Richarlison sparks Everton to an excellent first win for Benitez

Saturday, 14 August, 2021 57comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 3 - 1 Southampton

Rafael Benitez began his reign with a rousing season-opening victory over Southampton as Everton welcomed a practically full house back to Goodison Park for the first time in almost 18 months.

The Blues were booed off by some at half-time as the team trailed to a sloppily-conceded Adam Armstrong goal but the Grand Old Lady was bouncing by the end as a comeback, inspired by the indefatigable Richarlison, ended 3-1, the first time an Everton side has won when trailing at the break for six years.

The Brazilian returned to Finch Farm in midweek straight from his international adventures at the Copa America and the Tokyo Olympics and it was his equaliser two minutes into the second half that sparked Benitez's side into full life.

Abdoulaye Doucouré then put Everton ahead and Dominic Calvert-Lewin wrapped things up with a striker's header.

The win was hugely important, not only for Benitez's need to get off to a positive start but because the Toffees came into the first game of the season with five players in isolation due to possible exposure to Covid-19 and another still on bail pending a police investigation.

James Rodriguez and Ben Godfrey were the key absentees from the squad but the new manager was able to deploy both of his new signings, with Andros Townsend lining up wide on the right, Richarlison on the left and Demarai Gray playing off Calvert-Lewin in the middle.

Buoyed by a positive reception for Benitez from the fans, Everton made a positive start, setting the template for their performance by getting the ball forward early and Allan had an early sighter of goal but it was too close to Alex McCarthy in the Saints' goal before Gray picked Calvert-Lewin out with a cross but he couldn't keep it down.

Southampton played their part in what was largely an open game, with new signing Tino Livramento at right-back a particular stand-out but it was another new arrival, Armstrong, who profited from a horrendous error by Michael Keane.

The defender, playing alongside Mason Holgate with Yerry Mina on the bench due to his lack of pre-season activity following a delayed return from the Copa America, was caught dallying on the ball midway inside his own half and was robbed by Che Adams. He prodded it forward to release Armstrong who made no mistake, lifting the ball past Jordan Pickford and into the top corner of the goal.

Richarlison was booked for simulating a foul with half and hour gone as the Blues tried to force their way back into the match but they went into the interval a goal in arrears and with the displeasure of Goodison ringing in their ears.

Benitez's half-time talk and a tactical shift that swapped the positions of the two centre-backs and moved Gray to the left with Richarlison into the centre did the trick, however, in spurring his charges into more purposeful action. Gray won a 47th-minute corner that was only cleared as far as Townsend. He nodded a looping header back towards the six-yard box where Richarlison anticipated the opportunity, stole behind the static Mohammed Salisu and stabbed it into the roof of the net.

That ignited the home crowd but it would take another half an hour for the next goal to arrive as Southampton responded in what was a very even encounter until 15 minutes from the end. Even so, despite a couple of nervy moments claiming aerial balls from a flurry of Saints corners, Pickford didn't have a save of note make after denying Armstrong in the first half.

Instead, it was McCarthy who was picking the ball out of the back of net following a wonderful strike by Doucouré. Operating much closer to the opposition box than was the case in the latter stages of Carlo Ancelotti's tenure, the Frenchman was involved in the build-up to the goal when he fed the ball out to Seamus Coleman on the right flank.

The Irishman's scooped pass found recent substitute Alex Iwobi who headed it back to Doucouré just inside the area. He took one touch to turn his marker and then unleashed a fabulous effort into the top corner to make it 2-1.

That became 3-1 in the closing stages and Iwobi was involved again. Picking up the ball on the right from Richarlison, he then threaded a perfectly-weighted pass between two defenders and the Brazilian whipped a peach of an early cross to the six-yard box where Calvert-Lewin stooped to force a diving header into the net off McCarthy to set the seal on a superb afternoon for Everton.

It was a performance wholly at odds with the team's struggles at home under Benitez's predecessor and a victory earned by playing to the Blues' strengths as a side.

Last season's games in an empty home stadium were too often a story of capitulation and attacking ineptitude but today the character and response from the team was exactly what was required.

