approach the head of the Referee's Association and put their case. The Referee and Video Assistant Referee should be punished by being downgraded and consideration should be given to this issue by the FA, enabling them to issue a point to Everton or hard-done-by clubs in a similar position, or at least re-run the taking of a penalty.

Robert Tressell
14 Posted 27/02/2022 at 09:51:38
Robbed of 4 points since Lampard arrived – at Newcastle and yesterday against City.

Need to get right into the faces of referees in the run-in, the whole team needs to participate. Lampard knows how it works.

Tricia Wood
15 Posted 27/02/2022 at 10:07:10
Have said before and will say again. Ex premier ref mark halsey says that the refs where / are encouraged to give the big decisions to the usual suspects ( lpool etc ) because of the finance. The money makers as in global interest. Totally corrupt
Dennis Stevens
16 Posted 27/02/2022 at 10:17:29
We had incompetent (biased/corrupt?) officials before VAR, so VAR is just another tool being misused by the same people. Competent, honest officials will make mistakes, whether using VAR or not, but we're seeing far too many and have done for far too long. It stinks and is ruining the game.
Danny O’Neill
17 Posted 27/02/2022 at 10:20:45
Exactly Dennis. It's the competency of the officials, regardless as to whether they are viewing a screen (should be easier than split-second) or on the pitch.

The technology is fine.

Martin Reppion
18 Posted 27/02/2022 at 10:49:51
I don't blame the on-field referee for not giving the penalty. He appeared to be blocked off from the incident by a player running across his line of vision.

However, as was said by everyone watching with me in the pub, where I was the only Blue, plus everyone who saw the replay except for Stevie Wonder in the VAR control room, it was a clear penalty.

Incompetence does not answer this because from every angle it looked like handball. The official should have instructed the ref to look again. Particularly if he had said that he hadn't given the penalty because he couldn't see it.

There is no point in having VAR if it is used so incompetently (the kind version) or corruptly.

Ernie Baywood
19 Posted 27/02/2022 at 11:09:51
Danny, the technology is fine, but the VAR is far more than the ability to broadcast video to a little room. It's another official and a set of related processes. The VAR has a set of rules.

1) The rules are nonsense. They've not awarded that penalty on a technicality. They've used the "clear and obvious error" standard to avoid overruling the referee... so that's more important than awarding an obvious penalty? Basically for any touch above the wrist, the rule is that if the ref calls it, it's given, if they don't then it won't be. Why bother then?

2) They don't even follow their own rules consistently! We've had decisions against us that were nothing like clear and obvious errors. Sometimes the VAR re-refs the game and picks up on the tiniest of touches, other times they'd require an all-out assault before they'd overrule the ref's on-pitch call.

3) It promotes the wrong behaviour. The VAR gives referees a 'Get out of jail free' card. If a decision is a hot one, they don't need to make it anymore. The VAR will bail them out. Except the rules don't always allow it and they can't even apply them consistently.

None of this is new. It's been an issue since its introduction. All yesterday did was provide a great example of just how flawed the approach to VAR is.

John Cook
20 Posted 27/02/2022 at 11:14:21
Referees in this country have been a disgrace for years. If I remember correctly, at the last World Cup, not one ref from England was engaged. The Euros, I can't remember more than two officiating – that's before I get started on VAR that, in my opinion, is ruining the game.
Danny O’Neill
21 Posted 27/02/2022 at 11:25:44
I think we are violently agreeing, Ernie. It's the officials and the rules that are at fault here.

The video technology gives them the view that most non-match going fans see, so should be an advantage to correct decision making.

So, for me, it's a combination of stupid rules (the offside shoelace / thread hanging off the sleeve one) and the officials' ability to interpret a scenario. Or should I say fear of making a decision that goes against the grain?

Brian Harrison
22 Posted 27/02/2022 at 11:33:07
We as fans really have to question why, where video action replay is used in other sports, such as in particular rugby (both codes) and cricket, that we can see and hear what the officials are discussing and how they come to their decision.

VAR was supposed to correct the glaring mistakes that Premier League refs were making on a regular basis, but it seems it has made the situation worse.

I accept that the ref could have not seen the incident clearly, but that's not an excuse that the VAR official can claim. Also, why isn't there any discussion between the ref and the linesman as there used to be before VAR came in?

Seems like, other than throw-ins, the linesmen have become redundant, they even seem to wait for confirmation from VAR before raising their flag for offside.

So there needs to be more pressure put onto Riley and his incompetent band of officials, to have to display on screen what they are looking at and for refs to be miked up so we can hear how they come to their decisions.

