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Everton 3-1 Southampton: Instant Reaction | Storming comeback for the Blues

Whatever Rafa said at the break seemed to have worked

Everton v Southampton - Premier League Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Final Score

Southampton had taken the lead midway through the first half after a horrendous error from Michael Keane allowed debutant Adam Armstrong to go one-on-one against Jordan Pickford and pick out the top corner.

Richarlison opened the scoring for the Blues just after halftime. Off a Digne cross, the ball fell to the head of Andros Townsend who nodded it over the back line, finding the foot of Richarlison who caressed it into the back of the net to even the score.

It was late on however that the Blues really sprinted away. First Abdoulaye Doucoure turned and fired into the top corner with a stinging shot that left Alex McCarthy with no chance, and then as the Saints looked to regroup, Richarlison found a diving Dominic Calvert-Lewin with a looping cross to put the matters to bed, 3-1 Everton.

Quick Observations

The Toffees started quick and looked good in attack throughout the first 20 minutes. There were good passes and the team was moving forward with a purpose, but it all fell apart in the 22nd minute. I’m not sure what he was thinking out there, but apparently Michael Keane was the only one in Liverpool that thought he had time and space to play around before eventually making a mistake that some players don’t make in Sunday League. From there it only got worse for the center back pairing who were challenged by the pairing of Che Adams and newly acquired Adam Armstrong, but, thankfully, no goals.

It was a promising first half for the Everton debutants, Townsend and Gray. Both were solid moving forward, Gray showing a pace and ability with the ball that was able to cut through the defence on a few occasions and Townsend with some tantalizing crosses that almost found the back of the net. Saints pressure did cause some problems for the Toffees in the first 45 as Everton were not able to implement the quick passing that Rafa has been teaching in training, but the team found a way to create chances, just none that led to a goal.

The story changed quickly in the second half as the Blues found their first of the season by way of Richarlison. The Brazilian found his way onto the end of a ball nodded into the box by Townsend and he finished to even the score at 1. From then, the Blues looked aggressive in attack for the next 15 minutes or so, finding a lot of space down the wings and taking advantage of it. Doucoure seemed to come alive in the second half. He found more space in the middle of the field and made bombing runs from box to box that were integral in a lot of the attacking that Everton produced early in the half. He capped it off with a touch of class late in the game to give the Toffees the lead.

It was certainly a different team in the second half. Defensively sound and offensively they looked dangerous at almost every turn. There were times where it looked like the Saints were on the front foot, but it seemed that the back line had adjusted to the pressure the opposition were putting on them. Offensively, Everton found much more space in the wide area and it paid off, especially on the third goal where Richarlison wrapped the ball around the defender and found DCL for a diving header. Different from last season, the Blues looked for more after going ahead. They didn’t sit back and defend for their lives. They pushed forward, looking for a third and a fourth. It was quite refreshing, honestly.

The first half may have been rough at times, but as a whole it was a good performance from Everton, resulting in 3 points. The new additions showed what they could do and the team showed a fight and a resilience that we didn’t see at times last season. It may have only been the first game of the season and last year we were probably saying the same thing after beating Tottenham away, but this was a solid opening performance for a team with missing players all over the pitch.