Everton's window to safety narrows following hectic draw at Leicester

01/05/2023 46comments  |  Jump to last
Leicester City 2 - 2 Everton

Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Alex Iwobi were on target as Everton salvaged a draw at the King Power Stadium

Everton had to be content with just a point from a match they desperately needed to win but avoided another damaging defeat thanks to Jordan Pickford and a redemptive second-half strike from Alex Iwobi.

The Blues struck first in what was a relegation "six-pointer" between 18th and 19th in the Premier League but poor defending allowed Leicester City to equalise and then sloppy play by Iwobi gifted the Foxes a second that sent them into half-time 2-1 up.

It could have been worse for Sean Dyche's men at the halfway stage after captain Seamus Coleman had been stretchered off with a serious-looking injury and Michael Keane gave away a penalty for handball. But Jordan Pickford guessed correctly to deny James Maddison from the spot and, ultimately, it was Dean Smith's side who might have felt fortunate to escape with a draw when stand-in goalkeeper Daniel Iversen pulled off an excellent late save to deny Abdoulaye Doucouré.

With Coleman passed fit following a hamstring problem, Dyche was able to name a natural full-back on the right side of his defence again but illness prevented Amadou Onana from making a second successive start since recovering from a groin strain. That saw James Garner return to central midfield while Michael Keane continued at centre-half despite the criticism levelled at him for his recent displays.

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Up front, Dominic Calvert-Lewin made a third straight start and added a much-needed exta dimension to the Blues' attack, even if he somehow contrived to miss an absolute sitter three minutes before half-time.

Everton needed a strong start to set the tone after their miserable performance against Newcastle on Thursday and they were easily the more dangerous of the two teams for the first quarter of the contest.

Coleman had the first real shot in the sixth minute that was blocked behind before Idrissa Gueye skied a decent opportunity to test the keeper from the edge of the box when he had time to at least get it on target but it was Iwobi who thought he had scored after just seven minutes.

Doucouré had teed Iwobi up nicely with a well-weighted pass in the Leicester area but Iversen got a cruciual glove to the Nigerian's side-foot shot and diverted it wide.

Now that he is back in their starting XI on a regular basis, the hosts' chief threat is once again Jamie Vardy and he sounded a warning for the visitors in the 13th minute when he got in behind the defence and cut the ball back for Maddison but Jordan Pickford made a fairly routine stop to deny the midfielder.

Two minutes later, however, Everton's early superiority was rewarded when the ball was flighted towards Calvert-Lewin just in the side the box and he went down under a clear shove from Timothy Castagne that left referee Michael Oliver in no doubt about the award of a penalty.

Calvert-Lewin stepped up himself to take it and swept a perfectly-struck effort high down the middle of Iversen's goal and there was a chance to make it 2-0 almost immediately when Iwobi played the striker in, his shot was blocked behind but Keane could only nod the resulting corner wide at the back post.

The Toffees' lead last just seven minutes, though. Dwight McNeil gave away a cheap free-kick inside his own half and when Maddison's set-piece wasn't dealt, Wout Faes headed the ball back across goal, Keane failed to track Caglar Soyuncu who swivelled it in off Pickford's hand to level the match at 1-1.

McNeil squandered a promising opening when he elected to shoot rather than square it to Calvert-Lewin in fron of goal and Iwobi received a let-off when he was dispossessed but Maddison's curling effort failed to unduly test Pickford but he wasn't so fortunate a minute later.

Iwobi's ill-advised cross-field pass across the centre-circle was intercepted by Youri Tielemans, Maddison quickly threaded the ball through Everton's defence where the 36-year-old Vardy easily out-stripped Keane for pace, rounded the keeper and slammed it home to turn the match on its head.

To their credit, Everton responded and when Iwobi and Calvert-Lewin combined and the latter fed Coleman on the overlap his cross was turned goal-wards by McNeil, only for Iversen to stick out an instinctive hand to prevent it finding the net in the 42nd minute.

A minute after that, there might have been a goal at either end, with McNeil surging forward and cutting the ball to Calvert-Lewin almost on the goal-line but the striker somehow prodded the ball to the only part of the gaping goal where the keeper was and Iversen was able to keep it out.