I am sure if fans' reaction could stop clubs joining the proposed European Super League, then getting these changes to how VAR is used should be easy.

Rob Halligan
23 Posted 27/02/2022 at 11:40:19
Steve @2.

Richarlison wasn't offside as there was a City defender's foot playing him on. Offside was given because it was the easy, and cowards way out from awarding a stonewall penalty against one of the so-called Big 6 clubs.

Mick O'Malley
24 Posted 27/02/2022 at 12:04:28
I'm not Allan's biggest fan but I thought he was excellent yesterday, Doucouré and Van de Beek also played really well and Richarlison put a shift in, as did Anthony Gordon; really unlucky yesterday, we did not deserve to lose.

Good to see a performance on the front foot in the first half; if we can play like that away, we will be okay. Pity the decision to punt Benitez was not made earlier so we could have given Lampard the full January window instead of 24 hours.

Disgusted with not getting the penalty, a blatant handball.

Tony Byrne
25 Posted 27/02/2022 at 12:33:36
After witnessing this live at the match yesterday, it cemented my firm belief that VAR was brought in to "legally" fix the bigger decisions in favour of the sky 4-6.

The technology is absolutely fine, the corruption comes from the officials who make these bent decisions.

Somebody has already mentioned the boxing decision that was made against Jack Catterall last night, another corrupt/bent outcome.

The integrity of our major sports in this country has disappeared.

Rick Tarleton
26 Posted 27/02/2022 at 12:47:41
VAR is a tool for "proving" that referees are right. If it usually over-ruled the officials, it would prove how inept the officials are and so, on 90% of occasions, it backs a dubious decision in the mistaken belief that it proves referees get most decisions right.

The technical term for this is utter bollocks.

Ian Bennett
27 Posted 27/02/2022 at 12:49:52
Major sport is bent. Period.

When those in authority are in fear of finding against those dominant teams, as they fear being pushed out of the 'club' – it is clear that it's corrupt.

I am not saying backhanders are being made, as I doubt that is happening. However, officials fear making major decisions against the elite, as the consequence is they'll be ostracized out of the 'club'.

Everton are a soft touch. They're the perfect size for the authorities to find against them, but also not big enough to cause a problem.

To date, Niasse has been the only player to ever receive a ban for diving. No other player it appears has ever dived since...

Yesterday, it was clear that the penalty decision would go against us. We know if that had been the other way, the penalty would have gone the other way via VAR. VAR is therefore only a benefit for the strongest teams.

It's hard enough playing against world class players propped up by an entire oil state. An oil state that fudged Financial Fair Play, to get into such a position. Yesterday was a 12 vs 11 game.

This wasn't about one decision. It was pretty much the way he refereed it all game. Allan and Van der Beek put on early bookings, Laporte and Diaz getting away with numerous fouls in areas of the pitch to snuff out any danger – no action whatsoever.

I don't know why I ever objected to a breakaway European Super League. At least you might get straight football in any remaining local league...

John Cook
28 Posted 27/02/2022 at 13:46:49
Ian Bennet, absolutely spot on!
John McFarlane Snr
29 Posted 27/02/2022 at 13:58:10
HI Jerome [11],

I disagree with your comment "The only failing was the error-prone Keane."

I sit in the Park End stand and didn't see the defection off Holgate until I watched Match of the Day. It appears that a scapegoat is inevitable in any Everton defeat and this week you've chosen Keane.

It's my opinion that he had moved into a good position to deal with the cross, but the deflection forced him into trying to clear the danger. If you have played the game, I'm sure that you will appreciate that it's nigh on impossible to deal with this kind of situation, the weight of your body is taking you away from the direction of the ball, and if Keane had made no effort to clear the danger it's quite likely that he would have suffered the wrath of the crowd.

Hi Danny [various posts],

Unlike yourself, I have a hatred of VAR. I believe that it's having a negative effect on the game. Okay, so I'm Old School, but I find that the thrill of a goal can be tempered by having to wait for the confirmation of it [or not] can take away a percentage of the enjoyment.

In my world, football is played by humans, officiated by humans, and watched by humans. I know that today's game has progressed in some ways, but I don't include VAR in that category. I know that I will be ridiculed in some quarters for my views but there you are, I'm an old stick-in-the-mud.

Danny O’Neill
30 Posted 27/02/2022 at 14:03:07
You're no stick-in-the-mud, John Senior.

The problem has been the implementation. It's still generating inconsistent decisions as much as the officials used to without it.

The problem remains as it always has done: the officials.

