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Venue: Goodison Park
Premier League
Saturday 12 February 2022; 3:00pm
3 0
Coleman 10'
Keane 23'
Gordon 78'
Half Time: 2 - 0 
Attendance: 39,150
Fixture 22
Referee: Graham Scott

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  Van de Beek
  Iwobi booked
  Gordon (El Ghazi 81')
  Richarlison (Rondon 86')
  Calvert-Lewin (Alli 72')
  Subs not used
  Davies (injured)
  Delph (injured)
  Doucouré (injured)
  Godfrey (injured)
  Gray (injured)
  Mina (injured)
  Mykolenko (Covid-19)
  Nkounkou (loan)
  Broadhead (loan)
  Kean (loan)
  Simms (loan)
  Virginia (loan)

  Klich (Forshaw 46')
  Dallas (Hjelde 9')
  Raphinha (Roberts 46')
  James booked
  Subs not used

Match Stats

Shots on target

Premier League Scores
Brentford 0-0 C Palace
Everton 3-0 Leeds
Man United 1-1 Southampton
Norwich 0-4 Man City
Watford 0-2 Brighton
Chelsea P-P Arsenal
Burnley 0-1 Liverpool
Leicester 2-2 West Ham
Newcastle 1-0 Aston Villa
Tottenham 0-2 Wolves

1 Manchester City 63
2 Liverpool 54
3 Chelsea 47
4 West Ham United 40
5 Manchester United 40
6 Arsenal 39
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 37
8 Tottenham Hotspur 36
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 33
10 Southampton 29
11 Aston Villa 27
12 Crystal Palace 26
13 Leicester City 26
14 Brentford 24
15 Leeds United 23
16 Everton 22
17 Newcastle United 21
18 Norwich City 17
19 Watford 15
20 Burnley 14

Match Report

Everton’s post-1980s history may have been mostly barren but Goodison Park has nonetheless witnessed some truly memorable occasions in that time — the quarter-final victory over Newcastle on the way to the 1995 FA Cup triumph, the vital win over Manchester United under David Moyes to press the Blues’ Champions League qualification hopes 10 years later, impressive home triumphs over United and Arsenal during Roberto Martinez’s first season in charge, and the 4-0 thumping of Manchester City under Ronald Koeman, for examples.

In terms of sheer visceral emotion and roof-raising atmosphere, however, many have come in the face of adversity; when Everton’s players have needed the unbridled, raucous passion of their fans and the famous Goodison “bear pit” to help drag them over the line. The 4-4 draw against Liverpool in the FA Cup in 1991 required that the Toffees come back from a goal down four times; Duncan Ferguson’s first goal in that famous derby came at a very low ebb for the club, as did his first win as a caretaker manager 25 years later; another famous night under the lights against Fiorentina began with the team 2-0 down from the first leg in Italy; and the two skin-of-our-teeth scrapes against relegation in 1994 and 1998 were achieved with the Goodison roar behind them.

It’s proof positive that when the chips are down, Evertonians rally around their side. Though there were still 17 games to play and 51 points still on offer coming into this fixture against Leeds, there was a feeling that Everton could be sent into a death spiral of shattered confidence and a horrible losing habit if they were to be beaten again this afternoon. Their fantastic fans brought their flags, their banners and their voices and the players responded in spades to ease the immediate threat of relegation battle with a magnificent victory.

This was smatterings of desperation, exasperation and trepidation and helpings of determination, inspiration and motivation all channeled into a super-charged, high-octane performance played out against a deafening Goodison Park atmosphere. This was the Arsenal home game of two months ago cranked up to 11; individual brilliance from that evening augmented by a front-to-back display of unity, cohesion and maximum effort. This was irrepressible front-foot dynamism, high-press intensity and final-third productivity. This was Everton.

After Tuesday evening’s potential honeymoon ender at St James’s Park and the onset of genuine fear that the Blues could sucked into the bottom three as their terrible Premier League form extended to one win in 15, Frank Lampard needed a big performance.

His selection, which left Dele Alli on the bench, dropped Alex Iwobi into the starting XI for only his eighth League start and his first since mid-December, and deployed Jonjoe Kenny as an emergency left-back was bold but paid off handsomely as the players, in the manager’s own words, “delivered”.

