Everton 0 - 2 Leicester City

When it’s a Saturday evening kick-off, I like to take advantage of the extra time available in the afternoon and have a mooch around some of the pubs along Dale Street. Katja joined me for afternoon food and drinks, before I made my way to the usual pre-match boozer,

It was nice to take in the ever-developing stadium build on the way, where I was joined by Gary, Sue and Ste. Here, we watched Leeds United incredibly come from 1-3 to win 4-3, and heard the team news that Anthony Gordon had been dropped to give Dwight McNeil an opportunity.

We were in through the turnstile in time for the well-observed period of silence to mark Armistice Day. Everton had won the toss and attacked towards the Park End in the first half in this, the last match at Goodison Park before the enforced World Cup break.

Leicester City started on the front foot though Everton forced a brilliant early opportunity when Idrissa Gueye stole possession high up the pitch and fed it in to Dominic Calvert-Lewin. He did brilliantly to hold off a couple of defenders and then play a fantastic ball to Alex Iwobi. Our Nigerian had a golden opportunity but unfortunately, put the ball past the far post. Had that have been scored, then who knows, maybe we’d have seen a different game.

Instead, Leicester City really had a go at us and pretty much dominated, certainly the first half, from thence forth. We were our own worst enemies at times with sloppiness in trying to play the ball out from the back. It’s a risk > reward tactic, I suppose, though Everton failed to head plenty of warnings.

When we got to added time at the end of the first half, you dared to believe we had made it into the break all-square, despite continued heavy pressure from the Foxes. Instead, we defended poorly, Conor Coady the guilty party in this instance with a flapped clearance, that eventually found its way back to the talented Youri Tielemans. He’s very capable from range and showed his class again with a sublime strike that left Jordan Pickford grasping at fresh air. He had no chance.

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So we went into the break a goal down, and deservedly so, though frustrated as we had the opportunity to see it out and regroup but fluffed our lines.

Idrissa Gueye, with an injury, was replaced at the break by James Garner. I thought James was impressive and showed good class on the ball. More games ahead for him, I think.

We began the second half much more spirited, though it would have been hard to be less so, and at least got the supporters interested. And we were almost level just 2 minutes into the half when Alex Iwobi threaded through to Dominic Calvert-Lewin, whose effort on goal was well smothered by Danny Ward. It was a decent chance for Dominic but Danny didn't give him much to aim at.

A criticism often levied at Frank Lampard is his game management and lack of willingness to change the team during a game. He certainly made all his changes in this instance, though to no avail. I'd actually say the changes we made stemmed our flow in the game a fair bit and, the longer the game went on, the more disjointed our play was, and it felt more and more apparent that we weren't going to grab that equalising goal.

Dominic's injury certainly didn't help. He looked as though he really wanted to carry on, and hopefully, as Frank suggests, it isn't a bad injury and we can really utilise the time during the World Cup to get him ready for the post-World Cup part of the season.

Although even the most ardent backer of Dominic must be growingly concerned by this latest setback. Surely it's now unlikely to see him now until Boxing Day and, as if it was needed, it really emphasises our lack of attacking options and requirement to improve in this area in the January transfer window.

It should not have been a surprise to anyone that Leicester City broke away and sealed the game late on. A good swivel by Harvey Barnes and an unstoppable drive finished us off. It was like a boxer knocking out his opponent in the 10th round when they were miles ahead on points anyway. There was only likely to be one outcome by this point and it simply sealed our fate.

We trudged off not long afterwards and reconvened back at The Denbigh Castle where the fellas from The Blue Room had put on a bit of a bash with some very good live music. 'Spirit of the Blues' went down a storm and got everyone going. Evertonians... you just can't beat them, can you?

This was a hiding from Leicester City, make no mistake. Criticism is justified and we should be expecting better, but let's not all lose our heads. This was always going to take time. It was never going to be easy. There were always going to be bumps in the road. This is a Brendan Rogers team which has had him at the helm for 3 years now. Mikel Arteta has been Arsenal manager for 3 years also and look at them now. It hasn't always been plain-sailing for him either.