Much was owed to Richarlison who was excellent in the second half and a driving force in attack but both new signings played important roles and the new boss got his tactics spot-on on the day.

More importantly, true football was back with the return of a ground full of supporters who were treated to a stirring victory that will begin to banish the cloud of pessimism with which many fans approached the 2021-22 season.

 

Reader Comments (57)

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Mike Dolan
1 Posted 15/08/2021 at 16:12:33
Great game, particularly with so many players being unavailable. I thought that the signings of Gray and Townsend gave the manager a chance to juggle his forwards and that proved pivotal.

I hope this comeback win is the first sign of an increased fitness level of our players. It was the first time we have won a game since 2015 after being a goal down at half-time.

I really liked Iwobi's playing as an inside forward, he really made us fluid in the second half. Also, there seemed to be that little extra bite in our tackles... the lads played like they wanted to win. Rafa was the 12th man!

John McFarlane Snr
2 Posted 15/08/2021 at 16:22:43
Hi Lyndon, I always enjoy your version of games you appear to give a balanced view, no over-use of the word "dross".
Joe McMahon
3 Posted 15/08/2021 at 16:30:59
John, I agree, nothing dross about it, and the team and the manager can't do anything about Keane's mistake.

A very satisfying afternoon which gave us all a much-needed boost. Some very good performances on the day but Man of the Match for me was Rafa Benitez.

John Boon
4 Posted 15/08/2021 at 16:32:13
Despite a creaky first half, by rebounding for a satisfactory win, we defied all the critics. We were never able to recover from a poor start last season so the promise of better times could be a possibility. Still, nothing to be totally sure about season 2021-22 but some good signs along with some concerns.

I do not think the Keane - Holgate combination will ever work. I have always felt that, so Keane's slip only supports this opinion. The two new lads, Townsend and Gray, really did offer some much-needed speed and trickery.

Up front, Richarlison played far better than most of the times we saw him last season. Really dynamic in all parts of the field. Superb goal by Calvert-Lewin but I still think he needs to take a more active role in the regular play.

Doucouré played exactly as most fans expected when we signed him... well done. The rest of the team made a valid contribution although the team were still prone to giving the ball away too easily.

Benitez would have come in for harsh criticism if we had lost. Considering the choices he had, that would have been unfair. He was modest about what he must have done at half-time because a new team came out. Well done!!!

Lastly, it was so nice to win at home and every Evertonian can have a pleasant weekend.

Tony Abrahams
5 Posted 15/08/2021 at 16:34:24
I'm not sure how good Gray is going to be, but I looked across the park at Walcott, and thought he can't be any worse than Theo, who must have cost Everton an unbelievable amount of money to be mediocre.
Don Alexander
6 Posted 15/08/2021 at 16:36:56
Game one, and the main word I'd use to describe it is "professional". Good to see good shots and crosses from several players (in contrast to recent seasons) and, but for one cock-up, a competent defence.

To me, there was improved pace and commitment too but I do hope for one or two more signings and departures (but I don't mean to HMP Walton!) before the window closes.

Brian Williams
7 Posted 15/08/2021 at 16:48:39
Tony #5.

I'm gonna stick my neck out and say "very, very good" with regard to Gray. I think the penny has finally dropped with the lad and he realises this is a huge opportunity for him to prove himself to be the player he can be.

I get the feeling he now knows hard work and dedication are the minimum requirements to make it at the top level.

Not bothered about being right for my own ends but for the benefit of our club, mate.

David Cooper
8 Posted 15/08/2021 at 16:51:09
One of the big questions I had of Rafa was how was he going to find a way to play Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin together in central positions.

Last season, when Richarlison moved inside, there was no-one to replace Richarlison down the left side, which affected the way that Digne played. By buying Gray, he has found the solution.

It would interesting to know who was the architect of that move. Gray never seemed to get much of a chance at Leicester and disappeared off the radar by moving to Bayer Leverkusen. He couldn't have been doing much there as they let him go for peanuts. So congrats to whoever realized he has a talent that could solve one of our problems.

