Fulltime Thoughts - A total team performance in a match that meant so much. Let’s hope this is the new standard, and that it is met consistently. A huge shout-out to the fans as well, who were incredible today.
90+5 - The inevitable is being delayed due to an injury to Hjelde. Full time now, and what a win for the Blues. Backs against the wall and all the pressure on them in a relegation six-pointer, and the crowd drove the players to a huge win. 3-0 the final score.
90’ - OH! Delightful vertical cross into the box from Dele, Rondon volley is surely headed into the goal but Meslier with a great save! The Blues take the corner short to take more of the two-plus minutes off the clock.
86’ - Richarlison coming off reluctantly, who wants to tell him that the goal has been given to Gordon? Salomon Rondon comes on for him.
82’ - Gordon comes off to a huge round of applause, and it’s Anwar El Ghazi making his Everton debut now.
78’ - GOAL!! 3-0 to the Blues!! Allan finds Richarlison outside the box, he cuts to his left and fires off a shot, takes a nick off Gordon’s heel and is in the far post, beating Meslier! Brazilian connection meets Scouse touch.
75’ - Iwobi is booked for ending a Leeds counter with a bad tackle.
73’ - DCL goes off, and Dele Alli come on for him. Two chances immediately, as first Gordon wins the ball from the high press, but no one can get a shot off, and then Dele’s cross is cleared, and Iwobi’s shot is blocked.
70’ - Think DCL needs to go off now. He’s made a couple of poor decisions with the ball now when there were other players in better positions.
Rodrigo with another shot from distance, this one is well over.
65’ - Everton have been happy to let Leeds have the ball and are almost not even pressing until they reach the half line, defending in two compact lines of four.
53’ - Harrison cross cut out by Coleman for a corner. Taken short and the ball is recycled, and eventually Iwobi can steal it away. Tyler Roberts as a focal point upfront has been better for them than Daniel James, who is usually better out wide.
52’ - Blues in a more classic 4-4-2 now, matching the visitors’ 4-1-4-1 to some extent. The hosts look happy to sit back, and they’re not pressing as hard in the opposing half.
50’ - Leeds’ changes are working so far as they are showing more of a threat, deep cross falls to James who has moved out wide, cuts in on his weaker left foot and sends it well over.
46’- Second half underway, and Leeds have made their last two changes with Raphinha and Klich off, Roberts and Forshaw on. Adam Forshaw is a former Blue as well.
Gordon tries a shot from distance, Meslier collects.
Halftime Thoughts - Everton have been good value for their lead, pressing high, harrying their opponents and channeling the crowd’s energy in their own play. However, the threat of Leeds cannot be underestimated, as Rodrigo’s two shots off the bar proved.
45+2’ - Leeds passing well, ball falls to Rodrigo outside the box and he cracks another shot off the woodwork! Wow, no chance for Pickford!
There’s the halftime whistle, Blues leading 2-0.
45’ - Leeds win a corner, taken short then crossed in, and Holgate, Richarlison and van de Beek combine to clear.
DCL holds the ball up well, Richy finds Kenny steaming down the left, and he crosses with his weaker left foot, overcooks it. Two-plus minutes to be added on.
43’ - DVDB -> Iwobi -> DCL shot, Meslier puts it out for a corner. Low from Gordon, cleared.
40’ - The press is working in full effect! Gordon loses the ball and then wins it back and beats his man to put in a great cross, deflected and falls to an unmarked Richarlison, his shot is blocked by the sub Hjelde for a corner. This one is overhit.
37’ - Gordon still full of running. Is fouled, and then pops up with a great cross from the right that whistles through the box with no one close to it.
Van de Beek’s pressing wins the ball in the attacking third, Richy sets up Iwobi for a shot, just wide of the post.
33’ - Leeds are slowly working themselves back into the game, but the crowd haven’t flagged and Everton are matching their workrate.
27’ - Now Gordon has another shot, low and straight at Meslier.
Leeds win a corner, Richarlison follows Rodrigo who tries to pull a Buendia by nipping forward and heads clear. Richy now chases his clearance and is hauled down by Daniel James as he is almost away, clear booking.
25’ - Holgate bravely heads a ball in the box and catches Ayling’s boot in the head. He’s been very good so far.
