Everton won ugly yesterday evening in a scrappy tie against bottom club Swansea City. Goals from Dominic Calvert-Lewin, a cracker from Gylfi Sigurdsson and a late penalty from Wayne Rooney were enough to cancel out Leroy Fer’s opener for the Swans who lost their fourth game on the bounce.
The first half was one of the most forgettable in living memory, barring the goals. Luciano Narsingh caused some problems for Cuco Martina on the right flank and he had the first shot on target, a pea roller straight into the arms of Jordan Pickford. The winger would have Swansea’s next chance after cutting in well and making himself room for the shot but he smashed his effort wildly into the Gwladys Street end. Both sides looked dreadful, bottom of the league Swansea understandably but a resurgent Everton? It had the feel of an early season Ronald Koeman performance.
Aaron Lennon produced a rare moment of quality as he turned Alfie Mawson superbly and got into the area but his terrible finish let him down. The Goodison Park crowd was almost silent for the majority of the dull first period and it would be a poor refereeing decision that would finally rouse them into life. Nathan Dyer drove forward from his own half and attempted to skip past Mason Holgate just outside the box but the young defender marvellously slid in and nicked the ball away. However the clueless-as-ever Jon Moss failed to see it that way giving Swansea a free kick and a booking for Holgate, it was infuriating but not surprising. Tom Carroll whipped the free kick over the wall but Pickford had it covered and gathered with ease.
However five minutes later the Premier League’s bottom club would open the scoring. From a Swansea corner the ball was whipped in and went all the way through to the far post for Leroy Fer to tap home, after losing his marker Ashley Williams. Neither side had really deserved to go in front but it was Swansea who took their chance and the lead.
However Swansea have lost 18 league away games since the start of last season, the most of any side in the top flight and at the start of the evening had only scored as many Premier League goals this season as Wayne Rooney, so it was no surprise when Everton got themselves level on the stroke of half time. Aaron Lennon got into the box and was clumsily tripped by ‘Mr Moustache’ Roque Mesa. Moss pointed to the spot and Rooney stepped up to reach double figures for the Blues. However his penalty was magnificently saved by Lukasz Fabianski but it bounced out to Dominic Calvert-Lewin who thrashed the rebound home to send the sides in level at the end of an instantly forgettable first period.
If I was to tell you the second half was any better I’d be lying however Everton got the goals necessary and ground out another result under Big Sam. 20 minutes into the 2nd half and the Toffees were ahead in mesmerizing fashion and it was Swansea’s old favourite who produced it. Tom Davies had come on to replace Morgan Schneiderlin and he did well around the half way line to nick it off Mesa and feed Rooney who in turn found Sigurdsson wide on the left. Martina made a brilliant lung-busting run to draw a defender a way and allow Sigurdsson to cut inside and drill a phenomenal effort past Fabianski to hammer one of the nails into the Swansea coffin as the grim reaper seemed to loom for poor old Paul Clement.
Whether the scythe will drop for Clement remains to be seen, as his side will remain bottom of the league through Christmas, but Everton’s third goal did him no favours as it guaranteed the Swans would return to South Wales empty handed with a 4th straight loss. Lennon slipped through Kenny who was clean through only to be tripped from behind by Marcus Olsson and Moss again was left with no choice as he pointed to the spot.
Unfazed by his earlier miss Rooney stepped up again and this time converted in the opposite side to put the game beyond any doubt. Double figures for the season and it’s not even Christmas, not bad for someone “over the hill and “finished”. It may not have been pretty but let’s be honest, even when we’ve tried to be pretty under Martinez and Koeman it has ended in tears so its about time the main focus shifted back to Everton winning football games.
Four home wins in a row, 13 points from 15 under the new manager and just six points behind media darlings Tottenham Hotspur, the greatest side to ever grace this planet if the British press are to believed. Things are looking up and there is no side looking forward to playing us at the moment, even Chelsea with their embarrassment of attacking options will not be too keen on a frosty lunchtime kick off at Goodison on Saturday up next. The big games always get the atmosphere up and we’re all hoping that Everton produce one of their big game performances to keep us riding that Big Sam wave.