Fulltime Thoughts - Rafa Benitez should be proud of this Everton comeback in the second half, Whatever he said in the dressing room seems to have worked as the Blues were fired up and hungry, and roared on by the Goodison crowd ensured all three points.
90+3’ - There’s the final whistle, a big comeback win to start the season for Rafa’s Toffees!
89’ - Richarlison comes off to a huge roar and a round of applause, Anthony Gordon on for him.
87’ - Saints win a freekick in a dangerous area and DCL heads it out for a corner. Blues can break from the clearance, Iwobi goes out too wide and his shot is tame and controlled well by McCarthy.
84’ - Everton still pushing, and now DCL has a pop at goal, wide.
82’ - Yerry Mina is on for Gray to shore things up.
80’ - 3-1!!! Richy streaks off on the right and his dipping cross is headed home bravely by Calvert-Lewin. He dived low and long and the power in that was enough to go through McCarthy.
76’ - Everton win a freekick on the right, Doucoure takes a quick freekick out to Coleman, and it comes back to the midfielder OH MY WORD!!! Doucoure turns his man and hammers home top right corner with no chance for the goalie, kisses the inside of the post as the Blues go up 2-1!!
75’ - Low cross from the right and Iwobi can score.. misses the ball! Digne can cross from the other side, McCarthy collects.
70’ - Townsend wins a wily freekick closer to the box, takes it himself and it’s cleared. That will be his last contribution as Alex Iwobi comes on for him.
Djenepo wins another corner off Coleman. JWP again.. low and obly partially cleared before an overhead kick attempt bounces to Pickford.
68’ - Coleman and Townsend outfoxed by Djenepo by Keane cuts out his cross. Ward-Prowse corner, cleared by Richarlison who wins a freekick after nutmegging the Saints captain.
66’ - Townsend wins a freekick that he takes himself, too close to the goalie. Saints break, and in true box-to-box midfielder fashion, Doucoure is the last man back to cut out a cross before charging forward to join an attack in the next play.
63’ - Saints now putting pressure on as they win another corner. Ward-Prowse.. to the far post and partly cleared, Saints win another corner.
Ward-Prowse again in front of the away fans.. this time Pickford gathers at the second time of asking.
60’ - Allan blocks a cross for a Ward-Prowse corner.. Pickford punches clear under pressure from inside the six-yard box.
Gray goes screaming down the left and tries to find DCL with a cross, but it’s too close to the goalie.
55’ - Everton win another corner on the left, this one is cleared as well.
Now Gray tries down the left and thinks he has a corner, but the ref says goalkick. The Blues are absolutely buzzing right now.
50’ - Another corner for the Blues. Digne takes, cleared by Djenepo for another corner. McCarthy punches clear Everton’s fourth corner in five minutes.
Digne stays up and has a chance to cross, Richy lets it go through his legs and Keane (!!) has a chance to shoot, DCL gets a boot on it but the goalie falls on the ball. Wow, Benitez must have had quite a bit to say at the break.
47’ - Everton win another corner after a mishit clearance. Digne’s corner is cleared, Townsend heads it back into the box and RICHARLISON REACTS QUICKEST TO STAB HOME!! 1-1 early on!!
46’ - Underway and Richy wins an early corner on the left. Digne takes, low and cleared.
Halftime Thoughts - The Blues have not been bad, make no mistake. Slow on the ball and allowing the Saints pressure to get to them, but have not done enough to pass quickly like Rafa has been preaching from day one.
45’ - Just the one minute added on. A smattering of boos as the halftime whistle sounds.
43’ - Everton corner on the right. Townsend with his left, McCarthy punches clear, Digne tries a shot from distance and well over. Richarlison complaining that his shirt was getting tugged but the ref is not interested.
41’ - Coleman with a terrible miskick and allows Armstrong to have a pop at goal, Pickford beats it away for a corner. Ward-Prowse inswinger.. low and cleared again.
37’ - Keane might have to go off here, a bundle of nerves. Almost conceded an own goal there if it wasn’t for Pickford’s quicker reactions.