There were stories of redemption written through this pulsating victory. Iwobi was terrific throughout, tracking back and harrying Leeds players out of their stride in the press, giving and going with team-mates and generally putting in arguably his best performance yet in a Blue jersey.

Kenny, a player on whom the club had seemingly given up, his continued presence at Everton only due to a lack of willing suitors, was stellar operating out of position on the left side of defence; to the point where Raphinha, a man looking for this fourth goal in as many games against Everton, had been rendered so peripheral that he had to be substituted at half time. The Cruyff turn that Kenny executed down by the Leeds penalty area was just further proof that the hometown boy wasn't phased by the weight of the occasion or his unfamiliar role.

In the centre of a defence stripped of arguably its two best members, two players who have had their critics this season rose to the occasion. Michael Keane turned in a rock solid defensive display and stepped into Yerry Mina’s set-piece scoring role at the other end. Mason Holgate, at fault for Newcastle’s equaliser on Tuesday, was composed and assured.

Donny van de Beek, meanwhile, was imperious in the double-pivot alongside Allan, turning in a full-debut display that makes his treatment at Manchester United over the past 18 months utterly mystifying. Coming deep to collect the ball, an integral part of the press and provider of a “pre-assist” for Everton’s opening goal, the Dutchman made an instant impression.

At the last, the much-maligned Salomon Rondon almost buried one of the goals of the season but was denied by an excellent reaction save by Illya Meslier off a quite brilliant cross from fellow substitute Dele.

Then there was Seamus Coleman, the long-serving captain who appeared to be at a loss somewhat at the club’s latest bout of chaos and whom many questioned could handle a third game in the space of a week. The Irishman rolled back the years with a swashbuckling display that was epitomised by some committed defensive work at the back and a tenacious 10th-minute diving header to get the ball rolling on a memorable afternoon.

It was a fine move, too, coming nine minutes after the returning Dominic Calvert-Lewin had played the irrepressible Anthony Gordon in but the 20-year-old had waited just a fraction too long to pull the trigger with a clear sight of goal and Luke Ayling got enough on the ball to take the sting out of the shot.

Coleman began a neat passing exchange that saw Gordon touch a lovely ball inside two defenders for Van de Beek and when Calvert-Lewin couldn't quite divert the Dutchman's low cross home under pressure from a defender, the ball sat up invitingly for the skipper to crash it home with a lunging header ahead of Mateusz Klich on the goal line. The importance of the goal, what it meant to him and the catharsis of the moment was etched on his face as he wheeled away towards the Main Stand in clenched-fist celebration.

Leeds had been swamped in the early going but Rodrigo almost had them level out of nowhere in the 18th minute when he thumped a dipping half-volley off Jordan Pickford'a crossbar from 30 yards out.

Five minutes later, however, Everton doubled their lead. Richarlison's determination won them a corner on the right and some clear work on the training ground paid dividends. Gordon swung the set-piece in beautifully as a conga line of blue shirts prepared for its delivery and Keane battled his way to meet it with an unstoppable header.

Gordon tested Illan Meslier with a low shot and Iwobi curled an effort of his own just wide and Richarlison was denied by an excellent last-ditch block from Hjelder before Calvert-Lewin latched onto a wonderful pass from Iwobi and forced a one-handed stop from the goalkeeper as kept up their Everton's impetus into the break.

Again Rodrigo might have set the home crowd on edge in first-half stoppage time when he rattled the bar a second time with a wicked shot but it remained 2-0 at the interval.

Unable to maintain the furious pace of the first 45 minutes, the Toffees, understandably, sat off a little in the second half and focused on containing their opponents which they did with aplomb for long stretches. The remarkable powers of recovery that Leeds displayed at Villa Park on Wednesday were suffocated by Everton and the Yorkshiremen were restricted to one wayward Dan James effort and a rising Rodrigo shot that was never going to trouble Pickford's goal.

Instead, while Marcelo Bielsa's side failed to register a shot on target all game, it was the hosts who wrapped up the scoring when Allan laid the ball off to Richarlison, he danced along the 18-yard line and fired a low shot that crept inside the far post via Gordon’s heel, with the goal ultimately awarded to the young winger who had again been superb throughout.