And this game could have been different. It can be a game of inches, I suppose. Had Alex had put the early chance away, then who knows? If we'd have just edged to the break all-square, then who knows? If Dominic would have put away that early second-half chance, then who knows? It can be fine margins, and though the better team definitely won, these margins impacted this game, make no mistake.

Frank needs time and we need to be patient. Keep the faith, Blues. And I can't believe I'm writing this on 6 November, but – have a great Christmas, Evertonians.

Player ratings:

Jordan Pickford: His distribution was all over the place. I guess you have to take the rough with the smooth with Jordan. For all his brilliance, he can get a bit carried away at times. This was one of them days. 5

Vitalii Mykolenko: One of the better ones out there. Committed as ever. 7

Conor Coady and James Tarkowski: Neither of them were at the races yesterday evening. Just a blip I'm sure. 5

Seamus Coleman: Did okay. 6

Idrissa Gueye: He was having an effective game until he was substituted at the break due to injury. Probably precautionary with the World Cup around the corner. 6

Amadou Onana: Didn't impact the game and was withdrawn on the hour mark, also with a knock, I think. 5

Alex Iwobi: He tried his best but wasn't as effective as he can be. I wonder if teams have figured out a way to contain him better? In which case, we may see James Garner in the team more to give the opposition more to think about. 7

Demarai Gray: Not at his best. 5

Dwight McNeil: Was having a half-decent game and it was a bit of a surprise to most that he was withdrawn instead of Demarai. 6

Dominic Calvert-Lewin: He did okay and his latest injury is another blow make no mistake. With or without Dominic's availability, we'll need more support in attack. All eyes on the Board for the January transfer window. 6


James Garner (for Idrissa Gueye): I was very impressed. He's a very good standard of player and needs to be in the team. He'll surely get an opportunity at Bournemouth on Tuesday evening and let's see what he can do with it. My Man of the Match. 7

Neal Maupay, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Anthony Gordon and Nathan Patterson (for Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Amadou Onana, Dwight McNeil and Seamus Coleman): None of them contributed a lot really. 5

Reader Comments (12)

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Jim Bennings
1 Posted 06/11/2022 at 21:00:31
We have too many players that hit 4 or 5 ratings ever week instead of 7's.

If you have most players scoring a 7 then you give yourself a fine chance of winning.

Too many like Onana and Gray, every week are a 4 or 5.

Calvert-Lewin doesn't look anywhere near ready to be on a football pitch to me, I know he scored against Palace but he looks a shadow of the athletic striker we seen between 2019 and early 2021.

I don't know if Calvert-Lewin will ever get back to those athletic levels either given the nature of the injuries.

Imagine if right now that defence had Holgate partnering Keane?

Coady and Tarkowski are at least the glue holding a flimsy set together at the minute, if either of those are out injured, I feel we'll just sink.

Phillip Warrington
2 Posted 06/11/2022 at 00:07:11
Sick of hearing "Frank needs time and we need to be patient," we've been patient and Frank is a shit manager and shit motivator. He has brought in 8 players and we are 2 points off being relegated, and pose no threat to teams as we still have no clear pattern or style of play.

At any other club, he would have got the sack. We need a manager who will lay down the law and not someone who is the players' and fans' favourite, and install the mentality that you are playing for Everton FC – not Everton Holiday Social Club.

Alan J Thompson
3 Posted 07/11/2022 at 05:07:56
I think Pickford tends to get a bad rap for his distribution. Sure he hits touch quite often but this seems to me that given the number of times he aims for the man standing wide that this must be to whom he is told to aim and there is little point aiming at Maupay when he is the lone striker. Doesn't he also have an assist for one that went straight down the middle? Given this game, and some others, there seems little point in passing to the defence to play it out, possibly Patterson excepted, as it invariably ends back with him and we do at times revert to a player a few metres either side of the goal kick and then mostly ignore them.
Jim Bennings
5 Posted 07/11/2022 at 12:18:08

The trouble is, whenever we have a hard disciplinarian, the wrapped-in-cotton-wool players start sulking, then the fans start digging out the manager and, within no time, that said manager is out the door.