Leicester counter-attacked immediately where Vardy twisted Keane into knots before drawing Pickford and chipping a shot over him but, thankfully, the ball bounced off the crossbar and over.

That wasn't to be the end of the first-half drama as Coleman, who had been having a very good game to that point, went down in a heap clutching in his knee after being pole-axed by Boubakary Soumare and was eventually carried off, the skipper still geeing his team-mates up from the stretcher as he was replaced by Nathan Patterson.

Then, in the ensuing injury time, Iwobi lost the ball again in an advanced area, Leicester poured forward once more and when Harvey Barnes's cross struck Keane's out-stretched arm, referee Oliver pointed to the spot again, this time in the home side's favour.

Pickford elected not to pick a corner, though, and stood tall in his goal to beat away Maddison's penalty as he tried to drive it down the middle to keep it at 2-1 heading into the second half where the contest became more and more akin to a winner-takes-all cup tie.

Everton came out the more purposeful of the two sides and almost got their reward again just seven minutes in when Calvert-Lewin's knock-down was collected by Iwobi and his low cross was turned goalwards by the striker but Iversen denied him with an out-stretched foot at the near post.

Two minutes later, however, it was 2-2. McNeil's cross came off the head of Faes and dropped invitingly to Iwobi arriving on the other side of the box and he steered a beautifully cushioned half-volley past the keeper.

That sparked a sustained period of Leicester pressure and James Tarkowski had to be well-positioned to clear Vardy's goalbound header off his line on the hour mark as the veteran forward connected with Barnes's mis-hit effort.

But as the game moved into the final quarter of an hour, it was Everton who looked the more likely to grab a winner, although a moment of madness from Pickford almost gifted Vardy a goal when the England keeper was dispossessed on the touchline but the resulting shot dropped wide.

McNeil eschewed a better-advised pass to Calvert-Lewin and went for goal himself again in the 75th minute but his effort was defelcted wide, Iversen had to nip into to steal a cross destined for DCL a couple of minutes later and Iwobi also decided to go it alone for another deflected shot but it was Doucouré who went very close to stealing the points three minutes from the end.

The Mali international found himself with time on the edge of the area to line up a left-footed shot that he despatched in search of the bottom corner but Iversen had sight enough of the ball to dive to his right and palm the ball behind.

So, not the result that Everton needed with just four matches remaining, two of them against daunting opposition in the form of Brighton and Manchester City, and the club still sitting in the bottom three of the Premier League.

Individual errors and amateur defending continue to be huge issues that Dyche seems incapable of addressing, either through coaching or team selection, but the manager will have been buoyed by the spirit shown by his team, the attacking threat they posed with Calvert-Lewin leading the line, and the fact that they managed to score twice away from home for the third time under his stewardship.

Salvation is still possible but matters are out of the Blues' hands for now, with help needed this coming weekend in matches involving their relegation rivals until they can try and help themselves at the Amex Stadium on Monday against the Seagulls.


Reader Comments (46)

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Christine Foster
1 Posted 02/05/2023 at 07:32:43
I actually thought we played well for the majority of the game, one appalling error, a pass from Iwobi, and dreadful defending from Keane, slow to turn and let 36 years old Vardy, run past him and left him in his wake, two mistakes, two goals.

Keane surely cannot start another game, his errors have cost us points far greater than any goal threat he has.

But, good pressure, DCL looking sharp, it should have been 4, or even 5, DCL missed a sitter, their goalie played a blinder..

Is it too little too late? If we can tighten up at the back, Mina or Coady, I think we may be OK.

On the sad side, I th8nk we may have seen the end of Seamus playing career,, it looked a bad injury, I thought at first another broken leg, but seeing it again, his knee is at a sickening angle.. have to wish him the very best, not a way to go out, but to see him on a stretcher urging the fans and team on..out on his shield, true Evertonian.

Stephen Jones
2 Posted 02/05/2023 at 07:42:52
Playing Keane is like giving the opposition a two goal advantage.
Tony Abrahams
3 Posted 02/05/2023 at 07:43:27
I don’t think Kyle Walker would have caught Vardy, Christine, because of how quick and clever Leicester moved the ball forward once they gained possession?