Lampard's men would have put the icing on the cake in injury time were it not for Meslier. Dele whipped the ball behind the Leeds defence towards the penalty spot and Rondon met it almost perfectly on the volley but the keeper pulled off an outstanding one-handed save to divert it over the bar.

With relief having already poured off the stands following the killer third goal, the final whistle was met with jubilation and full-throated renditions of “Grand Old Team” and “Spirit of the Blues” as the players and their new manager milked the applause of a top-class display and massively important victory.

It moved Everton to within a point of today’s opponents but, more importantly, put some distance between themselves and the bottom three. More importantly, it underlined just how much potential is in this group and what it can achieve with a healthy dose of belief, both in themselves and from the coaching staff. For the first time in eight years, an Everton side had more than 20 shots on goal and put 10 on target.

Lampard reiterated that he is just getting started and the Blues aren’t out of the woods yet but if ever they needed to prove that they are too good to go down, today was the day. Indeed, with a more inspiring figure in charge together with a team of forward-thinking coaches and more results like this, Everton can start looking forward to a brighter future rather than nervously over their shoulders and they can do it having reclaimed a lot of their identity as a club.

Man of the Match: The 12th Man

Lyndon Lloyd

Matchday Updates

Everton returned to Goodison Park to secure an excellent win over Leeds United demonstrating the effect of Frank Lampard’s strong management to quickly atone for Tuesday’s disappointing performance against Newcastle.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Donny van de Beek started along with Kenny and Iwobi, with Gomes and Dele Alli on the bench. Yerry Mina and Demarai Gray had been added to the injury list while Vitaliy Mykolenko was not available. (Covid?)

Mason Holgate and Michael Keane are the centre-back pairing, with two right-backs in Kenny and Coleman, form the back line, Kenny on the left. None of the promising youngsters Dobbin or Onyango involved.

Everton kicked off, the hoof forward headed out by Calvert-Lewin. A glorious chance developed for Anthony Gordon and he totally messes up. Richarlison had a good run but Iwobi's cross was to the defender. It was all Everton playing the ball forward in the early minutes but Iwobui's next attempt was blocked to the keeper.

Third tine for Iwobi coming down the right channel and a defender was across to limit the danger of his pass to Calvert-Lewin. Iwobi did well to stop a Leeds break but then gave the ball up very easily. The early pace of the game was 100 mph and at least Everton were finding the space to make passes and play football.

Dallas's collision with Iwobi caused some damage and he went off on 8 minutes. Kenny beat his man and crossed well, inches above Calvert-Lewin. The next move saw half-the team combine in a brilliant piece of power play, after Iwobi won the ball back and fed it to Coleman, then Gordon with a fantastic ball in to Van de Beek who crossed to Calvert-Lewin and his bunded attempt was finished off with Coleman of all people running in and scoring on the line with a diving header! Great stuff.

Everton kept up the forward play, much to the delight of the Goodison crowd. Somehow, from somewhere, they had learned how to press and win the ball back from the opposition. The hard work had created three chances on target for the Blues in the first hectic 15 minutes.

Leeds came into the game more then, and Holgate needed to execute a clinical touch to deny James. Rodrigo then fired a brilliant volley that smacked off the top of Pickford's bar. A warning that a lot more than one goal would be needed to win this one.

The first corner, taken by Gordon was a superb delivery that invited a powerful header by Keane as he was fully marked by the Leeds defence but it wasn't enough to prevent the Park End net from bulging delightfully. Ayling caught Holgate with a high boot... interesting, if it had been the other way, that would have been a penalty these days.

Some more great play from Kenny, beating Raphinia to fee Gordon but his shot was not clever enough to beat Meslier. Leeds won a corner when a shot was deflected wide by Richarlison who was there to head it clear and then follow up with a breaking run that James ended somewhat cynically, James getting a yellow card.

Everton tried to play out the back and messed it up, Pickford's clearance too strong for Coleman. After some messing around with the balls, Pickford resorted to a proper clearance upfield. Richarlison, playing deep right now, was accused of fouling and it stopped an Everton break.

Gordon swung in another ball but just a little too far ahead of the Everton strikers. After good build-up play, Iwobi was set up centrally for a shot that he drove wide. More good build-up play was spoilt by a poor turn from Calvert-Lewin, with Iwobi free to his right.