Holgate clears a cross for a corner, Ward-Prowse outswinger.. low and cleared.
34’ - DCL wins a freekick in a great spot on the right, just outside the box. Digne takes, off the wall and cleared, then Keane is almost caught out again passing the ball back to Pickford. Yeesh.
Townsend with another cross into the box, a bit too high for DCL and heads wide again.
30’ - Richarlison finally gets the beating of Livramento, goes down in the box a bit too easily and the ref gives him a yellow card. Whoa.
28’ - Southampton have looked very comfortable after the goal keeping the Blues at bay.
22’ - Horrible error, Southampton lead. Adam Armstrong, signed days ago from Blackburn Rovers puts the Saints ahead. Michael Keane dawdles on the ball, Che Adams nips in and gets the ball and feeds Armstrong who is one-on-one with Pickford, puts in the top corner. Disaster, Blues down 1-0.
21’ - Everton win a freekick in the middle, goes out to Andros Townsend on the right, and he zips in a low cross with velocity into the box, McCarthy just gets to it before Richarlison!
19’ - Awful clearance from Seamus Coleman allows a Saints run into the box, luckily the last cross cannot pick out a red and white shirt.
17’ - End-to-end here. Delicious cross from Richarlison through the six-yard box, and DCL is just a second late sliding in, ooh. Both sides had launched and killed quick counters before that.
15’ - Late challenge from Allan as Saints look to break. The ref has a word with the midfielder, no yellow card.
14’ - Good spell of possession for Saints here. Their 4-2-2-2 can be dangerous at times with their quick passing.
10’ - Gray gets free on the right and swings in an inviting cross, Dominic Calvert-Lewin rises highest but then heads over. Good chance.
5’ - Doucoure concedes a cheap freekick out on the Everton right. James Ward-Prowse will hook it in.. Saints player heads it on and well over.
3’ - Allan shot! Straight at Alex McCarthy and he gathers gratefully. The ball fell kindly for the midfielder outside the box. Demarai Gray in the #10 role has looked lively early.
2’ - Jordan Pickford with an early hoofed clearance, better get those out the way early.
1’ - Underway at Goodison! We’ve missed this roar so much!!
The lineups are out, and it’s James Rodriguez, Ben Godfrey, Andre Gomes, Moise Kean and Jean-Philippe Gbamin all on isolation protocol it looks like.
Toffees - Pickford; Coleman, Holgate, Keane, Digne; Allan, Doucoure; Townsend, Richarlison, Gray; Calvert-Lewin
Subs: Begovic, Kenny, Delph, Mina, Iwobi, Gordon, Davies, Branthwaite, Broadhead
Saints - McCarthy, Livramento, Stephens, Salisu, Perrauo, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Walcott, Djenepo, Adams, A Armstrong
Subs: Forster, Benarek, Walker-Peters, Valery, Diallo, S Armstrong, Tella, Elyounoussi, Redmond
Everton start the 2021-22 season in quite some disarray. Barely 12 weeks after the last campaign ended and Carlo Ancelotti surprisingly left his post, the Blues are back on the pitch with pretty much the same squad, a couple of cheaply-obtained reinforcements notwithstanding, and another veteran manager in Rafa Benitez on the touchline.
Preparations for this season opener at home against Southampton have been further disrupted with the news that James Rodriguez and four other unnamed players will miss the game after falling foul of the COVID isolation protocols. If it weren’t for Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin being back there would be genuine concerns about how the Blues would even get a shot on frame, let alone any goals.
Optimism is in short supply at Goodison Park to begin this season, and opponents Southampton will be looking to take advantage of the Toffees despite the fact that they should be roared on by a full home crowd for the first time since the pandemic struck.
Competition: Premier League Matchday 1
Date and start time: Saturday, August 14th at 7:00 a.m. PT / 10:00 a.m ET / 3:00 p.m. BST
Weather: 62°F/17°C, cloudy, 24% chance of precipitation, 9 mph winds
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Gamethread: Live blog above starting one hour before game time
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The Toffees had prevailed 1-0 in March behind closed doors at Goodison in March of this year, with Richarlison nabbing the winner.