Welcome to Part 2 of our series on The Most Impactful ‘Everton-that’ Moments from this season so far.
If you missed Part I (#13-7) make sure to read it first before you move on!
But if you are in a hurry or just need a refresher after a long weekend, here you go!
The day after Everton blew a two-goal lead to Newcastle in less time than it takes Tim Howard to brush his hair, a twitter thread by Everton supporter (and Social Media Producer for BT Sport) Matt Desai appeared that perfectly encapsulated a season that can only be described as odd, even by Everton standards.
Even though it’s been less than a season since Jordan Pickford helped secure another Merseyside derby defeat with some interesting goal keeping, that fiasco seems as if it happened decades ago with the course of events that have taken place since the current season kicked off in August.
In this thread, the author identifies the 13 most mystifying, dumbfounding and cursed events to hit Everton this season. From injuries to losses, there has been plenty for Everton fans to be arsed about.
So I reached out to Matt and asked if I could expand on his post and rearrange them.
Instead of viewing these most-Everton of moments in their chronological order, I thought it would be fun to rank each of the incidents based on their long-term and short-term impact.
Now to the final 6!
Editor’s Note: All the best gifs in this post are probably being blocked by your newsreader, so click through here to read this in all its necessary glory.
6. Both Sides of the Coin
13. The Toffees put in a dominant display to lead Newcastle 2-0 at home going into stoppage time. They concede in the 94th minute and 95th minute to draw 2-2. The goals were the Magpies’ only two shots on target, and defender Florian Lejeune’s first goals in three years. pic.twitter.com/3LkzwWgVsK— Matt Desai (@MatthewDesai) January 22, 2020
SHORT-TERM IMPACT: 5/10
LONG-TERM IMPACT: 5/10
IMPACT SCORE: 10/20
When all is said and done with the 2019-2020 Premier League season and Everton fans look back on this most interesting of campaigns, it wouldn’t be surprising if the recent match against Newcastle isn’t used as a perfect encapsulation of the entire campaign.
Producing one of their more complete performances, albeit against a weakened Newcastle side (which just makes the ending worse), the Blues looked poised to head into the extended break (more on their cup ineptitude later) with some confidence and dare we say it.....a semblance of consistency.
Then the last minute happened.
In what can ONLY be described as a true ‘Everton-that’ moment, the Toffees conceded two goals in the last minute of stoppage time to throw away two points and leaving fans with a stark reminder of the psychological hurdles these players, and the entire club, still have to overcome.
Of course the impacts of this game weren’t ALL negative, which just makes the final result all that more frustrating. Remember in this match:
- Moise Kean marked his arrival as a Premier League player, playing with the swagger, skill and finishing ability expected of the youngster when he was purchased this summer from Juventus. Showing power, grace, creativeness and a nose for goal, the weight being lifted from Kean’s shoulders after notching his first goal was almost visible.
- Morgan Schneiderlin showed that in the right circumstances he is capable, and willing, to do what is necessary to (almost) win a Premier League match.
- Mason Holgate continued his meteoric rise with another steady display.
- Dominic-Calvert Lewin proved he is ALWAYS a threat, developing the ability to find the net even when he isn’t having his best match.
However, one minute of
Tom Davies Everton ridiculousness and all of those positives are minimized or forgotten.
As for the impact? Well, this one is a little odd in that despite the obvious negatives of capitulating in such a way, the most memorable impact might be the rise of Moise Kean.
Of course he just has to do what Everton so far have been unable to do.
5. VAR...just VAR
2. Leading 2-1, Everton become the first PL team to have a penalty awarded against them by VAR, after Michael Keane and Aaron Connolly touch toes in the box. Brighton score it, and then again in injury time to win 3-2. The PL later admit the wrong decision had actually been made. pic.twitter.com/MFlf7kInKC— Matt Desai (@MatthewDesai) January 22, 2020
SHORT-TERM IMPACT: 6/10
LONG-TERM IMPACT: 5/10
IMPACT SCORE: 11/20
Just when you think Everton are done being the guinea pig of the league:
(That’s a THING, remember!)
