Fulltime Thoughts - At the end of the day, Lampard set Everton up not to lose, and gained a point. The downside of course is that the Blues could have separated themselves from Leeds and Burnley and still haven’t done that.
90+4’ - Myko wins a corner on the other side now. Thirteenth time, unlucky too, as Gordon overhits it, there’s the final whistle and Watford get their first home clean sheet of the season.
90+2’ - Ugh, Iwobi gives away a foul near the right corner flag. Freekick into the box, Cathcart almost connects with it, loops into the air and Pickford collects.
Everton counter and Gordon’s cross cut out for a corner. He’ll take it himself from the right, headed away.
90’ - There will be about four minutes added on here.
88’ - Ball into the box from Gordon, Doucs and Richy can’t control, it falls to Myko who shoots weakly and Foster collects.
86’ - More second tick by as Everton are unable to make any real inroads here.
82’ - DCL wins a header, ball comes to Iwobi in space, he finds the diagonal run of Doucoure but there’s no power in his snapshot and it’s saved easily.
79’ - Gordon goes over Messina’s foot and wins a freekick on the right side. Take it himself, too close to the goalie, Foster collects and starts off a quick counter. Myko does brilliantly putting off Kalu and it goes out for a goalkick.
Allan the next change, on for Delph who has played very well again.
74’ - Sharp counter from the Blues, but Richarlison is offside. Dominic Calvert-Lewin will be the first change for Lampard, coming on for Gray.
70’ - Iwobi wins Everton’s eleventh corner of the game, taken by Gray, and cleared again.
68’ - Big meaty sliding challenge from Fabian Delph, wins the ball cleanly and Gray in shooting position, well over.
Brilliant turn from Richy and his cross through the six-yard box is just past the onrushing Gordon.
65’ - Gray and Iwobi combine well on the right, corner. Gray puts it into the box, Keane gets his head to it but little power and Foster collects.
Mike Dean continuing to prove why he’s barely qualified to be a crossing guard, much less a Premier League referee. Seamus Coleman pulls out of a challenge, and is booked for the collision with Gosling.
Richarlison flicks the freekick on for a corner, Watford’s first of the game. It’s overhit and poor, sighs of relief from the Blues.
62’ - CHANCE! Iwobi wins a ball in the middle, finds Gray who plays him into space. Cross back to Gray is met delicately and goes just wide of the far post, that was close, and much better from the Blues who are playing a bit more directly now.
60’ - Still 0-0 at Vicarage Road, better news from Elland Road where Chelsea have scored again, now lead ten-man Leeds 2-0. Replica of what happened with Leeds over the weekend at Arsenal.
57’ - Good sequence of possession sees Myko win a corner on the left. Gray takes it this time, skims into the box and it comes off a Watford head, corner on the other side.
Gray again, Hornets clear again, Delph shot blocked. Gray crosses back into the box, Keane nudges it goalwards and blocked for another corner.
Deep this time, Holgate heads it back into the six-yard box but the home side can clear.
53’ - Chance! Iwobi throw-in finds Richy who turns and shoots, ball goes off Kabasele’s foot and Foster paws it away for a corner. Corner is not great and cleared away.
51’ - Kalu goes over cheaply just outside the box under Keane’s attentions and Dean incredibly blows for a freekick. Danger for the Blues here as the ball comes into the box, off Sissoko’s head and well wide.
49’ - Joao Pedro breaks free behind the Everton backline onto a through-ball, Pickford off his line smartly to clear the danger.
46’ - The second half is underway as Darude’s ‘Sandstorm’ blares out on the tannoy to try wake everyone up, especially the players.
Early corner for the Blues, taken short and completely wasted.
Halftime Thoughts - Everton have settled in after a very nervy start, but have not done enough with the ball while they continue to sit in their conservative 5-4-1.
45’ - There’s the halftime whistle as Mike Dean doesn’t add any time, still 0-0 at Vicarage Road.
44’ - Ugh, Iwobi gives away a needless freekick from a dangerous position on the Everton right now. Kalu lifts it over the wall and over the bar, Pickford had that covered.
42’ - Ngakia nutmegs Myko who catches his foot, and Watford have a freekick from a great position. Myko gets his head to the freekick, it falls to former Everton player Dan Gosling just outside the box who hits it first time and shouldn’t have bothered.
The last time the Hornets scored from outside the box, it was from the foot of ‘magic’ Gerard Deulofeu back in 2019.