I think the golden rule of any good defender is anticipation, and this is why Michael Keane is simply not a good defender.

It took me back to that film about the fellas who all became Yorkshire strippers, when their routine brought in the Arsenal back four stepping up and playing for offside. How Keane never stepped us is still causing me problems right now, but this epitomizes why we have struggled for years.

Every single player fucks up sometimes, and this is why you need good “teammates” to help pull you out of the shit, when this happens. I’m just grateful that Iwobi redeemed himself and helped us gain a very precious point.

Jim Bennings
4 Posted 02/05/2023 at 08:08:31
Dyche is killing us at the moment with his stubbornness.

I don't get what the hell Michael Keane has to do to be dropped for Coady or Mina.

The crackpot stands there last night after conceding the penalty pointing to his arm, actually pointing to his arm after giving away the penalty, yes Michael, that means you have conceded a penalty.

Jesus Christ man.

Dyche and his reluctance to make changes when players are blowing out of their arse, what's that all about?

I am hugely underwhelmed by his defensive savvy, I thought he was going to be like Allardyce at least, just granite defensive organizations but it's actually worse than Lampard right now

Andy Meighan
5 Posted 02/05/2023 at 08:18:46
Makes me laugh when I hear comments like Keane should never play for us again.

Mark my word he will be the first name on the teamsheet next Monday.

This manager is stubborn to the point of madness, 94 minutes play last night and not one sub.

No I'm not counting Patterson because he only got brought on by default because of the great man's injury.

Brighton and City will have a field day against them two at centre back and the Ukrainian is hardly reliable.

I'll be amazed if we are on more than 29 points come the Wolves game were we ll probably get beat or draw.

Once it's confirmed this clown Dyche has to go I'm afraid, brought in to keep us up and has failed.

Yeah yeah I know it's not definite yet, but it's looking grim.

Eddie Dunn
6 Posted 02/05/2023 at 08:39:03
Jim, it seemed like last night, Dyche told them to go for it. We really deserved the 3 points on chances created. That point-blank miss by Calvert-Lewin was a huge opportunity.

Dyche is stubborn and he was reluctant to play Patterson, who slotted in very well. As for Keane, Dyche doesn't want to change too much but he has dropped Coady after a couple of errors so Keane might have to make way at Brighton.

Jim Bennings
7 Posted 02/05/2023 at 08:47:43

I think we had a real go last night but the draw was a fair result across the 90.

Iversen in goal for them was inspired but I can't forget that Vardy could have had a hat trick and quite why he didn't step up to take the pen I'll never know because he usually blasts them home.

We could have been 3-1 down at HT in a game we started so well in, typical Everton fashion.

Andy Crooks
8 Posted 02/05/2023 at 09:17:56
Jim Bennings, spot on. We just about deserved to win but Keane is an utter liability and Dyche a major disappointment. The spirit was excellent and it was our best performance for some time. However, we are incapable of putting together two good shows in a row, so to, me, it was perhaps our best chance of a win squandered.
We cling on, that's about it.
Michael Lynch
9 Posted 02/05/2023 at 09:28:43
i thought DCL looked close to his best last night. Unfortunately, his best does include missing sitters, but the rest of his game was excellent. He stressed out the Leicester defence and acted as his own link-up at times, winning headers and then running on to them himself.

He's a tremendous athlete, and it's no coincidence that we create far more chances with him on the pitch.

Brent Stephens
10 Posted 02/05/2023 at 09:34:38
At the final whistle I felt relief in salvaging the point.

And one of the main conclusions for me is that DCL is back and offers so much more up front. Added to which the midfield, with Garner in there, felt somewhat more robust as well as being more creative (look at the number of chances we produced). And we took the game to the opposition from the start, and also refused to lie down when we went behind.

So all in all I feel we're on a slight upward curve relative to others at the bottom, and in the end that might just save us. Small margins and all that...

Dave White
11 Posted 02/05/2023 at 09:52:39
I’ll preface this by admitting that I’m the eternal optimist, but I’m encouraged by the number of chances we created. Their keeper was inspired last night, his first save from Iwobi was a worldy, with his last from Doucoure not being far behind. At least we’re looking like we can score goals.

