Boxing Day, 2019 - 15th placed Everton win 1-0 at home to 10th placed Burnley.
Starting lineup (5-4-1) - Pickford; Digne, Coleman, Mina, Holgate, Sidibe; Bernard, Sigurdsson, Delph, Richarlison; Calvert-Lewin.
Boxing Day, 2020 - 4th placed Everton win 1-0 away at 20th placed Sheffield United.
Starting lineup (4-2-3-1) - Pickford; Godfrey, Keane, Mina, Holgate; Doucoure, Davies; Gordon, Sigurdsson, Iwobi; Calvert-Lewin.
The former of these two results was Carlo Ancelotti’s first game in charge at Everton, and the second marked his first anniversary with the Toffees. The former resulted in the Blues moving up to 13th, the latter saw his side up to 2nd in the Premier League table, the first time since 2004 that Everton are in the top four during the Christmas festive fixtures.
There is no doubt that Ancelotti has gotten more mileage out of some players that had previously been written off by the fanbase, none more so that Gylfi Sigurdsson. However with James Rodriguez missing due to injury Ancelotti has turned to the Icelander in the #10 role and now we have four straight wins, and four straight games where Sigurdsson has continued to ‘put in a shift’ as the saying goes.
After scoring a penalty to seal the three points against Chelsea, Sigurdsson was set-up beautifully—against the manager’s instructions really—to slot in at the far post with just ten-odd minutes left to play, and the manager was happy for him.
“Football is strange. When I put in Andre Gomes, I put Gylfi a little bit back. But he found the opportunity, and the solution.
“I think it was a good play from Bernard, from Doucoure, and Sigurdsson shot well.”
With the Blues ending the night in second place, Ancelotti was asked how that felt.
“We feel good. We feel good also because we have had problems. In this moment we have important players out, but this team has a lot of spirit and this is really good.
“I am really pleased to manage these players.”
On the first anniversary of his first game in charge of the Toffees, Ancelotti was in a good mood and when asked how he felt about joining the team widely known as “The People’s Club”, the veteran manager gave a soundbite answer that Blues worldwide will never forget.
“Yes I’m really pleased, I’m really happy because I think I found the right club, a family club. A lot of support behind us. I live in a nice area, so after one year I can say, I was lucky.”