Fulltime Thoughts - It wasn’t pretty at times, but Everton did enough to get a goal, and much more impressively, shut down Leeds vaunted mobile attack. They didn’t give up any dangerous counter-attacks, dealt with the setpieces and in general played well enough to deserve to win.
Just to highlight Everton's goalscoring issues: our starting XI today have scored a grand total of 15 league goals since the start of 2022.— Royal Blue Mersey #AllTogetherNow (@RBMersey) February 18, 2023
Coady 3 (inc. one against Everton)
Maupay 2#EFC #EVELEE
90+4’ - Oh McNeil. Meslier with a poor kick straight to the former Burnley player, and instead of playing Simms in he dallies and loses the ball!
Now Leeds lose the ball again and Davies shoots, blocked, falls to Gana and he just hits it wide. There’s the final whistle!! Everton win!!
90+2’ - Two of those minutes have gone, and Simms is doing really well using his bulk holding up the ball.
90’ - There will be four-plus minutes added on.
89’ - WASTED CHANCE! Simms holds the ball up and then plays Doucoure through into acres of space all on his own. The midfielder bizarrely chooses not to shoot and it allows Leeds to recover and smother the opportunity, that was really poor and a second goal would have really settled Goodison down.
85’ - Iwobi wins a freekick deep down the right. McNeil inswinger is taken by Meslier. Now Leeds are in the Blues half, and Gueye’s pass to Davies puts him under pressure, and Leeds win a corner on the Blues left. Greenwood comes on for Harrison and takes the corner that the Blues can hoof clear.
80’ - Now Tarky brings down Bamford from a more central position. Harrison overcooks it again to Goodison Park’s relief.
Dyche makes his second change, and it’s Maupay going off for Ellis Simms. Big opportunity for the young man.
78’ - Gueye concedes a freekick in what can be a dangerous position. Harrison’s overhits it and it goes out for a goalkick. Another change for the visitors, with Rutter on for USMNT midfielder McKennie. It is a forward on for a midfielder, can Everton take advantage?
73’ - Onana is down again, and will be leaving the game, with Tom Davies coming on for him.
68’ - Corner from the right, and it’s Tarky making a move to the front post, but heads it over. That was another chance.
65’ - GOAL!! OUT OF ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!! Coleman runs onto a deep ball from Iwobi and looks like he’s going to cross the ball, but there’s not a single Everton player in the box and the veteran fullback shoots into a wide open net as Meslier has completely lost his sense of positioning.
63’ - Everton counter and Myko dances away past McKennie, has a give and go with Onana, and can shoot with his left from inside the box, but there’s no power and it’s right as Meslier.
61’ - The first change at the hour mark is by Leeds, with Aaronson coming on for Summerville.
57’ - Maupay gets the ball with his back to goal, turns and shoots but can’t put enough heat on the ball and Meslier gathers.
This is just end-to-end football right now, and neither side can get a decisive pass or shot off.
54’ - A Harrison cross goes through a crowded box and no one from either side can get a touch on it.
Everton freekick, poor delivery from McNeil and Leeds can break, but a poor pass allows Gueye to break it up, the Blues were in trouble there, the Reds punished them twice like that.
50’ - Iwobi cross overhit, McNeil volleys it back across goal and it’s just beyond Maupay, argh.
Halftime Thoughts - The Blues have created plenty of openings, from crosses and from setpieces, but are just not getting that firm decisive hit that sees the ball in the net. They’ve defended Leeds well, not giving them much space and have kept a relatively low line to prevent getting caught out by pace.
45+2’ - There’s the halftime whistle after Leeds head a cross over the bar. Interesting first half that.
45’ - Play finally resumes and the ref will only add two more minutes for the extra-curricular activities, strangely enough.
42’ - McNeil and Adams get in a tangle, and the USMNT midfielder takes the shoving a bit too far and pushes the Everton player into the hoardings. Lots of argy-bargy and pushing, Gnonto and Meslier have lost their minds too it looks like holding back Doucoure, and the Everton players are giving as good as they are getting too. Ref Andy Madley has the yellow card out, shows it to Adams and McNeil in the end. McKennie and Doucoure have also been booked, and VAR decides no more action is needed.
40’ - McNeil gets behind the Leeds backline on the right, cross through the six-yard box and again no one there to tap home, it’s another corner. Iwobi’s corner is cleared by Meslier and the chance is wasted.