It may well be too little too late, but there was something there last night that I haven’t seen for quite some time. I have a sneaky suspicion that things might come together for the Brighton game (and no, I haven’t been taking any happy pills!) The fat lady is warming her voice up, but she hasn’t started singing just yet!

James Byrne
12 Posted 02/05/2023 at 09:53:35
I know plenty of stick is being loaded up for Keane, some rightly so, but not many defenders will do well against Vardy, especially at home.

The consistent piss poor passing and stray balls from Iwobi cost us the game last night. I know he has some fancy skills but at times his brain and his feet are not in the same room, and that has cost us all season.

On the same note, early and throughout the game, the shooting abilities from Iwobi, Doucoure and Gueye from outside the box are just awful. Why can't any of these players strike a ball with power or accuracy. It's just not acceptable at this level.

Trevor Peers
13 Posted 02/05/2023 at 09:53:58
It was a decent result, I can't understand the clamour for imaginary substitutes after 60 minutes when we obviously don't have anybody worth bringing on. Gray? maybe but he loses the ball too often and very rarely scores, Coady is past his best and probably no better than Keane.

The squad is drastically short of any real quality and the team virtually picks itself more or less. We can only pray they can get enough points to stay up. It's in the hands of the almighty!

Mal van Schaick
14 Posted 02/05/2023 at 10:03:37
I can’t fault the effort, and from what I saw we just needed a bit of luck in front of goal with DCL being unfortunate not to score.

It looks like it’s two out of four, and all the teams involved have some hard fixtures. Brighton are on a par with Newcastle for doing well this season. If we can get a result there next week, that would go some way to easing our plight.

If we can gather points while those around us are floundering, we may just have a lucky escape.

Christopher Timmins
15 Posted 02/05/2023 at 10:07:24
We played well, but only up to a point, we conceded 2 goals, they missed a penalty, hit the bar and had one headed off the line. We missed a sitter.

What we do deserve credit for was our ability to create chances, we were better than them over the 90 minutes, indeed for long periods we were far better than them.

Four games to go, Southampton are gone and based on last night's showing we might just finish ahead of Leicester and Leeds and retain our top flight status.

Iwobi deserves credit for his display in the second half, particularly on foot of a poor first half display.

Michael Keane lost the defender for the first goal, was out of position for the second and gave away the penalty. He was luck to appear for the second half.

Dominic should have scored in the first half, unreal how he did not hit the back of the net from two feet. On the plus side he is looking stronger and hopefully, he will play a full part over the remaining games.

Seamus is a savage loss, we will miss him as a player and more importantly as a leader. Hopefully, Patterson can step over the remaining games.

Andy Crooks
16 Posted 02/05/2023 at 10:12:12
The injury to Seamus Coleman was the lowest point of an awful season. Just gutted for him I admire him beyond words
Mark Rankin
17 Posted 02/05/2023 at 10:16:26
Next Monday is going to be fun, Leicester and Forrest have, on paper, their easiest games of the run in whilst we are away at Brighton.
Brian Harrison
18 Posted 02/05/2023 at 10:33:10
For the first time this season I saw an Everton team go all out for a win away from home, and on balance were unlucky not to take 3 points. From minute one you could see the whole team wanted to get on the front foot, and we created the best chances in the game. I thought Garner was a massive upgrade on Onana, every time he got the ball his first thought was to try and make a forward pass, I think with not many games under his belt he naturally tired in the last 15 minutes or so. Now that he is fully fit and gaining in match fitness DCL showed again how important he is to this side, just a pity he didn't convert the easy chance last night. Looking at the performances of Doucoure it makes you wonder why Lampard didnt play him.

I know many want Keane dropped but I look at the alternatives and there isn't a stand out defender. Couldnt see Mina or Coady scoring thegoal that Keane scored against Spurs or the first goal last season against Palace. I doubt there is a CB in the Premier league who would have caught Vardy for the first goal, and if Iwobi hadn't misplaced another pass in a season of misplaced passes from him we wouldn't even be talking about Keanes defending. I thought he was unlucky for the penalty have seen similar instances not given, and for their first goal why Tarkowski doesnt stick a leg out as he is a yard in front of Pickford I don't know.