John McFarlane Snr
31 Posted 27/02/2022 at 14:20:34
Hi Danny [30],

If your view that "The problem remains as it always has done, the officials" is correct, then I prefer the mistakes to be made by the on-field officials, where we can enjoy [or otherwise] their decisions, and live the moments without the threat of outside interference.

Simon Harrison
32 Posted 27/02/2022 at 14:24:47
Lyndon, great post and very considered considering the subject matter. Cracking image at the top of the OP as well. It made me have a wry grin.

Firstly, to echo what the others have said about the team effort; it was very commendable (even if I did single out a player yesterday, I feel I was justified) and very nearly it garnered us with an unexpected point.

Every player should feel pleased, with varying degrees, for their performance. Keane should not be pelted for the goal, as John [29] said, he was already committed to move forward to intercept the ball before the Holgate (no blame) deflection. By the way, I thought the ball hit Seamus' heel on the way thru too didn't it? The goal was just unfortunate.

Re the question of VAR, the technology is there to enhance the game, yet through (un)conscious bias, inconsistency, lack of fibre, or via 'instruction', it is currently not fit for purpose.

The best analogy I can come up with is with a firearm. It is a perfect tool to do a job, however, the results of that job depends on who uses and how the firearm is used, and who the target(s) are.

Lastly, a valid question to be asked of the PGMOL, is a very simple addition to the use of VAR, which is thus;

If, a referee states that he didn't, or couldn't see the incident (clearly or otherwise), then instead of the VAR making a decision away from the atmosphere and being out of the 'spirit' of the match; the VAR will always direct the referee to the pitch-side monitor FIRST. This is before any decision is made. Then, along side an audible stream of the discussion to the crowd and TV audience between the ref and VAR, a decision can be made.

Surely, that would iron out at least some of these nonsensical decisions?

PS Ian [27] first line, All major sport is bent. Period. AMEN brother!

In my opinion I agree, whether it is physical or financial doping, spot fixing, performing to instruction or purely for financial gain.

It goes back as far as the 1919 Blacksox scandal, to boxing, cycling, football, rugby, tennis, athletics, still baseball (2019), horse racing etc etc etc

Again where there's muck there's brass, and sports been mucky for a long, long time.

Robert Tressell
33 Posted 27/02/2022 at 14:35:39
On a different note, every time I see Jonjoe Kenny, I can't get my head around why he's been so overlooked by Ancelotti and Benitez. Not perfect, but has something about him.

He looks a Premier League player to me – and will presumably find a Premier League club to sign for when his contract expires in summer.

Also, long term, we may have a star, but the Patterson signing looks a very weird move at the moment.

I suppose you could also say the same thing about Mykolenko, El Ghazi and Dele Alli.

Of the 5 January signings, only Van de Beek has contributed.

Hopefully Thelwell gets a grip of our bizarre approach to recruitment and player development.

Jack Convery
34 Posted 27/02/2022 at 15:09:11
If Tierney had seen on the replays, what we all saw, he would have given a penalty. He would have had no choice. However, Kavanagh making sure he didn't go to a monitor, ensured we didn't get it. That's got to be corruption surely.

We did well against a very well-oiled machine yesterday. Stop the crap displays and we'll get the points we need... won't we?

Alan J Thompson
35 Posted 27/02/2022 at 15:16:12
I'm sorry, lads, but there won't be anything audible from those at VAR.

Can you imagine on the public address a chorus of, "Oooohh, you've given that against them!?!" followed by, "There'll be no bottle of red or hot water when you're next up there". But I suppose it may explain how a lot of these decisions are reached.

Simon Harrison
36 Posted 27/02/2022 at 15:45:57
Jack [34] That's a very good point about Kavanagh keeping Tierney away from the monitor.

Scrap my idea at [32], it is even simpler.

Anytime that VAR is involved in the game, it must be mandated that the referee is to attend the pitch-side monitor.

Simples hopefully...

Alan [35] Unfortunately, I have to agree, we won't be getting VAR audible streams anytime soon I think?


Does anyone know of a mechanism for a united supporters fanbase, or coalition of supporters clubs to pressure the FA, EPL, and PGMOL to revise the VAR rules?

Clive Rogers
37 Posted 27/02/2022 at 16:26:57
Robert, 33, Kenny's stats tell a different story. One tackle in his last two games.
Dave Abrahams
38 Posted 27/02/2022 at 17:24:25
Clive (37),

Kenny kept his position while still doing runs up and down the field. Foden went on the other wing before the first half had finished, he ran across the field to the right back position and stopped a good breakaway by City. He might have done better with the chance he had with a bit more composure, the same lack of composure that Richarlison and Gordon showed with their chances.

