With three assists and a goal in Wednesday’s win against Tottenham, Gylfi Sigurdsson became the first Everton player since Steven Pienaar against Fulham in 2012 to record a hat-trick of assists in a single game. Sigurdsson served as the setup man for Everton’s first, fourth and fifth goals and scored the third himself — sending Hugo Lloris the wrong way on a penalty kick.
The 31-year-old was perhaps fortunate to pick up his first helper, as Dominic Calvert-Lewin — who injured his hamstring and had to be subbed off in the 55’ — sent a rocket past Lloris, but he pulled the strings for his other two assists; the Icelandic midfielder carved a pass through Tottenham’s defense for Richarlison’s second tally and arced a ball with his weaker left foot over the Spurs’ backline for Bernard’s game-winning goal in extra time.
Not only were Sigurdsson’s four goals and assists necessary for Everton to advance to the final eight, but they also served to compensate for his mistakes on the defensive end — he was marking Davison Sánchez for both of the Colombian’s goals.
Carlo is Calm, Cool and Composed
In perhaps Everton’s biggest moment of the season — a 97’ marker that capped a nine-goal slugfest — Carlo Ancelotti looked as if his team had just scored in a preseason friendly against a third-tier club. Following Bernard’s blast that gave Everton what would be their final lead of the game, Ancelotti was the one man not galloping up and down the sideline — the Italian simply blew on his hot beverage and turned his back to the pitch.
While the clip of Ancelotti’s nonchalant response to such an exciting moment makes for entertaining social media content, it has a deeper meaning in the context of Everton’s season. Everton have, at times, struggled through injuries and poor form, yet they sit in seventh place with two games in hand against most teams. This side is on the verge of breaking into the top four and playing for a spot in the semis of the FA Cup precisely because Ancelotti has a level-headed demeanor about him. He doesn’t allow himself, or his team, to get too high or too low, which is vital when trying to navigate a season played in a pandemic.
Goals in Cup Competitions
Between the League Cup and FA Cup competitions, Everton have scored an inordinate number of goals. In their first three matches in the Carabao Cup, the Toffees netted 12 times, finding the back of the net with ease against lower league opposition then West Ham United. And forgetting about a disheartening 2–0 loss to Manchester United in the quarterfinals, Everton averaged a whopping four goals per game.
In three FA Cup ties, the Blues have found the back of the net ten times, good for over three goals a game. To put their play in context, between the two cup competitions, Everton have averaged 3.14 goals per game, compared with their mark of 1.61 in the league. And while the boys from Goodison have played inferior competition in the cup games, there is no diminishing their incredible goal-scoring form. Should Everton embrace their new score-at-the-expense-of-defense philosophy, there is no reason why they can’t win the competition for the first time since 1995.