Yesterday certainly wasn't perfect but it was much much better than we saw at the end of last season. I must admit I got tired of Carlo's demeanour on the touchline when things were not going well. Rafa looked very interested, as a manager should do, and he seemed to be listening to Dunc – whether he understood what he was saying could have been a different matter! But it did appear they were a team... again, something we didn't see last season.

So plenty of hope and positives after only one game!

Tony Abrahams
9 Posted 15/08/2021 at 16:52:58
Knowing it and doing it are two completely different things, Brian. But, if the penny has dropped, then I think he will become a very good player for us, mate.
Andy Crooks
10 Posted 15/08/2021 at 17:05:44
Tell you what, Don, if you are using the words "professional" and "improved", then it was a good day.

Good report, Lyndon. I tend to exaggerate the importance of any game but that was so important. Rafa Benitez is a hard man to warm to (one of his attributes?) but I warmed to him. I think that was a great day at Goodison Park.

Brian, I agree about Gray; I always thought we needed to get lucky and find a lost talent with something to prove... also, the right coach to spot it. Fingers crossed, have the stars aligned here?

By the way, Brian, now that you are on this thread, hope you are well, and I really hope you will be at the Bramley-Moore on 25 September. Look forward to meeting you again.

Brian Williams
11 Posted 15/08/2021 at 17:11:30
Andy. I'm doing well, mate, thanks. I've even been advised that buying a new pair of shoes wouldn't be a waste of money. 😉

I'll be there at the Bramley-Moore. Looking forward to seeing you again too, mate.

Still remember the look on your face when you walked in the Excelsior after the 4-0 against Man Utd. 💙💙💙💙

Paul Birmingham
12 Posted 15/08/2021 at 17:12:54
There seems to be a better team ethic and belief plus a work rate and more effective forward passing than Goodison saw last season under the last manager.

Early days but a very good result, so now for Leeds.

Tony Abrahams
13 Posted 15/08/2021 at 17:15:24
I think I’m going to have to go in the Bramley-Moore, and check that they sell desperado’s for Brian, Andy, otherwise I might have to go to Costco and donate a few to the pub, maybe ask them to just charge him a £1 each for them!
Brian Williams
14 Posted 15/08/2021 at 17:18:51
Charge your Dave for 'em, you mean, Tony.

Joking aside (I wasn't), really looking forward to the Bramley-Moore meet.

If it's anything like the feeling when Z-Cars started yesterday, I'll need some Kleenex.

Talk about choked up, for fuck's sake!

Sukhdev Sohal
15 Posted 15/08/2021 at 17:20:48
That 2nd half was brilliant. I feel like Rafa is going to put Carlo to shame with his home performances.

People were saying the squad were terrible last season. Really? Are James, Digne, Richarliosn, Allan, Calvert-Lewin, Godfrey etc not enough to beat Sheffield United, Fulham, Newcastle and Burnley at home?

As for yesterday's game, Keane and Holgate are not good players and abysmal when paired together because none of them takes control. Mina and Godfrey both do and are much better as a pairing.

Rafa is already getting more out of Richarlison, Doucouré and Iwobi (not saying we shouldn't sell Iwobi though).

Tony Abrahams
16 Posted 15/08/2021 at 17:35:56
I agree, Brian, that's just earned you another bevy mentioning that mate! I thought the crowd was brilliant yesterday, but Goodison always makes me emotional after a summer break, so after 17½ months, it was even more so yesterday.

It made me sad to see how much the Old Lady has really aged in the time we've spent away, even though it's still a beautiful, special place that will be very hard to leave once the curtain comes down for good.

Tony Abrahams
17 Posted 15/08/2021 at 17:40:47
Sorry for going on, but you do get some repetitive funny stuff at Goodison though. Ten seconds in, you hear "Come on Everton, these are fuckin shite!"

After 30 minutes, someone was shouting “Get Iwobi on” but I'm glad Benitez waited a bit longer – even though Iwobi, did very well yesterday.

Tony Shelby
18 Posted 15/08/2021 at 17:47:05
I look forward to the day when I can see Man City losing a match and not think: “Fuck, the red shite are gonna win the league!”
Mike Gaynes
19 Posted 15/08/2021 at 17:53:51
John Sr. #2, an elegantly understated comment that brought a big grin to my face.