I think he has done okay in the games I have seen (I missed the Southampton game) and hope he continues to be selected. Maybe he will earn himself a new contract?

Brent Stephens
39 Posted 27/02/2022 at 17:27:33
Dave, with you totally on Jonjoe Kenny yesterday. An excellent performance. Thrilled for him. And in the left-back position as well. Can't praise that enough.
Ernie Baywood
40 Posted 27/02/2022 at 21:05:48
I was very impressed with Jonjoe Kenny yesterday. I wouldn't have thought he had the ability or confidence to operate the way he did. I'm specifically talking about how we played passing football through him.

I'll temper my enthusiasm as I've previously seen him really struggle with ball retention and decision making. We'll see in time whether yesterday was a sign that he simply needed a manager to have confidence in him, or whether it's a deviation from the norm.

Dan Murphy
41 Posted 27/02/2022 at 21:22:27
Welcome to Everton, Frankie, me old China plate.

I should warn you, you don't get them decisions no more now you're not with one of the big boys.

In fact, you'll get Fahk-all, son!

Alan J Thompson
42 Posted 28/02/2022 at 05:31:45
Funny how, when given a few games, Kenny, like Gordon, has shown great improvement. I'd certainly offer him a 2-year contract with an option for a third year. Hopefully, our new management team will be encouraged to look at some of the promising youngsters we have in a similar manner.

Oh, and did Mr Thelwell put a Sunday in, with Bill, drafting a letter to the Premier League stating our disgust with the match officials and demanding that steps are taken both to change the way VAR operates and disciplinary action against the officials concerned? Probably still awaiting the arrival of a homing pigeon from Monaco.

Danny O’Neill
43 Posted 28/02/2022 at 06:26:35
Look Alan J, I am a huge fan of Jonjoe and have so wanted him to succeed at Everton. I watched him at Schalke and I am made up that he is finally being given a run. His attitude cannot be faulted and I've watched him lead (yes lead) the team over to the travelling fans on more than one occasion this season. Even when warming up on the side (he tends to constantly be warming up rather than warming his arse on the bench), if we score, he's one of the first celebrating with the team!!

But I'll play Devil's advocate. I didn't think he was good enough for where I wanted Everton to be a year or two ago. So maybe now he's standing out because of the standard we've dropped to?? Or that he's been given his chance as you say?? Both questions, not statements.

It's going to take a few windows and seasons to climb out of this but despite the current league position, I feel positive about the way the club is structuring itself; just the board room to go now as I feel a lot of other things are in place if the owner can release the shackles of the past and get the right people in a C-Level.

Until then, I'll enjoy watching Jonjoe Kenny living the dream we all wanted to. He put in yet another good performance on his wrong side on Saturday. I feel he would play in goal for Everton if asked to.

Alan J Thompson
44 Posted 28/02/2022 at 06:55:19
Looking and reading, Danny, but not quite sure from your #43 where you stand on Jonjoe.

You question the standard of opposition like Man City and others in what many think is the most difficult League but say he has improved or others around him, being so poor, make him look a lot better? I'd probably have agreed more if you had said he now has to keep improving and show a consistency over a longer period.

The alternatives may be that he would be a good squad player who now looks like he could cover both full back positions or would be worthy of a good transfer fee. It is a decision for Frank and his coaching staff and even the new DoF but Kenny is now in a position that he can sign a pre-contract agreement with another club which unarguably would be Everton's loss.

Danny O’Neill
45 Posted 28/02/2022 at 07:12:33
I suppose if you pushed me, Alan, and from a pure football perspective (Everton-tinted glasses aside), undecided but still hopeful.

Not questioning the standard of the opposition Alan; I think City speak for themselves – probably the best footballing team in Europe. Just an opinion on Jonjoe having watched him for several years.

Like I say, they are both questions. Is he better than we thought having now aged and gained experience? Or is he getting his chance because the competition and standard of the squad isn't what it was a few years ago?

Questions on both sides of the debate.

I'm a Kenny fan, so don't let that distract from my honest opinion of him. Regardless of the circumstances, I hope he can take the opportunity presented to him with all his Everton heart.

Alan J Thompson
46 Posted 28/02/2022 at 07:27:56
Danny (#45); A third option might be that he is getting better coaching which, according to some reports, is coming from Ashley Cole.

Whatever, I don't think Everton would be amiss in offering another contract, obviously not a 5-year £50k a week job which is easily put in place if it is considered appropriate.

