Next up in our review of the past Everton season is the five best games of the campaign.
Not a lot of competition for this one....
Everton suffered their worst league finish in 16 years in 2019-20, ending up in a pretty dismal 12th place.
The Blues could hardly complain about such a disappointing placing given how poor they were for much of it. There were a few sporadic highlights though; let’s look back at five of the best.
Man Utd 1-1 Everton, December 15, 2019
Not a win, but one of the most heartening results and performances of a trying season, as Everton revitalised under Duncan Ferguson came close to victory at Old Trafford.
In the Scot’s second game in caretaker charge following Marco Silva’s sacking, the Blues faced a Manchester United side buoyed by successive wins over Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City. That, coupled with a lengthy injury list, stacked the odds firmly against Everton.
But with Mason Holgate in midfield for the first time and Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison leading the line, the Blues ground out a hugely impressive 1-1 draw. Having taken the lead through Victor Lindelof’s own goal, they were within 15 minutes of victory until Mason Greenwood’s equaliser.
The only blot on the day was Moise Kean’s apparent falling-out with Ferguson, having been substituted off so soon after initially being brought on. But it felt a fantastic day to be an Evertonian, not least by the sights of the travelling away contingent celebrating a hard-earned draw with the caretaker manager at full time.
Everton 2-1 Leicester City, July 1, 2020
Among Everton’s better wins this season, and certainly their post-lockdown highlight, was the 2-1 home victory over high-flying Leicester City last month.
The Blues were two up inside 16 minutes thanks to Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson, but more impressive was their stoicism in the face of the Foxes onslaught that followed. Leicester had already threatened by the time a freak goal from Kelechi Iheanacho halved the deficit, and that only ramped up the pressure on an overworked Everton defence.
Carlo Ancelotti counteracted the rising pressure from Brendan Rodgers’ formation with a switch to a back three and it worked perfectly, as Everton again showed real resilience to see themselves over the line in a real slog of a second half.
Everton 3-2 Wolves, September 1, 2019
It may have proved to be a false dawn, but after a middling start to the season comprising four points from three games, this felt the moment Everton’s campaign would truly get into gear.
Wolverhampton Wanderers had pummelled Everton at Goodison Park just seven months prior, and despite their own slow start, were an outside bet for a Champions League place. Everton, though, really dug in to see them off, spearheaded by the irrepressible Richarlison.
The Brazilian capitalised on miscommunication in the Wolves back line to give the Blues an early lead, before Alex Iwobi soon restored it after Romain Saiss netted the first opposition goal at Goodison since February.
A Raul Jimenez header 15 minutes from time looked set to force Everton to settle for a point, only for Richarlison to rise beautifully to meet Lucas Digne’s looping cross and guide the ball past Rui Patricio. Another real show of resilience which was all too absent for much of the campaign.
Watford 2-3 Everton, February 1, 2020
For the first 42 minutes, this would have been a contender for the worst five games of Everton’s season, so meek they were at Vicarage Road as they fell 2-0 down to a Watford FC side that would eventually be relegated.
But the way in which Ancelotti’s men turned this game around, courtesy of two Yerry Mina goals from corners before half-time and a dramatic last-gasp Theo Walcott winner, means it simply has to feature on this list instead.
Everton were not great, and the idiotic sending-off of Fabian Delph only made their task harder, but in coming from behind to win a league game, they achieved a feat they had not previously managed since December 2017’s 3-1 home victory over Swansea City.
Couple that with the scenes of pure, unadulterated ecstasy in the away end as Walcott fired home in front of them and it was no doubt one of Everton’s most memorable days of 2019-20. Watford were the only team to have Everton do the double over them this term - for that alone, they can have no complaints about going down.
Everton 3-1 Chelsea, December 7, 2019
But no Evertonian will ever forget the day a burly Scotsman wearing a sweatband and broken watch gallivanted down the Goodison touchline, hugging every ballboy in sight.
Silva had just been sacked, Ferguson appointed caretaker boss and Chelsea his first opponents; a youthful side who had shocked many under Frank Lampard to mount a serious Champions League challenge.
Alas, they had no match for Everton’s ferocious intensity here. Richarlison, in his first game as a striker, met Djibril Sidibé’s delightful cross to fire the Blues ahead early on, before Calvert-Lewin bundled home a brace in the second half either side of a Mateo Kovacic stunner. Cue one Big Dunc darting down the Goodison flank.
What was so impressive, given how meek Everton had been in the tail-end of Silva’s reign, was their commitment and dedication to the cause. Everton had averaged 18.5 tackles per game this campaign prior to this game, but here they managed an unbelievable 37; the highest recorded in the entire 2010s and exactly double their season average. It was also the most tackles a team has made in a Premier League game since the start of 2016-17. Truly, this day embodied what it means to be a Blue.
Which was your best Everton game of the season? Vote in the poll below.
Which was your best Everton game of the season?
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Man Utd 1-1 Everton
Everton 2-1 Leicester City
Everton 3-2 Wolves
Watford 2-3 Everton
Everton 3-1 Chelsea
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