They go and do something like this that reminds everyone Everton are just big enough to be seen as not picking on the little guys while also small enough not to draw too much negative attention worldwide.
So let’s follow how the League works:
- Creates ridiculous rule that leaves implementation completely subjective and without constraints
- League applies said ridiculous ruling to the detriment of Everton
- Uproar amongst Everton fans creates polite discussions on television between former Liverpool and Manchester United players who bemoan said rule but offer condolences to the league for the daunting task they face in trying to understand football/soccer.
- General public says rule should be changed as obvious problems are revealed.
- League changes the rules and quietly sends Everton a letter apologizing for costing them three points.
- Rule is never applied again
- Everyone moves on
In this case, however, the impact wasn’t just the immediate loss of three points. It was the sense that this season just might end up being like all the others. That this just wasn’t going to be the year this squad overcame it’s own inadequacies.
This loss, a lot like the Newcastle draw, was a stomach punch that lingered for days. It’s the reckoning that the Toffees need to fix something that can’t be seen or measured, and something not Martinez, Koeman, or Silva have been able to conquer.
Here’s to hoping Ancelotti breaks the spell.
4. Another Season without Silverware
8. Everton host Leicester in their League Cup quarter-final and go 2-0 down inside 30 minutes. A late rally sees the Blues level thanks to a trademark Leighton Baines 92-minute strike. The match goes to penalties. Everton lose with Baines missing from the spot. pic.twitter.com/U4EHsSRvkP— Matt Desai (@MatthewDesai) January 22, 2020
SHORT-TERM IMPACT: 6/10
LONG-TERM IMPACT: 6/10
IMPACT SCORE: 12/20
Coming in at number 4 is the penalty-kick shootout loss to Leicester City in the League (Carabao) Cup Quarter-finals.
Leicester came out like gang-busters and looked every bit the side that was sitting near the top of the league.
Everton, well, came out and looked like Everton.
Down 2-0 early and no identifiable pulse, it seemed things were lost.
Then Tom Davies found the back of the net with 20 minutes to play before Leighton Baines added to his legendary reputation with an absolute worldie to tie it up in added-time.
With no extra-time to play, the two Premier League sides went to PKs, where Toffees hopes and dreams were slammed shut, with the final nail in the coffin being a missed Baines PK.
The impact of this game is both short and long term for a number of reasons.
First off, being the quarter-finals of a cup competition the Toffees sat only three games from a final, a run even a squad as wildly inconsistent as Everton can manage over time. With the league never realistic and the FA Cup too many matches, the league Cup really seemed like the best chance for the Toffees to maybe sneak silverware out of another overall unimpressive campaign.
Additionally, with Carlo Ancelotti joining the Blues just shortly after this match, the opportunity for the new manager to use the carrot of a cup semi-final to get the best out of his players was gone.
The Toffees have gotten further in the league cup before, but this season’s loss will be up there with some of the best missed opportunities.
The streak goes on.
3. Gomes get hacked down, world mourns Son
3. Months after making his move from Barcelona permanent, Andre Gomes is hacked down by Son in a nasty challenge from behind. The Korean is distraught at the damage caused and his tears capture the hearts of the country. His red card is rescinded and he scores in his next match. pic.twitter.com/9l4WnMoU9S— Matt Desai (@MatthewDesai) January 22, 2020
SHORT-TERM IMPACT: 7/10
LONG-TERM IMPACT: 5/10
IMPACT SCORE: 12/20
We all remember where we were when Yeung Min Song was stricken with Andre Gomes’ horrific ankle injury.
We sat shocked as Son was left to deal with the ramifications of his intentional actions, and our heart broke for the man who had to go to the dressing room under his own power, while Andre Gomes kept crying on about his ankle. (Seriously f*** Son).
Luckily, the world (and Son) were spared any more discomfort when the incredibly appropriate punishment for attempting to/causing serious damage was rescinded by the league and Son went on to continue his scoring exploits (and get sent off again).
The most red-carded player in the Premier League in 2019, Son was able to get right back on the pitch while his victim Andre Gomes, and by extension the Everton midfield, tried to recover and rebuild from such a devastating loss.