I thought Mykolenko had his best game for a while and McNeil is improving week on week.

The down side from last night was the injury to our brilliant captain who never gives less than 100% in every game he plays. He is so important both defensively and offensively he will be a big miss. Seems like its a serious knee injury and possibly career ending given Colemans age. Seamus you have been a credit to yourself your family and most importantly been like having a fan on the pitch. Always driving the team forward whatever the score. For the first time in weeks last nights performance gave me hope that if we continue with that philosophy we may just escape again. I know many like me were calling for subs for the last 15/20 minutes as all the team put a shift in, but maybe Dyche was thinking who do I take off and will it upset the balance of the team.

Dave Abrahams
19 Posted 02/05/2023 at 10:46:49
Nothing to dislike at all about Seamus Coleman as a footballer and a man, not many footballers have the integrity ( intellectual honesty) that Seamus has shown since he came here all those years ago, it’s been a pleasure to watch the way you have performed for the Blues, I can’t give you any more praise than say you remind me of another great Irish footballer and captain of Everton, Peter Farrell who was also a gentleman like yourself. Good luck, God bless, hope you heal quickly and however it goes I hope you enjoy the rest of your life.
Brent Stephens
20 Posted 02/05/2023 at 11:07:26
Dave #19, nicely put.
Dave White
21 Posted 02/05/2023 at 11:45:01
See Seamus whipping up the away fans from the stretcher?! In a world of overpaid prima donnas and poor connection between players and fans, our captain really does stand out as a total fucking legend.
Pete Clarke
22 Posted 02/05/2023 at 14:22:21
Seamus should use his recovery time to take his coaching badges so he can be our manager in years to come. I know it doesn’t always work for players but if they don’t try we’ll never know. He’s a true pro and gentleman in todays world of overpaid mercenaries.
Get well soon mate and hopefully we stay up so you can break that record next season.
I’ve been in a great mood today because on reflection with last nights game and the others losing over the weekend I can only see the positives in getting the point. We avoided catastrophe by keeping Leicester within reach and we finally showed some attacking intent.
I’m actually looking forward to the Brighton game.
Barry Rathbone
23 Posted 02/05/2023 at 14:28:23
The problem is fans, players and senior management have tread the path of being too good/big to go down for many seasons acting like entitled, pompous balloons. Seen it at Villa, Newcastle, Forest, Sunderland and way back with Utd and Spurs. On paper they seemed more than capable and on the pitch weren't getting destroyed but couldn't buy a win - that's us.

Now "smaller" clubs have improved we have gone to hell in an Iranian handcart. Moshiri's decisions defying rational analysis from the sacking of Allardyce to the appointment of Benitez he has been an utter disaster.

It's odds on we are down.

Our remarkable record of top flight existence always seems to provide a rabbit out of the hat moment but I just can't see it with this crew.

It won't happen this time I absolutely guarantee it

David Peate
24 Posted 02/05/2023 at 14:28:28
Pickford’s save against Maddison’s straight ball penalty reminded me of an incident in the 1940s. Jock Dodd’s took an Everton penalty against Frank Swift of Manchester City. Dodd hit the ball so hard and straight that it caught Swift in the stomach and he fell winded to the ground. For the life of me, I cannot recall what happened afterwards. Does anyone on this site know?
Will Mabon
25 Posted 02/05/2023 at 14:31:28
Barry, you can't guarantee it but you can be closer than ever before.
Jerome Shields
26 Posted 02/05/2023 at 17:10:34
Barry I think they will survive by the skin of their teeth, but will then face the independent comission..In the meantime Moshiri is going to flapping about over the Summer and Kenwright &Co are going to hold on for grim death.

It's Everton, the only guarantee is Evertonians will suffer and there will be Twists and turns on top of that.

I use to be able to take a break during the Summer..

Jerome Shields
27 Posted 02/05/2023 at 17:10:34
Barry I think they will survive by the skin of their teeth, but will then face the independent comission..In the meantime Moshiri is going to flapping about over the Summer and Kenwright &Co are going to hold on for grim death.