23’ - Richarlison’s nagging pressure on the backline wins Everton a corner. Gordon outswinger from the right.. GOAL!! A fantastic header from Michael Keane, breaking out of a bunch formation and Meslier has no chance! 2-0 to the Blues!
20’ - Richy tries to get to a back pass and is in an ugly collision, gets up limping but should be okay.
19’ - Leeds’ first spell of possession ends up in two chances. First James nips into the box but Holgate goes to ground and does very well to cut it out for Pickford to gather. Then the goalie is sold short and his clearance falls to Rodrigo, and his volley beats the goalie and comes off the the top of the bar! Whew.
10’ - GOALLLLLLLLLL. EVERTON POURING FORWARD AND GET THE GOAL! A beautiful passing move that involves, DCL, DVDB, a cross into the box that is cut out ahead of DCL and no one but the captain Seamus Coleman powering forward to head home bravely to make it 1-0, Goodison goes wild!
Just before the goal we had a great cross-field ball from Keane to find Kenny, his cross was just higher than DCL’s jump.
9’ - Stuart Dallas has gone off injured early on, and is replaced by Hjelde.
7’ - I take that back, this is a bit of an interesting formation because it looks like a 4-4-2 out of possession with Kenny at left back, but with the ball he’s pushing forward and it becomes a back three.
4’ - Everton have started with the heat that the fans are bringing, loving it! They’ve lined up in a 3-4-3, with Kenny at left wingback and Iwobi at right wingback.
As the commentators have noted, Leeds have changed from their 4-2-3-1 to match Everton’s formation immediately. Now Gordon has a shot from distance, straight at Ilan Meslier.
2’ - OH MY GOD! A great chance for Anthony Gordon wide open in front of goal, and Luke Ayling gets a foot in to prevent a shot, argh. The Blues pass the ball beautifully and Dominic Calvert-Lewin finds him rushing into space, but the youngster scuffed his shot.
1’ - And we’re off, COYB!
Here we go. It’s a loud Goodison Park as the fans have heeded the call to bring flags, banners and most importantly, their unconditional support. The Toffees are low on confidence, but let’s see if the packed crowd can push them to a much-needed win today. The air-raid siren preceding Z-Cars was met with its customary full-throated roar and now to the action.
Frank Lampard has made some changes, looks like a 4-3-3 with Jonjoe Kenny, Donny van de Beek and Alex Iwobi all starting. Bielsa's Leeds are unchanged from their midweek draw.
Marcelo names an unchanged side, from the one that drew 3-3 with Villa pic.twitter.com/PvhdniJHec— Leeds United (@LUFC) February 12, 2022
There is no more time for waffling about. The very existence of Everton Football Club is under threat as the possibility of relegation has now not only steadily crept up in the rear view mirror, its dark shadow is looming large over Goodison Park. It is under that ominous spectre that the Toffees host Leeds United, who themselves are fighting for their own survival as well.
Frank Lampard will be very grateful that the Blues added bodies in the January transfer window even as injuries have continued to mount, but it’s down to bare bones in the middle of defence now and he’s going to need some kind of magic wand to mold the still-standing players into the sort of cohesive unit that will repel Premier League attacks.
It’s looking like his best bet though will be to outscore opponents with the wealth of midfield and attacking talent at his disposal, but first he’s going to have to repair the players’ damaged psyche as they continue to plumb new depths every game. The fans have taken it upon themselves to boost the morale of the team, and today’s game should be a apt demonstration of that as they show up in numbers, voices ringing and flags waving. It’s upon the team now to take that added push and rise up above the mire they now find themselves in.
Competition: Premier League Matchday 22
Date and start time: Saturday, February 12th at 7:00 a.m. PT / 10:00 a.m ET / 3:00 p.m. BST
Weather: 47°F/8°C, showers, 79% chance of precipitation, 18 mph winds
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The last time the Blues played Leeds was earlier this season at Elland Road, with the game ending 2-2 in an end-to-end thriller, Dominic Calvert Lewin from the spot and Demarai Gray getting the goals. The last time the two sides met at Goodison Park was early in the 2020-21 season behind closed doors, with the visitors nicking a 1-0 win.