(On a side note, seriously Pickford and Tosun? That dude just purposefully took out your teammate causing an obviously catastrophic injury. It’s like consoling the hunter who killed Bambi’s mom because he feels bad. HE MEANT TO DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
In all seriousness though, Gomes injury was devastating to the Toffees. Trying to recover from the departure of Idrissa Gana Gueye and the immediate injury of his anointed replacement Jean-Phillipe Gbamin Everton were left void of options in the middle of the park, a problem that still persists in late January.
Between the coverage and rescinding of Son’s red, the obvious slight of Gomes in the follow-up left a very bad taste in the mouths of many Toffees fans.
In the short-term the Toffees struggles to find balance in the middle of the field left them grasping and disjointed, and led immediately to the downfall of Marco Silva.
In the long-term, the Toffees found Gomes would be out for the season (though his incredible recovery may see him back on the pitch this year) and never really recovered as the most technically proficient midfielder, and the man who links everything up for the Toffees was lost.
Of course, the long-term impact of his injury can only be determined once Gomes comes back and shows he is the same player. Should there be any long-term effects from the injury on the £25 million signing from Barcelona then this injury may take on an even more impactful role in the long-term fortunes of the Toffees.
2. Gbamin for Gueye
1. After letting joint-Player of the Season Idrissa Gueye leave for PSG, Everton sign Jean-Philippe Gbamin from Mainz for £25m. He starts one match in August before picking up a serious injury, and hasn’t been seen since. pic.twitter.com/sQO4MqEi5S— Matt Desai (@MatthewDesai) January 22, 2020
SHORT-TERM IMPACT: 8/10
LONG-TERM IMPACT: 7/10
IMPACT SCORE: 15/20
Everton have gotten a lot of flack this season for what many perceive to be an inability to properly construct a squad capable of handling the inevitable injuries and changes in form that come along with a Premier League season.
There are a lot of arguments that support this. From the Toffees lack of signings at center back to the apparent reactionary signing of Alex Iwobi (the verdict is still out), it seems as though the decision-makes for Everton are perpetually reactionary and rarely proactive.
However, one area in which the front-office can’t be blamed is in the way they handled Idirssa Gana Gueye’s departure from the team.
A lynchpin for the side for the past few seasons, fans would have been INCREDULOUS if there were not some type of replacement for the hard-working and even harder-tackling Gueye.
So the board did something they seem to do so rarely....
THEY HAD A PLAN!!!
Enter Jean-Phillipe Gbamin from Mainz in the Bundesliga.
Consistent? Gbamin had started an average of 29 league matches a season before coming to Everton.
Known as a hard-working, tackling, distributor of the ball, the 24 year old came in already having established himself in a top league and was a player who could recoup his fee (if not more) should his time at Everton go well.
This all meant that when Gueye did eventually leave to Paris Saint Germain, with the club turning a a tidy £25 million profit, they had already worked out the solution.
So what happened?
Well, Gbamin was rushed into the lineup without proper training and suffered muscle damage less than two matches into his career as a Blue.
And frankly the Toffees haven’t recovered.
Now missing Gueye and Gbamin, the toothless Everton midfield has been left exposed since week two.
Morgan Schneiderlin, Fabian Delph and Tom Davies have attempted to try and replicate some of the tenacity lost when Gueye departed, but there’s a difference between trying be a presence and actually being one.
The lack of a true holding midfielder has only served to highlight the Toffees weaknesses and deficiencies at center back as well, and has even forced Mason Holgate to role play as a 6 and breathlessly put all 3 center back options on the field at the same time.
In Holgate’s defense, he has been the closest thing to Gueye as far as being a physical presence in midfield, but he is also our most in-form center back.
This gaping hole in the center of midfield has seen three managers attempt to paper it over, but right now there is just nothing that can be done as the roster is currently assembled.
Reports that Jean-Phillipe Gbamin has returned to training brought some hope that the Everton midfield can begin to establish itself at some point this season, but until Gbamin is back on the field the Blues will continue to be weak in one of the positions a team absolutely can’t afford to be.