It's Everton, the only guarantee is Evertonians will suffer and there will be Twists and turns on top of that.

I use to be able to take a break during the Summer..

Martin Mason
28 Posted 02/05/2023 at 17:31:45
Barry@23 I agree with you and last time I looked the bookies were going odds-on us going down. I'm not worried now because if we don't go down then Kenwright and his dreadful cronies will stay in place. Which is the lesser of the 2 evils? If we go down then we are going to have to introduce our better academy lads and get others back from loan. Could it not just be an opportunity. I don't understand about the effect on new ground financing but the club should have factored possible relegation in. If I were a buyer I would see a relegated Everton as a buy.
Martin Mason
29 Posted 02/05/2023 at 17:34:26
Dave@19 I believe that Seamus is already a Blue legend, not only as a player but as a credit to the club in every respect.
Kevin Molloy
30 Posted 02/05/2023 at 17:50:28
if we go down in my view we go out of business. Our wage bill is nuts in the PL, just wait until the championship league gets their head around it. They will sue us to death. Massive points deduction, none of the bums will go, we will be paying Dele All and Andre Gomes over a hundred grand a week next year, and they won't even be on our bench. The players will insist on their wages being met, but we won't have the money, off we jolly well pop.
On balance, I'd rather take my chances with fatty in the PL.
Neil Lawson
31 Posted 02/05/2023 at 21:07:10
With DCL up front and looking fit, we were a totally different outfit. Probably far too late and it reinforces everything we all knew. Namely that we desperately needed an athletic and imposing No 9 when he was injured.

It is shocking that they could not recruit such a player in August or January. It is unacceptable and if we go down a huge responsibility falls upon those tasked with recruitment.

Also, that at about 65 minutes onwards, we desperately needed to reorganise to slow the manic nature of the game and plug the horrible gaps that Leicester were driving through with ease.

Tactically nothing happened. Nor were fresh legs introduced. I was screaming at the tele and ultimately, we were lucky to hold on for the point. I find that inexplicable and unforgivable. It doesn't bode well for the future.

A hugely improved performance. Great spirit and commitment and a game we could and should have won with better tactical nouse.

Rick Tarleton
32 Posted 02/05/2023 at 21:10:33
My God they tried, they gave their all, but composure and skill were in very short supply. Hellenism and Hebraism again and we lack the Greek bit.

Iwobi made a schoolboy error, but is that worse than being invisible as Doucoure was? Keane lacked the pace to deal with Vardy, but of our plethora of central defenders who'd have done better? Tarkowski, not exactly Usain Bolt is he? Coady? Mina? Gregory has the speed but lacks positional nous.

Dyche's reluctance to use his subs is worrying, Everton needed legs at the end, Onana? Davies? Simms? Gray above all at his old club with something to prove?

I've got my fingers and everything else crossed, but I reckon were 4-6 in odds to go down. We need points against Brighton and they won't be easy to get.

Andrew Keatley
33 Posted 02/05/2023 at 21:18:04
Tony (3) and others – We are going to have problems whoever we play at centre-back.

Godfrey is slow to react, lacks focus, and is entirely reliant on his recovery pace and bravery. He is also a hugely limited player when in possession.

Holgate lacks intensity and often gets caught in running battles that he tends to lose. He has gone backwards in the last four seasons.

Mina is a strong competitor but his various injury problems and unconventional athleticism means that he cannot be relied upon to consistently put in a run of performances in a situation like we have in a league like the Premier League.

I think Coady has been a big disappointment. Sure he talks well, and he's an okay footballer, but he is so afraid of being beaten by pace or a bit of skill that he just backs off and backs off. He'd rather be passive and try and block a shot than force a striker away from goal with a challenge. Weak.

Unfortunately we let Branthwaite go on loan. I suspect he and Tarkowski might have been a decent pair for this season. Oh well.

As for the game last night, I thought Tarkowski and Keane were slightly at fault for the first Leicester goal – Tarkowski for dropping deep and playing Soyuncu onside, and Keane for getting drawn towards the ball and not staying near the unmarked Soyuncu. Neither carry much blame for the second goal as far as I saw it.