Gordon inspired another great attack, set up for Richarlison who seemed to take a fraction too long to shoot and Hjelde was across to block what seemed to be a clear shot on goal. More forward play saw Allan make a weak shot that may have strained his groin.

Another exceptional build-up saw Calvert-Lewin in space and needing one of those clever shots over the keeper but instead he shot well within saving range of Meslier. the corner this time was overhit and led to a Leeds corner that needed some defending.

Another very promising move saw Kenny trying to cross, perhaps with his wrong foot, and over-hitting it. At the other end, Rodrigo again rattled the Everton woodwork with a fantastic curling shot, Pickford beaten all hands down. That was a fitting end to a pulsating first half with some fabulous football (at least by recent Everton standards) bearing the clear imprint of Frank Lampard.

Two changes by Bielsa for the second half, one Adam Forshaw, formerly of the Everton Academy. Gordon got things going with another attempt on goal, this one forcing a save. Leeds came out to play, James firing over.

But Everton were still keen to play the ball forward and looked to work it around the Leeds area, this time with less penetration. That was somewhat spoilt by some horrible passes from Keane. Holgate forced to give up a corner that led to more sustained pressure. Van de Beek got a smack on the nose that needed treatment.

But the ball was not sticking as long with Everton's forward moves, the changes for Leeds adding to their bite. Pickford had to leap to clear the ball away from James. But the hour-mark passed with Everton still in front. Keane wasted a free-kick that Calvert-Lewin could not reach.

Leeds were much more effectively stifling Everton's play and preventing any chances but Lampard seemed reluctant to make a change of personnel. Iwobi again did well to win the ball in a challenge but Gordon's shot-cum-cross seemed a tired one. And Calvert-Lewin again missed an aerial ball fired in his direction.

Brilliant defending by Coleman allowed him to feed Iwobi for a break but he played it to Calvert-Lewin whose attempt to do anything with the ball was nothing short of pathetic. He had no strength or ability left. Finally, Frank brought Dele Alli off the bench and replaced Calvert-Lewin, to partner Richarlison.

Iwobi kept trying to shoot through the defender every time. Iwobi was late with a challenge that saw him get booked. But Everton were relentlessly pushing forward into the final third, determined to deny Leeds the space they wanted.

And Allan advancing forward through the middle, played in Richarlison who had a lot of work to do to make space for a shot that screwed off the heel of Gordon's boot and bobbled into the corner of the Leeds goal for a wildly celebrated third Everton goal.

Into the last 10 minutes and time for Anwar El Ghazi to make his Everton debut, Anthony Gordon going off to a fine ovation. Dele Alli tried a shot off the outside of his foot that didn't quite come off for him.

Richarlison suffered his last challenge before Rondon came on in his place. Iwobi was still working hard and trying to make things happen for the attacking subs Lampard had brought on. Leeds shaped a rare attack near the end but could not fashion a shot on goal.

Perhaps the best play of the game saw Dele Alli take the ball down the right channel and launch a brilliant cross into the path of Rondon who leapt (like a salmon) to get over the ball and volley a tremendous first-time strike that would have been the goal of the month but Meslier somehow got a hand to it and deflected it wide.

Everton kept attacking well into added time, which an injury to Hjelde extended from 2 to 5 minutes before the Goodison Park crowd could celebrate an excellent win in fine style

Scorers: Coleman (10'), Keane (23'), Gordon (78')

Everton: Pickford, Kenny, Holgate, Keane, Coleman, Allan, Van de Beek, Iwobi [Y:75'], Gordon (82' El Ghazi), Richarlison (86' Rondon), Calvert-Lewin (72' Alli).
Subs not Used: Begovic, Patterson, Townsend, Tosun, Gomes, Branthwaite.

Leeds United: Meslier; Ayling, Llorente, Struijk, Dallas (8' Hjelde); Koch, Klich (46' Forshaw) ; Raphinha (46' Roberts), Rodrigo, Harrison; James [Y:30'].
Subs not Used: Bate, Klaesson, Bate, Shackleton, Kenneh, Gelhardt, Summerville.