Danny O’Neill
47 Posted 28/02/2022 at 08:10:26
I think, despite the supporters of the current Finch Farm set-up, Alan, the coaching has been a problem.

I still suspect that Barkley wasn't coached correctly from a young age and just allowed to do his thing because he was bigger and quicker. So his flaws weren't ironed out. The phrase "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" springs to mind.

Kenny is worth his place in this current Everton squad.

The standard I want Everton to be? That's the debate. But right now, he's good enough for this squad.

David Bromwell
49 Posted 28/02/2022 at 08:15:23
Kenny is certainly giving his all for the team currently, and he must be impressing the Manager with his commitment and application. I hope he gets the chance to play on his natural right-hand side, maybe on Thursday.

Just a word to for Michael Keane, he too has to play on left-hand side when playing with Godfrey or Holgate. During Moyes’s time with the club, he always tried to play right- and left-footed centre-backs as a pair. Maybe young Branthwaite will get a run out on Thursday?

Danny Baily
50 Posted 28/02/2022 at 08:18:19
If Kenny is the answer, the question should be cause for concern.

Having said that, I'm glad we've held onto him all these years. He's done his best to cover at left-back and will no doubt be a staple of the side next season if we go down.

Stan Schofield
51 Posted 28/02/2022 at 10:04:11
It's likely that Kenny has blossomed in the home games because the entire team has been a well-functioning unit in the home games under Lampard.

I always believe that it's difficult to assess a player without considering the set-up in which they're playing. They can look crap in one set-up, but great in another. This is why brilliantly performing players who are transferred to ‘bigger' clubs so often fail to meet the expectations that they've set, and why apparently ordinary players at one club become outstanding players at another.

The whole, the system, is always more than the simplistic sum of its parts.

Jerome Shields
52 Posted 28/02/2022 at 10:13:30
Keane has a definite weakness on his right side, which he repeatedly gets caught out with. Numerous times it has cost Everton. He is a right-footed player, so what is causing this problem is a mystery.

He seems to turn in, anticipating a ball going across the goal and is off-balance to recover. Sometimes he turns in that much, his positioning is way off.

Both Ancelotti and Benitez had him play on the left and would play Godfrey to cover Coleman and his reduced pace. I always thought this was in response to a Keane error on his right. Frank has not that option at the moment.

As for Kenny, he is working very hard. He did get caught out once in the first half when a Man City player did get in behind him. But he looks solid.

Coleman is playing okay, though age is against him playing week-in & week-out.

Bob Parrington
53 Posted 28/02/2022 at 10:14:25
Whichever way one looks at it, this penalty or no penalty decision has corruption nailed on to it. Frank's comment that even his 3-year-old daughter would know it's a penalty is spot on (pun). Kavanagh has no place to hide. He should be stripped of his right to referee Premier League games for several years at least.

The Premier League wet-rag response was disgustingly two-faced. They should be ashamed. The game should be replayed but, of course, there is no chance of this happening. Premier League - shame on you, shame on you, shame on you.

If Everton goes down by one point, I'd love to see the shitheads in charge of Premier League refereeing to be sued big time... but of course this will not happen.

Just to finish, heart goes out to Mykolenko and his fellow countrymen with the invasion by Russia. Bullet between the eyes for Putin is the only solution. Okay, I expect to be censored on this. 😡

Jon Wit
54 Posted 28/02/2022 at 10:27:13
Incompetence is just plausible deniability – it was cowardice from a sycophantic man with, at the very best, a subconscious bias to assist the richer club – hoping that will reflect well on his career.
Brian Harrison
55 Posted 28/02/2022 at 10:42:41
I said on another thread the other day that I think we have to remember that Lampard and his coaching team have been here for about 30 days, and the transformation he is making is impressive. I think that's just not my opinion but I think the majority of fans I speak to feel the same.

Normally, if any recent previous managers had lost back-to-back games, the fans would be asking serious questions over whether he is the right man to get us out of the mess.

But we have all seen the improvements he and his coaches have made in such a short space of time, and he is making fundamental changes to the way we play which is not easily achieved in such a short period of time. He is implementing these changes when he and the players are under pressure just to get results – never mind how you get them.

And while it's true it's no use changing the style if it doesn't produce results. I am convinced that, if we are to improve as a club the way Lampard and his coaches want us to play has to be implemented, however painful in the short term.

He is also trying to implement these changes without last season's top goalscorer or without possibly our best defender; Saturday was the first time he could select Doucoure and play with a 3-man midfield.

I, like many, have seen top top players like Bobby Charlton and Bobby Moore fail in management, and to a lesser extent Roy Keane, but I think Lampard will be a top manager.