People on here seem to love trashing Michael Keane and Alex Iwobi – and both are highly frustrating individuals who are prone to high-profile errors. But right now they are the best options we have, and until our squad improves (or changes) then we're going to have to strap in and hope it's more of the sublime than the ridiculous when it comes to their performances in our final 4 matches this season.

Tony Abrahams
34 Posted 03/05/2023 at 07:07:18
Can't argue with your assessment of our central defenders, Andrew, but I could argue with a few of your other points though, mate.

I didn't think Tarkowski kept the Leicester goalscorer on side, although I do think he took up a much worse position than Michael Keane though, Andrew, but this is something he often does (drop towards his goal) and I was glad of it in the second half when he headed one off the line.

I hated Iwobi's first half performance, but I thought he was as good as any player on the pitch in the second half, simply because he began to “relax when in possession” instead of constantly panicking, which was how I saw most of his first half display.

He frustrates me that much I started analyzing if it's because when he came through at Arsenal, he always had players who want the ball, but at Everton, not many players do?

Sometimes he's like a cat on a hot tin roof, when he's in possession of the football, but when he relaxes, he instantly becomes a much better player imo.

If I would have been in the changing room the other night, I'd have been asking Iwobi, did he not see the keeper was already going for the cross, when he put onto the top of the Leicester net, and with a bit more awareness and composure (something he definitely possesses - except he's always in a rush) he could have easily curled the ball low, into the Leicester goal?

Football is about playing to your strengths, and two days later, I still can't believe Michael Keane, never had the awareness, the confidence or the composure, to just stop running to play Vardy, offside?

Confidence is obviously massive, but I'm talking about two international footballers here.

Mark Murphy
35 Posted 03/05/2023 at 07:31:09
On Tarkowski's positioning I've noticed he's performed a huge number of blocks this season so you could argue he's probably saved at least as many as he's missed by the position he takes.

I remember the Southampton away game when he and Coady blocked everything, especially a spell when Southampton bombarded us with 3 or 4 shots in a little blitz. We cheered like we'd scored!

I'm a fan of Coady – can't lie – and I'd like to see him and Tarkowski reunited. UTFT

Robert Tressell
36 Posted 03/05/2023 at 08:13:33
Unfortunately we'll have problems whoever we play alongside Tarkowski (not least because Tarkowski is not that good despite being wholehearted).

Branthwaite might well be our best centre-back – and will have benefited from learning his trade at PSV after his mistake cost us against Brentford last season. Hopefully we persuade him to stay next season whatever happens as he possibly solves a long-running problem.

Mina is decent but hardly in Distin, Jagielka, Lescott league. He's also barely been fit for 2 years (no complaints about mentality from the anti-Calvert-Lewin mob?) and leaves next month. It would be an odd time to bring him back into the side.

Being more positive, there were some good individual performances against Leicester – and signs that a core group of players are coming together more as a team. Garner and Calvert-Lewin make a difference (despite the latter's awful miss).

Andrew Keatley
37 Posted 03/05/2023 at 08:45:08
Tony (34),

I agree with you about Iwobi; he is at his best when his team-mates make progressive runs as I think he has the imagination and ability to get his head up and play incisive passes.

Sadly he also has the tendency to take too many touches and delay getting rid of the ball as he waits for a team-mate to take up a better position - which can lead to errors that expose the team. I still think he's one of our better players and without him we'd be in a worse position than we currently are.

As for the first Leicester goal, Soyuncu is definitely played onside by Tarkowski deciding to drop deep. And it's the same for the second goal with Vardy; Keane has no option but to try in vain to put pressure on Vardy as the last man is Tarkowski and he is playing Vardy onside even if Keane had done nothing.

I like Tarkowski but his decision to drop deep and sweep does sometimes cost us and often I think I'd rather he just tried to mark his man.

Peter Carpenter
38 Posted 03/05/2023 at 08:48:06
Michael Keane's Everton career has always been erratic with periods of excellence (and England caps) followed by periods when he looks totally inept.

Hopefully, the current inept period ended at 10 pm on Monday and we'll see a four-game burst of excellence because I don't think Dyche will change anything the closer we get to the end.