Referee: Graham Scott
VAR: Andy Madley

Attendance: 39,150

Michael Kenrick

You played your part

My cousin Gerrard, who is a Leeds United supporter, travelled up from Bristol to join me for this one. He arrived pretty pumped and full of optimism too. Why wouldn’t you be I suppose having just watched Everton fail at St James’s Park while they battled bravely to earn a point in midweek?

Gerrard actually headed up on the Friday evening so we were up and raring to go early. My Dad kindly dropped us off at Hamilton Square, where Ell Bretland and myself unwittingly crossed paths, and we jumped off at James Street station to show Gerrard a few of the tourist sites. After a pootle around the Albert Dock we jumped back on the train at Moorfields and arrived at the pub a little after midday.

While having a bit of chit chat with a few of the staff in the pub it didn’t take them (Liverpudlians) to quickly revert to the typical smug mocking of our club. They all gave us no chance in the game. Not that I saw them afterwards but I did have a smirk on my face as I thought about that later on.

The rest of the clan soon arrived and we had a great laugh in the pub, exchanging stories while the beer flowed. Time caught up with us rapidly, and before you knew it we were at about 2:30 pm and debating whether to get one more beer in or not. Regardless, we arrived the other side of the Gwladys Street turnstile quickly enough and up to our seats, Gerrard was up a little bit to our left.

A lot had been made in the week by supporters on social media, most notably the #27Years campaign, about making as much noise as possible to get behind the team on Saturday and to support the players every step of the way. When this sort of thing has happened previously it’s never really got off the ground, however, it was different this time. Everybody in the Gwladys Street was on their feet throughout and singing and cheering on the supporters. From minute one, right until the end. It was electric. Well done everyone. You played your part.

I’m certain we wouldn’t have got that performance without this backing. The players had a determination about them from the get-go, this epitomised by the combination which found Anthony Gordon through on goal within a minute. It’s a shame he didn’t trust his left foot as had he have done so he’d surely have got his shot away, as it was Diego Llorente got back to make a desperate recovery challenge.

It wasn’t long until this early pressure told however and our new loan star Donny van de Beek was at the heart of it. He broke into the penalty area and played a good ball across towards Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The ball was cut out but Seamus Coleman was alert, determined and most importantly high up the pitch and he headed the ball in from close range under close attention from the defender.

We were further buoyed when Michael Keane doubled our advantage. Richarlison did very well to pressure the defender into conceding a corner kick, and Everton profited when a delicious curling delivery from Anthony Gordon was met well at the back post by Keane. It was smiles all round as we celebrated. This was becoming quite an enjoyable afternoon. Less so for my cousin Gerrard who shook his head as I glared over at him.

While Everton were miles on top and easily the better side throughout, it would be remiss to overlook the two quite brilliant attempts from distance by Rodrigo, both of which crashed back of the crossbar much to everyone’s relief. Had either of them gone in who knows how the game would have panned out.

Half time was busy, First I went to see Gerrard and had a natter about the game. He was very impressed with the atmosphere and noise generated by us Evertonians, though less impressed with his team. After a quick visit to the toilet I went back to see Gerrard for a little longer, then shuffled along to catch Dan, before getting back to my seat just in time for the second half.

We continued on the front foot though Leeds United did wrestle a bit of control of the game and kept possession for a fair period of time, albeit without hurting us with it. Their passing ability deserted them and as the game went on they overhit more and more passes out of play.

This pendulum swung back once we substituted Dominic Calvert-Lewin for Dele Alli and Everton started to see more of the goal. This paid on 78 minutes when Richarlison cut inside onto his left foot from the edge of the penalty area and struck at goal. The ball took a nick off Anthony Gordon on the way though and found the corner of the goal.

I hadn’t realised the goal had been taken off RIcharlison until literally just as I was writing this report. I felt that was harsh as I don’t think this really impacted the goal. That said, it is fair reward for Anthony Gordon who has been ever so good these last few months. A real shinning light in what has been an awful campaign.

Substitute Salomon Rondon almost put some gloss on the scoreline with a good volley at goal following an excellent Dele Alli cross, but it was a bit too close to Illan Meslier and was saved.

A fourth goal would have been nice and not undeserved but obviously at full-time there were no complaints. A clean sheet is priceless for the defence who have been lacking confidence for a considerable period of time, and the feel good factor is palpable amongst supporters and players alike. Fair play to the Leeds United supporters also, who stayed and backed their team throughout in what was a pretty poor effort from the visitors.