He came here knowing the predicament we are in. Unlike his predecessor, who wanted to pick fights with players and staff, he has got the backing of players and coaches and – just as importantly – the fans.

Goodison is once again a joy to be inside amongst a fully committed fanbase that knows better days are ahead; just hold your nerve and keep the belief which I believe will see us stay clear of relegation come the end of the season.

Bob Parrington
56 Posted 28/02/2022 at 10:57:03
Brian @ #55 Great posting. Well presented!
Stan Schofield
57 Posted 28/02/2022 at 11:13:35
Brian @55: Good post.

In the past few seasons, we've won some tedious games, where us supporters have been grateful for the 3 points but not pleased with the performance, with little or no light at the end of the tunnel.

In contrast, against City, we came away with nothing, but the circumstances and the way we're playing under Lampard give us light at the end of the tunnel that there might finally be a culture change at Everton.

Primarily, our football will be more dynamic and on the front foot, and secondarily, we'll no longer be shat upon by officials in the way we have been in the past.

Overall, a winning mentality as opposed to the lethargy that's characterised Everton.

Rob Halligan
58 Posted 28/02/2022 at 11:22:19
From now on, every Everton player needs to be in the ears of the referee from the kick-off. Yesterday, Henderson within a few minutes of kick-off was already having words with Attwell, trying to referee the game himself.

Every minor decision, they are all there. The elbow by Keita on I think it was Mount. The lunge by Keita on Kante's groin. Both yellow cards and therefore a sending off. Yet following both challenges the shite are surrounding the referee like they were trying to say it was the Chelsea players who instigated their own injury.

We've got to start being ruthless, and if that means starting on Thursday against Boreham Wood, then so be it. Get right into the referee's ears. Lampard will know all about this, as John Terry at Chelsea was a genius at it, refereeing the game from the kick-off.

We need to start throwing a few early challenges in, let the opposition know who's boss. Nothing too cynical that will result in a card, but the “sly” challenges, leaving a foot in or a little knee into the back of a forward. Stuff we were told to do on a Sunday morning.

Fuck the Premier League and fuck the officials. They are all as corrupt as fuck!!

Danny O’Neill
59 Posted 28/02/2022 at 11:33:27
Cosy, nice old Everton for too long, Rob.

On and off the pitch.

Tony Everan
60 Posted 28/02/2022 at 11:38:01
Brian @55, I think you are right, the vast majority now are fully behind Frank and his team. We have to extend that support to the players themselves for this last part of the season, mistakes or no mistakes. It's all for one and one for all time.

Rob 58, Couldn't agree more, we have been far too passive for years and it is a breath of fresh air to see some passionate and vociferous reasoning being directed at the referee. The more of it the better.

These passionate responses to perceived injustices on the pitch also get the players fired up and the crowd too. That fervor can eventually sway 50/50 decisions or future actions of the ref. during games. At home matches we need to double up on this and let no dubious decision pass without getting right into the referee's face about it.

Brian Murray
61 Posted 28/02/2022 at 11:46:37
I agree that Frank and his team have started a big change in attitude and mentality. Ashley Cole on the pitch and Lampard's fiery nature is something that this passive club wouldn't dream of.

Seamus and Jagielka, the Everton Way? no more. Great servants but no leaders by any stretch. We have winners on board. Next stop: the boardroom... then watch us go.

Michael Connelly
62 Posted 28/02/2022 at 11:52:25
See Kavanagh is from Ashton-under-Lyme, which only heightens the suspicion for me. I'm not sure that there is a rule on not refereeing teams that are close to where you are from, but there probably should be.
Barry Hesketh
63 Posted 28/02/2022 at 12:16:49
It wouldn't matter to me if the referee was born and bred in Liverpool, so long as he refereed the game fairly and gave every decision as he saw them. He could support any team he liked as long as he was fair in the matches he officiated.

I don't believe there is a bias because an official supports a particular team or comes from a particular place; it's mostly the gaze of the pundits and TV companies that frightens them into making so many unbelievable mistaken calls.

Mike Riley is to blame for having the officials acting like unthinking robots because it was he who decided to pre-judge certain matches and certain players due to what had happened in previous encounters.

It might not prove that officials or the actual game is corrupt; however, if it was taken to a court of law, there is enough circumstantial evidence to suggest that at best it looks corrupt.

Stan Schofield
64 Posted 28/02/2022 at 12:39:00
Barry@63: That's a good point about the game ‘appearing' corrupt. Even if it were not actually corrupt, the very appearance of corruption is enough to ‘bring the game into disrepute'. And censure for ‘bringing the game into disrepute' has been a central principle of football right from its start, with respect to the sport's ethics and associated need for sportsmanship.