I wouldn't be surprised to see exactly the same team for the next four games, with the possible horror exception of a certain centre-back replacing Patterson at right-back.

I just wish there was a journalist who would ask Dyche why he made no second-half substitutions. I would love to know. Has anyone heard an explanation yet?

Christopher Timmins
39 Posted 03/05/2023 at 09:02:07
Relegation will be a disaster. Our financial structures are such that it can only pan out that way. Just read the Auditors Report in relation to the last set of accounts, in particular the reference to going concern!

Tony Abrahams
40 Posted 03/05/2023 at 10:46:50
Good spot on the first goal Andrew, mate, but I have a totally different opinion about the second goal, and disagree that Keane's only option was to chase Vardy.

Yesterday has already gone now so it's onto the next game, and unless there's anymore injuries then I expect Patterson for Coleman, will be our only change.

Kevin Prytherch
41 Posted 03/05/2023 at 11:00:00
1st Leicester goal – Tarkowski drops deep. In that position, he needs to do all he can to block the shot – that's what he's dropped deep for. Instead he does nothing when an outstretched leg could have blocked the shot.

2nd Leicester goal – both Keane and Tarkowski are slow to react on 2 occasions:

1st, there's no anticipation when we're going forward, they either need to play a higher line or one needs to be in a position where they cover for the other. Instead, they're both ambling forward with no conviction.

2nd, when the ball is turned over they both freeze while Vardy makes a run. It takes Keane a second to react, which is all Vardy needs – while Tarkowski just stands there. This is directly related to ambling forward – there was no anticipation for a turnover in possession, so neither player is able to react when the ball is turned over.

Both could have been avoided again.

On another note – the next two games should play into Tarkowski's and Keane's hands as they're both better defending what's in front of them and both struggle when the ball is played behind them. I feel they'll struggle against Wolves and Bournemouth though when we're forced to attack.

Brian Harrison
42 Posted 03/05/2023 at 11:00:40
I know on many different threads there was criticism of Dyche not making subs except the one he had to make when Seamus got injured. I too was shouting that players were tiring and changes need to be made. But after the game I was talking to another Blue saying I couldnt understand why Dyche didnt bring fresh legs on for the last 20 minutes. He said well who would you have taken off, Garner was having a really good game, although understandably tiring having played so little. But would Onana have covered the ground Garner did and we have seen enough of him to know he doesnt make many forward passes. Iwobi although not great in the 1st half was probably the best player on the park in the 2nd half. Gana was still closing down and making it difficult for Leicester to get up a head of steam. McNeil looks better and better with every game, so couldnt make a case for him to be subbed. Doucoure did a huge amount of running and closing down and nearly won it in the end, and Dyche would have been hung if he had taken DCL off.

So my question is who would you have taken off and replaced by who.

John Williams
43 Posted 03/05/2023 at 11:30:54
The second goal was purely Iwobi's fault, by turning inside
when our other midfielders had gone forward. The two centre-backs were also moving forward and were caught out by Maddison's pass.

The question is, should Gueye have been where he was or should he have been covering the back line?

I still see guys talking about Branthwaite but, in my opinion, he will not be a Premier League centre-back.

Kevin Naylor
44 Posted 03/05/2023 at 11:39:58
Simple thing is Dyche got away with not making any changes (if you are in the happy with a draw camp), you can bet your life if Leicester had scored with 5 mins to go, Gray and Onana and Simms would have been chucked on.

He's treading a thin line and just about getting away with it at the moment.

Tony Abrahams
45 Posted 03/05/2023 at 21:10:48
Doucouré was shattered, so was Garner. I'd have taken off Doucouré and pushed McNeil inside, and put Demarai Gray on the wing to run at Leicester.

You could have even just done a straight swap, and let Gray play in behind Calvert-Lewin because that was where the space was every time Everton broke forward towards the end.

Ian Bennett
46 Posted 03/05/2023 at 21:15:23
I personally would have tried Simms on for the closing stages.

Two up top was a risk with Gana on a yellow, Garner & Patterson inexperienced. So whilst Doucoure didn't offer much, I can see why he didn't want to gamble the point.

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