Brian W., hope you're kidding about the shoes comment... you are 100% fine, aren't you?

And Brian and Andy, I hope you're right, but please keep in mind that the history of Gray's career is the penny dropping... followed shortly thereafter by the penny rolling away on the floor and falling down a sewer grate. If he's playing this way after 10 or 15 games, then I'll get excited about him.

Mark Andrews
20 Posted 15/08/2021 at 17:58:53
Good result, especially after the first half, but I have real concerns about the creative hole in the middle of the park.

Will James stay to fill it or are we looking within the squad or elsewhere to fill it?

Mike Gaynes
21 Posted 15/08/2021 at 18:02:22
RS traveling supporters doing themselves proud.

From CNN:

Norwich City midfielder Billy Gilmour, who was playing for the newly promoted club on loan from Chelsea, was allegedly targeted by homophobic chanting by some Liverpool fans during the visiting team's 3-0 win at Carrow Road on Saturday.

"Great result today marred by homophobic chanting by some of our fans targeting Chelsea loanee Billy Gilmour," tweeted Kop Outs, Liverpool's LGBT+ Fans Group.

"If you can't support without resorting to bigoted nonsense, you don't understand YNWA," concluded the tweet, a reference to the club's "You'll Never Walk Alone" anthem.

Liverpool FC's Twitter account said the chant was "offensive and inappropriate -- a message we have repeatedly communicated alongside Kop Outs."

"We urge supporters to remember the inclusive values of the club and to refrain from using it in the future."

Yep, urging them to refrain should work.

Brian Williams
22 Posted 15/08/2021 at 18:04:16
Mike G. Read my post again, bro, you numpty. 🤣

New shoes NOT a waste of money.

All good, mate, but you know I appreciate your concern. 👍

As one of my idols sung: "Only the Good Die Young."

I'm golden on that!

Mike Gaynes
23 Posted 15/08/2021 at 18:12:41
Hey Bri, it's still early Sunday morning and I woke up with my eyeballs not focusing particularly well.
Brian Williams
24 Posted 15/08/2021 at 18:15:35
Haha, told you before, Mike, those mind-altering substances are for the young 'uns, mate. Takes days to get yer head sorted! 🤪
Brian Wilkinson
25 Posted 15/08/2021 at 18:17:29
I think the penny dropped when we went 4-4-2 after half-time. Isolate Calvert-Lewin and teams will double up on him; once we pushed Richarlison alongside him, Southampton were then thrown out of their comfort zone and could not cope with not just two in the middle, but also Doucouré putting himself just behind the strikers.

I said it last season: To get the best out of Doucouré, you have to play him higher up the pitch, and not in a defensive role; we have Allan who can do the Gareth Barry type duties.

The two additional players in Townsend and Gray are giving us options to get crosses into the box.

I expect a few more bargain signings to come in at little cost. I have to admit the news of us sailing close to the wind on FFP may actually work in our favour; a few tweaks here and there, a couple more cheeky signings, build our FFP numbers back up instead of wasting millions on at-best average players.

When you look at the players who were missing as well, I fully expect both Moise Kean and Rodriguez to be gone this window.

Raffa will install belief and players hungry to succeed. I personally think we will see little game time for the above-mentioned and Delph.

It is only one game, but we now have a manager who will act, change the system if needed, and not sit back for the last 20 minutes protecting a game.

Last season at 2-1, had we even managed to draw level first, Carlo would have thrown at least two defensive subs on to close the game out.

After Saturday, you can see a different mentality on the touchline. Make no mistake, with the lack of funds available, we are very lucky to have a manager who is hungry for success, and a will to win attitude.

Well done, Rafa.

Mike Gaynes
26 Posted 15/08/2021 at 18:36:36
Brian, I wish I could blame mind-altering substances!!!
Steve Shave
27 Posted 15/08/2021 at 18:37:43
Mike G,

I saw that too. I saw another post from a different club calling out some supporters for racist chanting as well. Say what you like about gesture politics etc but I like this shift in culture and calling out pockets of supporters for ignorance.