38’ - Counter is on and Richy does get a foul this time, Mike Dean blowing for a foul on Sissoko from the right corner of the box. Gray puts it into the box, partly cleared, and Abdoulaye Doucoure tries to head it over Ben Foster but can’t get enough power on his header.
35’ - Richy heads down a high ball from Pickford to Gray, he finds Myko in space and the Blues have their fourth corner. Gordon inswinger is deep and cleared.
28’ - Richy goes down on the edge of the box, but Mike Dean wants nothing to do with it. The Brazilian hasn’t gotten much from the ref.
26’ - Gordon and Gray keep switching wings, can’t say if it’s a good thing or a bad one right now.
23’ - Richy finds Iwobi driving down the right with a perfect ball, his cross is blocked for a corner. Gray will take it, headed clear, falls to Vitalii Mykolenko who doesn’t hit it as sweetly as he did against Leicester City and it’s cleared.
20’ - Pickford finds Gordon on a break but a misplaced pass ends that.
Meanwhile at Elland Road Daniel James has been sent off for Leeds, who are a man and a goal down.
18’ - COME ON MIKE DEAN?! Mason Holgate slides in and stops Sema, winning the ball too and somehow between the assistant ref and the ref they decide that’s a yellow card and a freekick. Ridiculous.
15’ - Delightful turn and run from Anthony Gordon on the right touchline and Everton have a man-advantage in the box, but he can’t deliver and wins a corner instead.
Corner won by Michael Keane, headed down and Richarlison’s shot blocked for another corner. Gordon takes, and this time Watford clear.
14’ - Better from the Blues for the last couple of minutes, they finally look like they’ve woken from their deep slumber. Still sitting in their ‘safe’ 5-4-1 with Alex Iwobi at right wingback.
10’ - Blues cannot keep hold of the ball but with their first concerted attack Demarai Gray’s shot is blocked.
Good news from Elland Road though where Chelsea lead Leeds United early on.
8’ - The travelling support was very vocal before the game, but they have been pretty quiet since as the players look very very nervous.
4’ - Watford looking very comfortable and free on the ball, Everton committing some poor turnovers in their own half.
1’ - Underway at Vicarage Road, it’s a nervy start for the Blues here.
The lineups are out and Frank Lampard has named a full strength side, taking no chances here. Expecting us to line up in the 4-3-3 with the same personnel grouping, doubt we sit back in a 5-4-1 when we’re expected to have more possession today.
Everton have won two games on the bounce and have seen themselves surge out of the relegation zone, but with just a few matches left to play this season, safety is yet to be mathematically guaranteed for the Blues.
Norwich City and today’s opponents Watford FC have both already been relegated, leaving three teams in direct danger of falling into the last spot. Leeds United and Burnley are both sitting at 34 points with three games to play, while Everton have 35 with a game in hand over the pair. Theoretically, Southampton, Leicester City and Newcastle are also still in the relegation race, but it will need a monumental turnaround in fortunes to see them dragged down.
Which brings us back to today’s game. This should be the ‘easiest’ of the four games left in the Toffees’ schedule, against an opponent that could likely be demoralized by already having gone down, with at least ten first team players out injured or ill, and a manager that the fans are pretty livid at after some admittedly odd behaviour from Roy Hodsgon away at his former side Crystal Palace last weekend.
The eternal pessimist in us knows this is exactly the kind of game Everton tend to slip, trip and fall on their faces, as they have done so many times over the years. So the big test for the Blues and Frank Lampard today is to see if they can not let that happen again and sustain the intensity with which they have played the last few games. The fans certainly will be there like they have been the last few games - it sounds like we might have 7,000-plus supporters at Watford with Vicarage Road only holding about 21,500.
Competition: Premier League Matchday 35
Date and start time: Wednesday, May 11th at 11:45 a.m. PT / 2:45 p.m ET / 7:45 p.m. BST
Stadium: Vicarage Road, Watford, England, United Kingdom
Weather: 57°F/14°C, clear, 7% chance of precipitation, 9 mph winds
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The last time the two sides played, Everton were leading at home 2-1 with about twelve-odd minutes to play. And then everything went wrong. Watford suddenly started stroking the ball around and Everton were left chasing their tails at Goodison Park, ending up losing in humiliating fashion 5-2. Hopefully that embarrassment is still fresh in their minds today.
Everton were last at Vicarage Road in February 2020 just before the COVID pandemic hit, and made an epic comeback from two down, with Yerry Mina notching a brace and Theo Walcott grabbing a memorable winner late on, the Toffees first win from being behind at halftime in many years.