For an hour Everton were the better team. Sky Sports eagerness to tell us about Leicester’s winning run, how good Brendan Rodgers is and how he’ll be the next Arsenal manager was almost in danger of being the sub plot to Everton finally playing to their potential. Almost...
The manager was brave, he gambled with the formation, in truth the limited options probably dictated that 3 at the back would be most suited to the players he had fit. Davies, Iwobi and Sigurdsson as a midfield 3, DCL and Richarlison up front, movement and pace, so desperately missing vs Norwich.
There are as many positives as negatives to take from this game, playing with wingbacks suited Digne and Sidibe, both got forward, Sidibe especially being very prominent in our attacking play. Our goal was almost a carbon copy of the winner at Southampton, Iwobi putting the ball in front on Sidibe who put it perfectly in front of Richarlison, this time a bullet header instead of a left footed half volley. We’d contained Leicester, made them look ordinary, kept their awful crowd quiet. Shape and organisation were the watch words and the pressing along with tracking the runs from Maddison and the slimy Perez kept them scoreless at halftime, despite the best efforts of Chilwell and his blatant dive for the penalty. How he wasn’t booked is beyond belief, but that incident set the tone for the remainder of Mason Holgate’s afternoon.
In fairness to the referee, I thought he had a good game, he could have booked players for petty fouls, instead he tried to let the game flow. Everton were excellent, a night and day performance from the previous week. Much needed, for the supporters as much as the manager. It was good, it really was.
Rodgers blinked first and brought Iheanacho on, the change brought the anonymous Jamie Vardy to life. It was Iheanacho’s scuffed cross/shot that went across the face of the Everton goal for Vardy to tap in at the far post after he ghosted past Holgate’s blind side. Harsh on Everton, but the cracks in the make shift midfield were starting to appear. Tom Davies lost a 50/50, which was probably a 60/40 in his favour going into the tackle, but that’s Everton’s luck at the moment, he should have and needed to be stronger. 1-1
Leicester started to pour forward and Everton were happy to hit on the break, Iwobi and DCL off for Schneiderlin and Kean. Iwobi off, really? Surely the change was Tom Davies, who admittedly wasn’t having his best game. Moise Kean showed a glimpse of what he could offer when he hit a 30 yarder from an angle that went just the wrong side of Schmeichel’s post, in real-time it looked in. He looked dangerous, he needs more minutes, he has to have more minutes. We all know what Cenk Tosun has to offer and in this type of formation, using these tactics, he’s a passenger.
Into injury time and Everton’s endeavour thoroughly deserved a point, but that isn’t the way under Marco Silva and the fates once again conspired against him. A high line by the back 3 was spun by Iheanacho, and Michael Keane was caught woefully off guard, Holgate turned inside out and the shot put into the corner passed Pickford. The brief hope that the offside flag would save the point was quickly quashed. VAR had ruled in our favour for Chilwell’s blatant dive in the first half, this time it rightly gave the goal. The outline of Yerry Mina’s shin pad being the deciding factor. Silva’s gamble had failed.
The performance and willingness to work was there from the players, for an hour they were great, but the same issues keep on arising. We have to score first, we cannot manage a game in injury time, concentration and ‘bottle’ are a real issue for these players. I’m not an advocate of cheating, but why if you’re Michael Keane in that situation wouldn’t you kick Iheanacho right up into the air, break the play up and take a booking? Naive.
I was gutted as much for the manager as I was for the travelling faithful; he didn’t deserve it, his players let him down again, just like the previous week. However, that’s 8 losses out of 14 games, and 7 points from the last 10 games, Arsenal and Watford have shown in the last few days that under performance won’t be tolerated. If you want to be draconian about our current situation, football is a results and performance driven industry and you will be judged on that basis. I do think that Silva will get the Derby on Wednesday, although it would be no surprise if he is relieved of his duties by Monday night. He’s always conducted himself with dignity and class unlike his predecessor, who was an odious toad and stain on our clubs history.
Sky’s production, analysis and commentary is awful, Jamie Carragher has zero business commentating on Everton games, all he does is put the boot in, it started one minute before kick off and right through to full time after his sheer elation at Leicester’s winning goal. Defeat was hard enough to take, but to have it accompanied by this shrieking buffoon made it that much worse. I sincerely hope that they lose the broadcast rights in the near future and free us of this biased, unprofessional ‘experts’.
On to Wednesday, and I wish all the luck in the world to the man in the away dugout at Mordor, whomever he is.
Screw Carragher. He's a red one minute and a blue the next all for the sake of self publicity.
We played ok yesterday given the difference in form between the 2 sides. I think we deliberately allowed them possession, and for a long period of the game things went to plan, but once again our players are masters of their own destruction.
Their goals were both avoidable. The first one, we should have fouled the runner and snuffed it out, and the second was just pure carelessness in possession, which I think we'd been throughout the game in all honesty.