There really is nowhere else to start…..
I was going to talk about Lucas Digne, however you pronounce his surname, I was going to talk about “Corner to Everton”, I was going to talk about sexy Bernard, and I will, but they’ll all have to wait. Gylfi Sigurdsson has had to endure a fair bit of stick of late (including from me, as he was woeful against Arsenal), certainly prior to his excellent goals against Fulham, and yet he oozes class on the ball and sees a pass that others have rarely even thought about, let alone completed. His turn to send Maddison off to get some ice creams for the kids (is he back yet?) was as good as anything you’ll see on a football pitch, and what normally happens at Everton is that the next touch goes straight to the opposing team. Well, sort of, kind of, in a way, that’s what happened as Schmeichel was the next to touch the ball as he fished it out of his net after Sig’s 25 yard (I’m old school…..23 meters for the younger reader) swerving shot simply arched away from Schmeichel’s desperate outstretched hand. What a goal. It won’t win Goal of the Season because the Red Kids will make sure Sturridge does, especially as there were some similarities. Of course, my blue-tinted specs will point out that ‘the turn before the lash’ (good name for a pub) added something the wavy-armed Daniel could only dream about. It was a fantastic goal, one Everton rarely score, but Gylfi now has two, arguably three, candidates for Goal of the Month for October, if not the season. I’m pleased for him, and he is relishing the role he has, now he has space not taken up by others competing for his position, and now he doesn’t have to Do What Wayne Says and can play his own game. He also doesn’t have to endure the shameful tactics of the fraud Allardyce, and playing under Silva certainly suits him.
Whilst we’re talking about ‘up front’, I must admit to getting a tad over excited about the team news before the game, which usually foretells a 3-0 thumping, but then I thought how would Leicester fans, or any other Club now for that matter, greet that team sheet of ours. Pace, trickery, goals. We do need an out and out striker to add to Tosun (and time to discard Niasse now I’m afraid, much though we love his attitude, because miscontrolling balls off his foot, let alone his knee/arse/chest etc, seems like an Everton side of yesteryear, or last season in reality), but we’re not doing too bad in the goals department. In that front four today, we have goals, and we still can add Tosun and DCL to the mix, although I’m sure we could do better, and I’d love to add the World Cup flop Werner in January if Lookman can help persuade him (and his Club) to join us. But if we don’t improve our striking options, we’ll still score quite a few with what we’ve got. Just remember, we have a positive GD at this stage, and we’re now 7th top scorers in the PL after today’s games.
Anyway, Bernard. It defies logic that players called Bernard should be as gifted as him, but, ahem, what a player today, at least for the first hour anyway. His set up for Richarlison’s goal was sublime, and about ‘as unlike Everton’ as you could get. OK, harsh perhaps, but on the evidence so far this season, that was about as good as any wide play we’ve seen – Walcott would have made the wrong decision, Richarlison would have gone for goal, and DCL would…well, not sure, probably fallen over in the box and taken his chances. Bernard was superb, and to get him in on a free was a masterstroke. God knows how much we’d get for him now, if he was on the market. Which he isn’t. At all. I can’t wait to see him out-Zaha Zaha next time out at Goodison.
We’ll save Walcott’s decision-making and close control under pressure for another day, but suffice to say, I think he could do with slowing down just a wee bit, because he goes too quick for his own feet!
Let’s talk about Lucas Digne. We have a 33, nearly 34, year old left back who’s played 338 games for us, and 30 times for his country. I didn’t think Digne would shift Leighton Baines as quickly as he has, but a shaky start to the season, and impressive, calm, measured and assured performances from Digne almost from his first sub’s appearance, means we are witnessing the passing of the guard, or more appropriately the passage de la garde. I have been mightily impressed with Digne, and given how I’ve coveted Leicester’s LB in Ben Chilwell, that’s saying something. And to think I was keen on Tierney as well; just shows it’s usually best to leave decisions to the people that know what they’re talking about (that doesn’t include you, Allardyce) rather than cowing to the demands of a Fan’s Forum. Digne is 25. He’s played for France, Barcelona, Roma, PSG as well as Lille, and now dear old Everton. He’s embraced the Club’s Community ethos, he’s had solid Everton performances, and now has his recall to the National side, having already notched up 21 appearances. In today’s over-inflated deals, for us to get him for £18m was an absolute steal. We’ll do well to keep him, but keep him we must.
Back to that Fab Four (sorry) up front. Given the pace and trickery we’ve now got, the “Corner to Everton” call could well happen a lot this season. We got 11 corners today, for example. But instead of instilling a chill in opposing supporters’ hearts, they can relax. At the moment, we won’t score from a corner all season. We need to try something different. Where’s that inventive Everton that scored from a tricky clever free kick routine? Anything else in the locker Marco? Come on, we need to at least keep defenders guessing (theirs not ours) instead of simply sticking in decent but easily defendable crosses. Mina might change all that, but let’s work with what we’ve got rather than a mirage with a wonky left foot.
On we go, the madness of our participation in the League Cup can now be a distant if still hugely irritating memory, and we have a couple of weeks to work on Corner routines, get Mina and Gomes fit, and make sure we don’t lose the winning rhythm we’ve created in the PL, assuming you count two back to back wins as any kind of rhythm. Oh, and whisper it soft, Tom Davies was really good today…..