37’ - Poor cross from Iwobi but gets lucky and wins a corner. McNeil to take, Tarkowski gets his head to it and Meslier slaps it away for another corner, goodness how many chances!!
Iwobi from the other side, Meslier is boxed in again and Onana gets to it, but can’t make decisive contact, goalkick. The Toffees have let way too many chances go begging here.
31’ - Leeds chance on the counter now as the Blues are struggling to clear their lines, and Bamford places the ball just wide of Pickford’s far post.
Now Doucoure wins a corner on the right. Ball ping-pongs about in the box, neither team can get a decisive touch. Maupay flicks a header goalbound and cleared off the line! That was the chance.
30’ - Interesting what Everton are doing here. McNeil has come over to the right along with Iwobi, and that man advantage helps the Blues keep the ball on that side.
Now Gueye strides forward and is suddenly in space on the right, his cut back is between two blue shirts and Onana tries a shot from outside the box, puts it over. Good sequence of play there.
26’ - Onana looks uncomfortable and is sitting down. This is not good for the Blues. The physio has talked to him and the youngster has walked off the pitch, not sure what’s going on.
22’ - Delightful cross finally from McNeil, skims through the six-ayrd box and no one there to get a touch on it!!
Now Gueye wins a freekick on the right, on the edge of the forward third. Need a good delivery here. McNeil’s freekick is too low and cleared. Another wayward ball and Leeds can relieve the pressure, the wind is definitely a factor here.
20’ - McNeil has been atrocious so far, losing the ball easily or crossing to no one knows who.
Chance for the Blues! Onana and Meslier get in a tangle for the ball in the air, the ball falls kindly for the Blues with the goalie out of position, but McNeil tries to pass instead of shooting and Leeds can clear!! Come on!!
19’ - Decent spell of possession this as Everton are getting the ball in the Leeds half and trying to swing crosses in, but Meslier has been good in the air so far. The crossing has not been ideal, to be fair.
15’ - As expected, possession even early on here. Everton are using the long ball quite effectively to get the ball in the opposing half.
11’ - Mykolenko bursts into the box and then goes down as Adams barges into him, no penalty. The Blues do win a corner from that though, and Iwobi will take the inswinger. Right into the middle of the box and Meslier takes it well.
9’ - Leeds turning the screws in possession, but Everton do manage to scramble it away, but the ball won’t go as they are playing into the wind.
5’ - Long ball to Maupay, he heads it down for Onana who can stride on with the ball.. decides to shoot and it’s an awful attempt going nowhere.
4’ - Leeds win an early corner, taken short and put out by Coady on the other side for another one. This one is low and cleared for a throw which eventually comes to Pickford.
1’ - Underway!
We have a minute’s applause in memory of former Everton player Christian Atsu, who has been missing in the earthquakes that hit parts of Turkey and Syria. His body was found yesterday in the debris of his apartment building yesterday.
Starting lineups are out and Sean Dyche has surprisingly kept the backline and midfield intact, with Neal Maupay starting and Demarai Gray on the bench.
Everton take on Leeds United in a key clash today that will not determine who gets relegated and who doesn’t, but will certainly go a long way towards establishing who will have the upper hand in the battle of two teams who let go of their managers midseason.
In all honesty, most Evertonians would have settled for no points from new manager Sean Dyche’s first two games in charge of the Blues against Arsenal and Liverpool. That the Blues eked out a win against then-league leaders the Gunners is a complete bonus, but it was always going to be all about the next two games that would make all the difference - Leeds and Aston Villa at home.
Leeds are yet to announce a new permanent manager after cutting ties with Jesse Marsch — aka Yank Lampard — with caretaker manager Michael Skubala shepherding the team through a tricky phase including a pair of tricky games against Manchester United.
Competition: Premier League Matchweek 23
Date and start time: Saturday, February 18th at 7:00 a.m. PT / 10:00 a.m ET / 3:00 p.m. BST
Weather: 51°F/11°C, cloudy, 12% chance of precipitation, 16 mph winds
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The Blues win at Goodison against Leeds United was one of the finer results of Frank Lampard’s short-lived reign at the Toffees with the Blues sweeping their visitors aside 3-0 just over a year to this weekend. The Toffees would go on to get a hard-earned 1-1 draw at Elland Road to eventually finish the 2021-22 season just ahead of Leeds.