It's not enough to just be 'not racist and 'not homophobic'; to challenge ignorance, we have to be 'anti-racist' and 'anti-homophobia'. I applaud the LFC response to it.

On a different note Mr Gaynes, I see we are linked once again to the USA lad Hoppe, any good?

Martin Mason
28 Posted 15/08/2021 at 18:38:44
Small steps for the team, very large steps for Everton FC are happening.
Martin Mason
29 Posted 15/08/2021 at 18:43:28
Is this the time that budget football struck back? Spurs without Kane beat City and quite well. I hope this signals the end of the disgusting imbalance in finance between players and clubs and allows much more money to feed back to the game.
Ajay Gopal
30 Posted 15/08/2021 at 19:33:04
Good match report, Lyndon. Short, concise and summed up pretty much all the action plus your own thoughts.

Richarlison – what a player we have on our hands! You gotta love his attitude – he's played 15 international matches during the shortened summer, and some of them went into overtime. He played in the heat of Tokyo's summer and then jetted across some 12,000 miles to train and play for Everton barely a week later! Hope he has a storming season and we get to keep him for as long as possible.

Lyndon, yes, I too liked the look of the Saints' Livramento – a superb player, wish we had gone in for him. I also liked Djenepo on their left side, although he dilly-dallied on a few occasions and the chances went abegging, luckily for us. Coleman is looking like our weak spot, sadly, and teams have been exploiting us down that flank for a good 2 seasons. If Brands has money for only one position, I would put all of that into finding Seamus's successor.

Well done to Rafa as well, I will admit he was never my choice and I was shocked when Everton went in for him. It was a brave decision, and the board seem to have ignored the noise and made their decision with single-minded coldness – may turn out to be a very good decision. And kudos to the Everton fans for being fair-minded and giving him a chance to succeed. Everton do have one of the most demanding fanbases in football, but also a very knowledgeable one. COYB!

Neil Copeland
31 Posted 15/08/2021 at 19:44:09
Tony #17, that was probably me you heard calling Soton shite ha! Not responsible for the Iwobi one though, Colin Glasser maybe 🤔
Roger Helm
32 Posted 15/08/2021 at 19:45:48
Martin 29 - “The battle is not always to the strong, nor the race to the swift - but that’s the way to bet”. Damon Runyon ( I think).

The final league table usually correlates exactly to the budgets of the clubs.

Dale Rose
33 Posted 15/08/2021 at 19:50:51
For the whole second half my bum didn't squeak once. A record.
Martin Mason
34 Posted 15/08/2021 at 19:54:12
Roger, that is true but we are competing for the positions of maybe 7-10 and our success will be 7th. That is within the variation of position against spending power? As the effect of spending power diminishes with reduced spending power then that position could improve accordingly. How can City just keep spending such massive amounts of money though?
Andy Crooks
35 Posted 15/08/2021 at 19:56:31
Martin@29, if only you were right. Unfortunately it signifies that City had a slight hiccup. The top four is signed and sealed. There might be an outside chance that, with a huge amount of luck, another side might threaten them up until, say, March. Why not us?
I doubted Benitez, hated his appointment,but, I am much happier that he is our coach than the coward that is Ancelotti.


Robert Tressell
36 Posted 15/08/2021 at 20:02:19
Roger, Martin - completely agree - and wouldn't turn my nose up at 7th either. That would, I think, match our 2nd best finish since Moyes left. Depressing to still be that average - but certainly the better end of average and hopefully building towards much more.
Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
37 Posted 15/08/2021 at 20:21:31
John McF Snr - totally agree. Much prefer Lyndon's match reports. I will accept that the other main report we get is done in a rush without time to think but there again the mistakes highlighted are usually with players doing things in a rush without time to think. And if our players made as many mistakes as the copy presented 10 minutes after the match, then relegation would be certain every year.
Brent Stephens
38 Posted 15/08/2021 at 20:35:57
When I'm at the game, I have that "emotion-in-the-moment". It's a time when emotions can rule the head, that can be exhilarating, that can warp the senses. But it's great. And then after the game, as time moves on, the emotion becomes layered with cooler-headed analysis, when I can come to revise initial, instant, emotional reaction. Just as satisfying.