It's not like the old days when players were scared of managers shouting and laying down the law, they are so overprotected these days that it's no longer allowed.

Do you really think a manager like Eddie Howe would have had time and patience from Everton fans had he been appointed say when Rafa Benitez got the job last year?

No he wouldn't.

Imagine if Nuno Espirito Santo had got it? Think anyone would have taken to his philosophy and rather pragmatic hard nature?

We can sack Lampard tomorrow but in reality I know we'd be having the same conversation this time next year with the next victim, sorry, I mean 'boss'.

Kevin O'Regan
6 Posted 07/11/2022 at 12:53:39
Completely disagree with you, Phillip. Frustration or even anger are bad decision-makers. Instant satisfaction is simply not available – just like your perfect manager.

Frank Lampard has united the fans and deserves a lot of credit for that. Now the team need to perform, but also need strengthening. No easy solutions here – just like Paul wrote.

Si Cooper
7 Posted 07/11/2022 at 13:44:58
Insipid and uninspiring fare. News of knocks (some from training) and apparent doughtiness mitigates a bit but there is still something not right in the mindset.

Demarai Gray reverts to a laboured version of rope-a-dope when not on song, time-consumingly trying to entice a single opponent into over-committing as he ‘teases' him.

Problem is he takes ages doing it and it's normally a total waste of time unless the opponent is a complete idiot. He needs to keep his game varied, sometimes taking the ball already accelerating, sometimes running in behind the defenders.

That is often the problem with the team as well, an over-reliance on the opposition making the first wrong move instead of being the ones always setting the pace.

Paul Hughes
8 Posted 07/11/2022 at 17:23:00
Well, this was by far the worst performance of the season. From front to back, every player was off the pace.

Mykolenko and Iwobi were the least bad, and, as Paul T says, if Iwobi finishes his early chance, who knows?

A miserable watch was made worse, as the usual pleasant 3 pensioners who sit behind us in the Main Stand, were replaced by a group of lads who included a melt who loudly and obscenely slagged off every player almost continually through the match. Why do those idiots even bother coming?

A bit weird as well, wishing our neighbours a happy Christmas, as we left.

Danny O’Neill
9 Posted 07/11/2022 at 18:41:53
Sat by a few of them over the many years Paul @8.

I even almost had a fight with my late father at one match many years ago. I thought he was going over the line in his emotion and told him to shut up and stop being a dick. We went for a pint after the match and travelled home together, debating and discussing.

Derek Thomas
10 Posted 08/11/2022 at 10:04:16
Give Lampard time, OK, fair enough, I get it, we've chopped and changed too much...not withstanding the fact that they mostly need chopping...but he has to start doing something with the time he's given - not an average of essentially 1pt per game...or what's the point.(no pun intended)

Time is money, so they say. If he's wasting the 'November Time' then during December Moshiri might turn from Santa to Grinch and decide there's no January money.

'Must Win' is a bit of a devalued term, forget the micky mouse cup - The 3pts is essential.

My opinion - steady the buffs or in our case probably the yellows or pinks.

Bournemouth are in black and red - play in Blue ffs...and play like proper Blue team.

Brian Murray
11 Posted 08/11/2022 at 15:05:30
Let's hope Doucoure puts his boots on the right feet this time.

Deary me... how's he in the Premier League??

Jon Harding
12 Posted 08/11/2022 at 16:47:27
Hey Paul Hughes @ 8
If we win tonight and get a home draw in the next round, you may be seeing your Goodison neighbours before Christmas - next round slated for 20th and 21st December.
We can but hope!
John Raftery
13 Posted 08/11/2022 at 17:58:13
I am hoping this performance proves to be the low point of the season. If it isn’t, I fear for us. The substitutions, three of them enforced by injury, made us worse. The time for action and a change of shape was after twenty five minutes by which point it was plain Leicester could cut through our lines at will.

As for the missed chances, two of them, we need to be mindful that every team misses chances. The bigger issue is we simply don’t create enough chances. The fewer you create, the more likely it is that players under pressure will snatch at them.

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