Of course, without such principles, it's not really a game at all, and for many, not worth watching. It descends to a purely commercial enterprise. It's for this reason of ‘appearance' that I, for example, largely stopped watching football not involving Everton, not as a decision as such, but as a natural process of disinterest. I'm sure I'm not alone in this.

Dave Abrahams
65 Posted 28/02/2022 at 13:14:25
Barry (63), Barry in the 1940-50s there was a top referee named W. Evans from Liverpool who refereed top class games in England including international games but he never refereed any Everton or Liverpool games including the derby games as far as I know, this was in the days when fair play was taken for granted and it was not only done but seen to be done.

Fair play these days is in the hands of the referees, VAR referees and those in charge of the referees and, a lot of the time, fair play is not seen to be done but handled in a very suspicious manner with just a few clubs benefitting from the decisions made by them. I'll let you judge who those clubs seem to be!!

I doubt very much that Everton FC are one of those clubs.

Rick Tarleton
66 Posted 28/02/2022 at 13:20:03
VAR and the officials aren't corrupt per se, but the main purpose of VAR, for the referees and they are the people who run the system, is to justify the decision of the officials on the pitch.

If a decision is made by an on-pitch official, the VAR team are primarily looking to reinforce his authority. This means that 50-50 decisions are never contradicted, 60-40 only rarely, and even 70-30 decisions are only occasionally changed.

This is not corruption, it is the desire of referees to look after their own and to build up their authority.

The system needs to be run by ex-players from neutral clubs.

Nick Page
67 Posted 28/02/2022 at 13:39:19
Why have Liverpool had more penalties than anyone else in the Premier League, or scored more injury-time goals, despite the much-vaunted accusation of Ferguson time levelled at Man Utd?

It's not because they've spent more time in the opposition's box – if that was true that wouldn't have won just one Premier League title. It's called favouritism and it exists largely due to media bias on human influence, but it's not corruption.

It would be far better if we heard the actual discussions that went on and the referees had to explain these unbelievable decisions.

Rick Tarleton
68 Posted 28/02/2022 at 13:40:13
To add to my last post, the referees feel under pressure and possibly feel that the reinforcement of their decisions by technology will make them appear efficient.

In addition, every decision is seen as right by 50% of the people watching a game and that percentage increases if the decision is made in favour of one of the Sky 6 whom television fans are likely to favour.

In effect, what John McFarlane says about human error is manifestly true and VAR is not removing human error, merely adding another level that can go wrong even with the best of intentions.

John McFarlane Snr
69 Posted 28/02/2022 at 14:29:16
Hi Dave [68], football has changed a great deal since the introduction of VAR and I too remember Bill Evans, the only derby games he refereed were Liverpool Senior Cup Finals. It may have been an unwritten law (but I suspect that wasn't the case) that referees couldn't take charge of games where they may have a vested interest.

Hi Rick [71], I am totally against VAR. I believe that it's taking the thrills away from the game. If I am going to lose the joy of Everton scoring a goal, I want it to be an instant disappointment, not the two or three minutes (longer on some occasions) that it takes for someone two hundred miles away to reach the same decision.

I grew up believing that if 100,000 at Wembley saw a clear penalty, but one man didn't – he being the referee – then it didn't happen. Obviously I was bitterly disappointed but I accepted it as a part of the game, I never thought that there could be cause for suspicion unfortunately that's no longer the case.

I suppose what I'm saying is, "That with the vast amount of money in the game today, then there's more likely to be a greater chance of corruption."

Ajay Gopal
70 Posted 28/02/2022 at 14:50:17
Pep Guardiola in today's pre-FA Cup press conference when asked if he thought it was a penalty: “At the pass of Dele Alli, it looked offside but, if it is not offside, it is a penalty," said the City boss.” Nothing more to say, really.
Michael Boardman
71 Posted 28/02/2022 at 15:05:39
Stan #65 - I feel the same as you; I don't care about football outside of Everton matches anymore.

I used to love it, had VHS tapes of the first 25 or so matches of the Premier League (until it started costing too much as I was only 18), took leave for every national tournament for years once I started working...

But now I just don't care; I don't even look forward to a derby anymore – sucked the life out of football, and Saturday proved it (I can't even blame the RS bias for that as it would have benefitted them).

Rick #71, I'm with you – it's like the stupid polls around best goal, best player, best dressed (notice how Alli got nothing from that when he played for Spurs, but within 3 minutes of Everton, he gets slated) – ultimately you may as well just ask who you support.