I think Michael's and Lyndon's reports reflect those different but equally important sensations. Michael's "emotion-in-the-moment". Lyndon's cooler-headed analysis that has the advantage of time to reflect.

It's the old Footie Echo, on the streets within an hour of the game. Plus the next day's "quality" papers on the game.

Both have a place; both are quality in their own way.

Stan Schofield
39 Posted 15/08/2021 at 20:54:48
Brent, great post, puts Michael’s and Lyndon’s excellent reports clearly into perspective.
Andy Crooks
40 Posted 15/08/2021 at 21:13:11
Brent, when I'm at the game, perhaps because it is a rare occasion, I lose any critical facility. We are fucking brilliant, no matter what. When I am at home, we are shite, no matter what.
Brent Stephens
41 Posted 15/08/2021 at 21:22:32
Andy, I hope you have many more days of the "fucking brilliant" at GP!
Dave Abrahams
42 Posted 15/08/2021 at 21:34:38
Brent (38), good reflections on both Michael and Lyndon’s reports, both well worth reading, I marvel at how Michael gets his reports out literally minutes after the game has finished, any mistakes he makes he is entitled to,he’d be fuckin’ Superman if he didn’t make any, and like most of us he gets his personal bias in, that proves he is human, I’ve heard DCL fuckin’ hates him, cries sometimes when he reads them!! Carry on though Michael, you and Lyndon do great work for us home based Blues, I bet those overseas really look forward to them.
Brent Stephens
43 Posted 15/08/2021 at 21:43:05
"I’ve heard DCL fuckin’ hates him"!

Superb!

Andy Crooks
44 Posted 15/08/2021 at 21:50:38
Dave, I doubt any supporter site in the world gets the balance you talk about between Michael's heart on the sleeve, see it live and Lyndon's reflective stuff. Add to that the much missed Ken Buckley, Paul Trail's brilliant fan's view and the occasional analysis from Steve Ferns
, my God we have been spoiled. Hope Ken and Paul are okay. Steve, I guess, is busy but he will be at the Bramley Moore?

Tony Abrahams
45 Posted 15/08/2021 at 21:59:23
I honestly don’t know how Michael does it, and I think Lyndon has got the much easier job, but I also think Michael, is prepared to make more enemies than Lyndon, so there is always going to be someone waiting to try and shoot the man down!
Ian Burns
46 Posted 15/08/2021 at 22:18:05
Brent - 38 - well posted. Michael’s report is akin to refined Live Forum and he does a fantastic job of putting down on TW the raw emotions we all feel - good or bad - in the immediate aftermath of the game.

Comments in the thread appearing immediately after his report, also reflect the emotions of the game, only becoming a little more calm as time goes by.

Lyndon’s report is far more considered simply because his report comes sometime after he has relaxed with a hot toddy but in its own way puts everything into real perspective. Both are a vital contribution to TW each in its own way.

Peter Mills
47 Posted 15/08/2021 at 22:33:10
Ah, the pink Echo, when nothing that happened in the match during the last 20 minutes was reported because the paper had to go out to press.

If we had had a good win, my Dad would toddle off to the newsagents across the road from The Bug around 6:45 pm and return with 10 copies and hand them around to all and sundry... 20 if the RS had lost!

Then, on Monday evening, we would read the calm analysis by Michael Charters.

Stan Schofield
48 Posted 15/08/2021 at 22:42:37
In addition to the pink Echo, there was the half-time Echo. When I was a kid at Goodison, I remember the news sellers shouting “Half-time ‘cho’”.
Ron Marr
49 Posted 15/08/2021 at 22:57:06
Anybody remember when they had the caricature drawings of the players in the Echo? I think it was on the top or bottom of the page.
Jay Harris
50 Posted 15/08/2021 at 23:19:12
I really enjoy both Michael's heart-on-the-sleeve approach and Lyndon's literary reflections.

They both give us the ammunition for debate and discussion and, while both approaches are very different, they are both enjoyable and well written.

John Boon
51 Posted 15/08/2021 at 23:28:40
Ron Marr (49),

George Green was one of the better known cartoonists in the fifties and sixties.