A crucial three points brings us a little bit away from the relegation zone and gives us more hope ahead of a tricky trip to St. Mary’s. Following the match we headed into the city centre and caught the rugby in The Excelsior and then had some food and drinks in the Ship and Mitre. It just so happened that I bumped into several people I know in there, some of whom I haven’t seen for the best part of 20 years. Gerrard said “you must be the most connected man in Liverpool, you seem to know everyone”.

But it was just coincidence that so many people I knew were there at once. I really don’t know that many people, and seldom are they all in the same place at once.

Player ratings:

Jordan Pickford: He really didn’t have a lot to do. 6

Jonjoe Kenny: I think everyone winced a bit when they say that Jonjo was to be up against Raphinha at left-back, but wasn’t he fantastic? The popular opinion has been for a long time now that Jonjo isn’t good enough. My opinion has often been that, no he’s not great, but at the same time isn’t anything like as bad as many make him out to be. I don’t think I remember a performance as good as this from Jonjo however. He was excellent and kept first Raphinha and then Tyler Roberts largely quiet. A great effort from Jonjo, and it will be interesting to see if he retains his spot in the side next weekend once we have a more natural left-back available in Vitalii Mykolenko. If keeps this level of performance up he may also persuade Everton to retain his services for a longer period, as his contract expires this Summer. 8

Michael Keane: It was great to see him chip in with a goal and he will be delighted with his clean sheet. He’s another one that I feel gets more stick than he deserves. Yes, he has poor games from time to time but he never hides and always tries his best. He had a good solid game defensively. 7

Mason Holgate: Was aggressive and committed as ever. A good effort. 7

Seamus Coleman: Well done to Seamus as having to play three games in a week must have taken its toll on his body. But he kept on going throughout and was rewarded with an early goal of course. His first goal in three years, and I suppose there’s a reasonable chance that will be his last goal for Everton. Should Nathan Patterson emerge at right-back next season you would imagine it would be less game time for Seamus, so more goals may be hard to come by for him. 8

Allan: You can never fault Allen’s effort, and he has kept on going to good credit during this turgid campaign. When Carlo left us it wouldn’t have been a surprise to see Allan force a move away, but good on him he has stuck at it and he played an important role yesterday in stifling Leeds United. 7

Donny van de Beek: High quality players have a certain panache in the way they operate. A confidence and arrogance in their body language. Though we didn’t see him first hand James Rodrigues had it. Donny does too. He’s a talented player and looks the part. It’s a wonder that Manchester United can’t find a use for him but I guess they have too many players. If he performs like this game in/game out for Everton you’d be amazed if they don’t take notice. I’m looking forward to seeing more of him these next few months. Just a shame that he’s cup-tied. 8

Alex Iwobi: Who saw that performance coming? Certainly not me. Alex is a player who has become increasingly frustrating for me and many others. I feel Everton have given him several opportunities and tried him in different roles though he has never really seized the opportunity and I’d about had enough of his antics. But what an effort that was from him yesterday. His effort was constant, and his dribbling and use of the ball was outstanding. One effort from the edge of the penalty area was almost Ronaldinho-esque. It was great to see and it’s a shame Frank Lampard didn’t substitute him as he would have received a heck of an ovation as he left the field. Well done Alex. That was fantastic. My man of the match. 8

Anthony Gordon: Anthony continues to impress me more and more each week, and he did so again today. Great for him to return a goal and an assist, and his effort and scrapping was top draw throughout. I’m sure Everton’s Academy are very proud of the way they have developed him, and so they should be. 8

Dominic Calvert-Lewin: That’s by far the sharpest he’s looked since returning from injury. He made a real difference to our attack and did a great job of occupying the Leeds United defence. Great to have him back and firing on all cylinders. Lets hope that draws a line under his injury troubles and that he can now kick on. 7

Richarlison: He was a handful and full of effort throughout. With these two up front I feel like we’re in good hands and will win plenty of games between now and the season’s end. 8

Dele Alli (for Dominic Calvert-Lewin): He did okay. I think he needs time and patience but he’ll get there. 6

Anwar El Ghazi (for Anthony Gordon): He got involved and did quite well. Nice to see Frank giving opportunities to as many players as possible. 6

Salomon Rondon (for Richarlison): Also got involved. He was a touch unlucky to see his volley kept out. 6

Paul Traill

Match Preview

Updated Everton return to Goodison Park to face Leeds United for what will be Frank Lampard's third match in charge hoping to quickly atone for Tuesday's disappointing performance against Newcastle.

