Three points is three points, and a 1-0 victory for Everton counts as such whether the winning goal is scored in say, the ninth minute of the match, or the eighty-ninth minute. While Richarlison has scored in three straight, now pairing particularly well with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, the match did not feature too much else in terms of scoring afterwards; exactly nothing to be precise.
That might be for the best however. Everton have won, drawn and lost some matches recently scoring quite a lot of goals, yet their last two have been clean sheets for Jordan Pickford, tallies for Richarlison and victories for the Blues. The Toffees must be able to win games in every manner, which of course means high-scoring affairs, as well as ground-out wins. It is however, difficult to argue that it is not a better feeling group victory to keep a clean sheet in two matches than to win by the skin of our teeth in an offensive clash. They are exciting and no one will complain about having them of course, but against Liverpool, and then with a very light bench against Southampton who had shocked us last time we faced them, the entire team was accountable and so the result bore that, despite the late pressure from the Saints; can Everton keep it rolling?
March continues Marching Onward for Everton
West Bromwich Albion, led by disgruntled former Blues manager Sam Allardyce, will be a test of a different type. Gone is the swashbuckling football they showed in the 5-2 loss at Goodison Park as the defence has looked to tighten up in true Big Sam style.
Everton cannot let their guard down because this is another trap game, not too dissimilar to the Fulham game just weeks ago, and the first Southampton match of the season. The club will have to be ready emotionally and mentally, so as to not fall into a sense of complacency. The Blues cannot be looking ahead to next Monday when they go to Stamford Bridge.
Thomas Tuchel has Chelsea playing much more organized than Frank Lampard had managed, and although he continues to shift lineups as Lampard did, he has yet to find offensive success during his brief tenure. In ten matches, he has managed just nine goals, and the scoreless draw with Manchester United was boring enough to be chastised by its own commentary crew. It will be a more difficult test for Everton to pass this time than during their first encounter this season when the Toffees were able to eke out a 1-0 victory; doing so against will be a testament to the growth Everton under Ancelotti has continued to make.
A pair of victories would push Everton’s win streak to four, with Burnley coming to Goodison next to potentially add another three points to the Toffee point tally. Fifteen points across the previous five matches would be the perfect way to enter the second conflict of the season against Manchester City, this time, in the FA Cup Quarterfinals. Sitting on fifty-two points near the end of March is a very good place for the Blues to be in.
City has dominated everyone recently and Everton is no exception to this; Pep and his gentlemen have made our very talented team look like schoolboys in the previous tie, and Don Carlo is on a mission to make sure that doesn’t occur in this most important of matches.
A win for Everton would be absolutely breathtaking, and for multiple reasons. Any time you can defeat the best team in your country, you must feel positively of course. Yet this win would also send the Toffees to the FA Cup Semifinals, without the threat of facing any club that is likely better than City for the final two rounds of the tournament. While the Toffees battle for a European position in the Premier League, Everton have gone so long without winning a trophy that it would be the best gift the Don and Big Dunc could give every Evertonian.
The Champions League is still attainable, and we might not even require the FA Cup to reach Europe were we to finish in the top four of course. But a season of reaching the UCL while winning the cup would be an unforgettable campaign and likely just the start of a bright future for the Royal Blue. For all of this speculation however, it will only become real with results, and those come on the pitch. The last two have been wonderful, yet the two before were dreadful, and so we must determine for ourselves and the Premier League just exactly who we are. We have further chances to prove our purpose in the month ahead, yet each match and day, we define ourselves, and Everton will have to do so consistently to become the team we know that they are capable of being.