Tom Bowers
72 Posted 28/02/2022 at 15:14:02
Sadly, teams that are struggling get no breaks and the billionaires like Man City, Liverpool, Man Utd and Chelsea get most of them simply because they have so much financial influence.

With incompetence in the likes of Tierney the technology of VAR was developed but appears now to be useless if it just sends it back to the referee who very rarely will change his decision ( or lack of a decision).

They should deep six VAR and let these useless referees watch the pitch monitor in the first place.

Shit happens and we have to live with it.

Rob Halligan
73 Posted 28/02/2022 at 15:18:53
Don't know if this has been posted anywhere else, but this is the explanation from the premier league as to why the penalty wasn't awarded…

“The Premier League have now announced that there was "not clear enough evidence to show conclusively that it was handball".

I'm Dumfounded, absolutely staggering that the premier league can come up with such bullshit as this.

Michael Boardman
74 Posted 28/02/2022 at 15:21:36
Yet clear enough evidence every time Salah or Mane graze on the grass?
John Raftery
75 Posted 28/02/2022 at 15:45:39
That was the best performance since Lampard arrived. The wins at home Brentford and Leeds were against poor opposition.

On Saturday, playing one of the best teams in world football, we were one piece of misfortune and one appalling piece of refereeing from gaining some tangible reward.

If the players can maintain the standards they reached against Man City, we will stop losing the majority of games and start winning a few.

David Currie
76 Posted 28/02/2022 at 21:01:37
Rob 73, Amazing, what did the Premier League make of the Man City penalty at home to Wolves??

John Mc @69, Good post as always from you, but I knew in 1977 at age 13 that this game was a bit bent when Thomas denied us victory in the FA Cup Semi-Final. That was sheer cheating... and again in the 1984 Milk Cup Final, again sheer cheating. 1986 World Cup Maradona handball, again bent.

Regarding Saturday's game, we were cheated. All the above all favoured the stronger teams.

Ian Bennett
77 Posted 28/02/2022 at 21:13:48
Everton score a last-minute winner in a derby off Don Hutchinson's arse. Disallowed as the game had already 'finished'.

Everton come back from the dead at home against Man Utd. 3-3, Everton break 4 vs 2, the ref blows up with the blues ready to score. Never do you see a game end like this.

Jack Rodwell sent off for a perfect tackle, yet Dirk Kujt cuts Naismith in half.

Lescott about to score winner in another derby. Carragher pulls his shirt off his back, nothing given.

It has been going on for years. The only difference is that VAR should be stopping this outright cowardness and cheating to come to the right decision. Sport is about fair play, not finding a way of satisfying those with the biggest resources to keep them there.

Dale Self
79 Posted 28/02/2022 at 22:19:58
Yep, Al just got hot. Apparently owned Kommersant daily newspaper and when he took over it went Kremmy. There were particularly venomous anti-Ukraine editorials issued under his ownership. It is going to be impossible to maintain the line that USM Holdings is distinct from USM LLC. The ownerships and linkages are overwhelming.

Please let Moshiri know that another communications release on this topic will be necessary.

John McFarlane Snr
80 Posted 28/02/2022 at 22:26:39
Hi David [76] you're correct in the incidents you quote, I read somewhere that the linesman in the 1977 semi-final asked Clive Thomas "Why did you disallow that goal?" the answer he allegedly received was "Watch the television tonight and you'll find out'.

I can live with referees/players making mistakes, and I have been ridiculed in some quarters for saying "Players are not robots that can be programmed" but the modern game is all about money and where money is involved there will always be someone who wants more than their fair share.

I'll admit that I was against the Premier League from the start and it saddens me to know that Everton were one of the so called 'Big Five' at that time. The Football League consisted of 92 clubs, now there are four separate Leagues. I suppose that I am stuck in the past and deserve the nickname of 'Johnny McFossil'

David Currie
81 Posted 01/03/2022 at 01:41:56
John 80,

I totally agree with you when referees and players make mistakes, the games I mentioned were not mistakes – the referee knew that he was cheating and favouring one team. I will go to my grave believing that.

Pete Clarke
82 Posted 01/03/2022 at 23:40:36
The big irony in all of this is that the decision not to give a penalty had very little to do with Everton but more to do with keeping Man City ahead of Liverpool.

Even greater irony is that, had it been a pro-redneck doing the VAR, then it would have been awarded for sure.

We have become irrelevant to most of these tossers but I feel that Frank Lampard is going to put us back on the map.


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