The Blues' 3-1 defeat to Eddie Howe's side left them just two points above the relegation zone following Norwich City's home draw with Crystal Palace and needing to quickly improve a run of just one Premier League win in 15 games.

Having seen his charges make such comfortable work of Brentford in the FA Cup Fourth Round last Saturday, the defeat at St James's Park will have came as a stark reality check of the size of the job that he has taken on but Lampard insisted afterwards that it was important that his players don't get too down.

Lifting morale will have been one of the new manager's priorities this week while he will also, no doubt, have taken the opportunity to further bed in his methods and how he wants the team to play in the coming weeks.

Everton's opponents this weekend may sit only one place and four points above them having played a game more but Leeds are an unpredictable outfit — you never know whether you're going to get the one that has scored three times in each of its last two away games (at West Ham and Aston Villa) or the one that recently struggled at home against Newcastle and failed to score at all.

The fixture pits Lampard against his “Spygate” counterpart Marcelo Bielsa, the inspiration behind the Lilywhites' indefatigable, fast-paced style and it's that energetic game, featuring the likes of raiding fullbacks Luke Ayling and Stewart Dallas and the rapid Daniel James who has been operating in a “false nine” role in the absence of Patrick Bamford, that will occupy Everton's thoughts as they prepare for the game.

Bielsa will have studied how much grief Allan Saint-Maximin caused the Toffees on Tuesday evening and while James doesn't possess the Frenchman's raw power, he is nimble and fleet of foot which could make him just as dangerous. And in Raphinha, the Argentine will have a player who has scored in all three of Leeds' games against Everton since they came back up from the Championship in 2020.

While Bielsa will be limited in the number of alterations he can make by injuries to important players like Liam Cooper and Kalvin Phillips, Lampard is expected to make some important changes for this one, some of them enforced and others welcome.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin may have sat out full 90 minutes against the Magpies because injuries to Yerry Mina and Demarai Gray having to come off before half-time but, provided he has experienced no reactions in training, should go straight into the starting XI at centre-forward, with Richarlison likely to replace Gray on left side of the attacking trio.

Whether Dele Alli comes in for the industrious Anthony Gordon to make his full debut remains to be seen but there is every chance that Donny van de Beek starts after his hugely encouraging display off the bench at St. James's Park, either in place of or alongside André Gomes.

The Portuguese's hopes of selection could hinge on whether the manager retains his 3-4-3 formation (and runs the risk of having his only three fit centre-halves on the field at the same time) or switches to a 4-3-3 and a flatter back four. In that case, it's likely that Mason Holgate and Michael Keane would be the centre-halves but is out because of Covid so either Andros Townsend might be asked to fill in at the left-back spot again.

That leaves the not insignificant issue of right-back where naming Seamus Coleman in the side would be asking him to play his third game in the space of a week. If Lampard elects not to risk him, it's hard to see Nathan Patterson being pitched into his first start without having seen any action since his move from Rangers but his pace and youthful exuberance might be just what Everton need against a side like Leeds. Jonjoe Kenny, however, might be seen as a safer option.

Given the Blues' increasingly parlous position, Goodison's 12th man could be just as important as any player Lampard could field this weekend. The home crowd hauled this team over the line the last time they won in the League back in early December against Arsenal and they'll be needed again against a side that usually doesn't know when to quit.

Everton will likely need to match Leeds stride for stride, goal for goal and just make sure they score one more to earn what would be a massive victory and ease the tensions around the club and set the team up for a difficult assignment at Southampton next weekend.

Kick-off: 3pm, Saturday, 12 February, 2022
Referee: Graham Scott
VAR: Andy Madley
Last Time: Everton 0 -1 Leeds United

Predicted Line-up:* Pickford, Kenny, Holgate, Keane, Mykolenko Townsend, Allan, Gomes, Van de Beek, Gordon, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin

Lyndon Lloyd

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