With the short-term impacts of contributing to Marco SIlva’s firing, the lack of ability to see out matches and the general decimation of any cohesion; and long-term impacts of forcing the team to reconsider what the team will look like moving on after Gueye, the impact of the loss of Gana and the injury to Jean-Phillipe Gbamin can’t be overstated.
1.Silva Sacked, Ancelotti Arrives
6. Having sacked Marco Silva after a 5-2 drubbing at Liverpool, the Everton hierarchy are in talks over who to appoint next. The boardroom is split between David Moyes, a Community Shield and Second Division winner, or Carlo Ancelotti. pic.twitter.com/pHJZ5y92n6— Matt Desai (@MatthewDesai) January 22, 2020
SHORT-TERM IMPACT: 9/10
LONG-TERM IMPACT: 10/10
IMPACT SCORE: 19/20
Ok so I took a little liberty with this post, but it can’t be THAT surprising what the most Everton-that moment of the season has been so far.
Following a 5-2 drubbing at the hands of Liverpool, an obviously frustrated and out-of-answers Marco Silva was released from his Everton-related duties on December 5th.
An Everton manager losing steam after 18-months? That’s nothing unusual around these parts.
It’s what followed Silva’s dismissal that was something only Everton could produce.
At first there were hopes that Everton would be able to upgrade, but at that point in the season? What top level manager besides Mauricio Pochettino was really available?
Luckily for the Everton board the team responded well to interim manager Duncan Ferguson and bought the decision makers more time to hunt down a new manager who could finally steer the club to the heights we supporters have longed for since Farhad Moshiri arrived.
Then, on December 10th, a mere five days after Silva’s departure from Everton, Napoli unceremoniously fired Carlo Ancelotti.
Well, there’s someone, right?
Thought Everton fans, before quickly dismissing the idea of a manager like Ancelotti taking over at Everton. Ancelotti was a manager who would take over once we found the right person to get us to the level where we shop for managers like Carlo.
So fans went back to their computers and watched things take a dark turn towards David Moyes.
Let’s be honest, it felt inevitable. Like Moyes was sitting on his couch, suited up and just waiting for a text from Bill Kenwright to get himself to Goodison that was bound to come any moment.
Again, who else was there?
Then Duncan inspired the guys, and bought the club some more time.
Ok, but really.
A few other names showed up on the radar but sitting in the relegation zone, the Toffees weren’t in position to go chasing candidates based on ideal goals of style of play.
No, the press told us, David Moyes would come back and bring honor and fight to a club so desperately in need of it.
Then Duncan inspired the guys, and bought the club some more time.
Oddly, however, reports began to appear that Carlo Ancelotti would not be joining Arsenal, who were also in the market for a manager having fired Unai Emery, but rather that the former Napoli boss was in talks to be the Everton manager.
Surely it can’t be?
Have Everton managed to exceed expectations for the first time since, well I can’t remember?
What did this mean?
Were Everton actually able to articulate a proper vision for their club and lure in someone whose credentials are by far and away the best of any Toffees managerial appointment in history?
That would go against everything we are seeing on the field and in the board room.
The club isn’t in trouble, but is in a tight financial situation due to terrible spending in previous windows combined with the cost of paying off coaches after binning them. The team on the field has been anything but inspiring.
So to bring in a manager on Ancelotti’s esteem under these conditions, it must be said that SOMEONE did a great job of selling the Italian on the prospects for success at Goodison (and eventually Bramley Moore).
So as far as the impact of SIlva being sacked and Ancelotti hopping on board, many are obvious, from upgrading at manager (short-term) to the ability to recruit players who we may not have had a shot at because they trust Ancelotti (long-term).
In reality though, Ancelotti has done something I wasn’t sure was possible just a few months ago as Silva’s reign sputtered to a close:
He has brought an underlying sense of calm and hope to Everton despite all of the ridiculous incidents of this year and years past.
He’s given true hope to a fan base that hasn’t had it in years, and maybe still shouldn’t.