Derek Thomas
52 Posted 16/08/2021 at 01:42:40
Ron & John 49 & 51; George Green always managed to sum up the whole ethos of the game in 4 or 5 frames. On that sticks in my from 1964ish Vs Blackburn Rovers.

In late October 1963, Blackburn came to Goodison to play the fragile, struggling current champions. If I recall correctly, Burnley and Bolton had both come early in the season and, with a mixture of skill, organisation and, by virtue of kicking lumps of us too, robbing us our invincible home record.

Blackburn turned up and, prompted by the brilliant Bryan Douglas, were soon 3-1 up, it finished 2-4, with Big Fred scoring a hat-trick.

So next season, Canny Catterick put Denis Stevens on Douglas to man-mark him, which was a bit revolutionary for the time... we'd already bought Fred from them by then... probably on the strength of his hat-trick. It worked... up to a point – we only lost 2-3 at home.

Anyway, the main frame of Green's cartoon commenting on this key tactical aspect in his own humorous manner, showed Douglas at the halftime tea kiosk saying... "Tea and a wad please" with Stevens right on his shoulder adding... "Twice"

Funny what sticks in your mind... I'll get me coat.

John Boon
53 Posted 16/08/2021 at 04:17:27
Derek,

Great story and information. Appreciate reading about a cartoonist who also had a humorous insight into football in those days.

Danny O’Neill
54 Posted 16/08/2021 at 10:56:53
I enjoy both Lyndon's and Michael's reports. I too don't know how Michael does it and remain so balanced in the context of the heat of the moment, so sincere credit to you Michael!!

A few days to reflect but still smiling in a way my wife says I never did so on my wedding day.

Great day, great win. Not getting carried away, but the overarching thing for me was our willingness and ability to play on the front foot (second half). If we can do that more, not only will the results come, the crowd will be behind the team. Even if we don't win them all (and we won't), if we see that, we will get behind them.

If all fit, it has to be Godfrey and Mina for me as the centre-back pairing. Interesting point on Mina not being used because of the lack of pre-season activity due to Copa America. Fair one and understandable, but surely that demonstrates the attitude and sheer fitness levels of Richarlison. Not just to be available having played an entire summer of international football around the globe, but to put a shift in like that. Machine.

Looking back now, I didn't realise the simple but effective role Townsend played in the first goal. Put it back in the danger zone as they say. Not looking for anyone, just putting it back in the mix rather than lay off to the side. I thought Doucouré had lost the opportunity before he smashed it into the top corner and Richarlison's part in the 3rd was fantastic from the initial take, through to the lay-off and taking the return followed by the early low fizzing cross that invited Calvert-Lewin to a ball he couldn't refuse.

We have the wide options and we still have Gbamin and even James (?) to come back. Suddenly things don't seem too bad for a squad that narrowly missed out on Europe last season. Or finished 10th? Depends which way your glass is filled!

Brian @25. I was trying to figure out whether we had gone 4-4-2 in the second half. I don't think it was, but just couldn't figure it.

Dave Abrahams
55 Posted 16/08/2021 at 11:02:11
Ron (49),

I grew up reading George Green's cartoons, especially in the early edition on a Saturday when he gave a running story on the poor scruffy kids and their football team “The Back Entry Diddlers”. Tich was my favourite, a small schemer, the stories and the kids fitted in with life just after the war.

Then the football ones of Everton and Liverpool with the characters at the top of the pink echo depicting how the teams had got on, dancing for joy or gloomy faces.

Those were the days, brassic but happy.

Les Green
56 Posted 16/08/2021 at 14:29:39
I've been slow coming round to accepting Benitez but it's happening. It started pre-match when I saw him being interviewed pitch-side on Football Focus (BBC1). He looked relaxed and had time for a couple of bursts of humour. Then, of course, during the game he did enough to make me suspect he might know what he's doing. The thaw has begun...
Ron Marr
57 Posted 16/08/2021 at 17:49:53
George Green thanks for the info John (51), Derek (52) and Dave (54). I thought it was in the Pink Echo at the top of the page.

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