Everton bounced back from their Anfield and Old Trafford disappointments to beat Leicester City 4-2 in an enthralling game at Goodison Park.
Tom Davies slotted home after just 30 seconds, making him the joint quickest Premier League goalscorer this season (Lukaku vs Bournemouth). However Everton’s joy was short lived as Islam Slimani levelled just three minutes later.
The turnaround was complete when Marcus Albrighton’s free-kick curled into the top corner, leaving Evertonians in disbelief after a manic opening 10 minutes.
But Ronald Koeman’s men found their composure and were soon level when Romelu Lukaku headed in Ross Barkley’s cross. Phil Jagielka leaped highest just before half-time to put The Toffees back in front from a corner.
And it was from another corner in the second half corner from which Everton sealed victory, Lukaku picking up the pieces at the back post to fire past Kasper Schmeichel. The victory puts Everton level on points with 6th placed Arsenal (although The Gunners have three games in hand) and puts a healthy 10 point distance between themselves and West Brom below them.
Home sweet home
A nightmarish 10 minute spell aside, Everton’s home comforts in the Premier League continued, and much of the feel-good factor surrounding the club is because of their imperious home form.
Especially in 2017. They’ve won at every attempt in L4 in the league since the new year, scoring for fun and being particularly thrifty at the other end.
In fact with their tally of 31 goals, Everton have scored more than any other team in the Premier League in 2017, with 26 of those coming at the Old Lady. Only league leaders Chelsea and the chasing Tottenham have more home wins this season than Everton’s 11.
It’s the kind of form that has traditionally made Goodison such a fortress, and after two miserable campaigns under Roberto Martinez, they now have more goals at Goodison Park in 2017 than they managed in the whole of 2016 at home (25; @EFC_Statto). A damning indictment of the Spaniard’s tenure, but a stat to reassure even the most pessimistic among us ahead of home games under Koeman.
Rom’s home comforts
Another home game, another Lukaku goal. In each of the seven league home games since the start of 2017, the Belgian has gotten himself on the scoresheet (12). And when it comes to history, he appears to be catching a club legend with each goal.
His first half header was his 65th league goal for The Toffees, equal with Tommy Lawton and Jimmy Harris (@stevejohnson95) and his second half strike was his 23rd league goal of the season.
The Belgian certainly likes playing in front of his adoring Evertonians (in 2017 at least, he only managed 3 at home before the new year). There’s plenty of love for the big man from the Gwladys Street and the feeling appeared mutual when he saluted the chants of “Rome-Romelu”. What frustrates even the most infatuated of Evertonians is why they don’t see more goals away from home, against better opposition. A brace or two certainly wouldn’t have gone amiss from recent trips to Anfield and Old Trafford.
Everton have always been relied upon in the Premier League for giving young players an opportunity in the first team, but what’s really pleasing is that some of their current crop are getting in and staying in.
While Matthew Pennington and Mason Holgate have been given their chance due to a plague of injuries in defence and the suspension to Ashley Williams (there’s an argument Holgate should have had more game time by now regardless of injuries), Davies has taken his chance and hung on to it.
The 18 year-old showed composure and skill to take the loose ball in a tight area, shift it onto his weak foot and squeeze it home to give Everton the lead after 30 seconds. And his all-round performance showed -like in most games since Southampton in January- a maturity beyond his years.
A few stray passes and sloppy touches in the second half should not detract from a tireless display which was vital in Everton’s win. Holgate too was his composed self and is starting to look very effective in place of Seamus Coleman.
Pennington’s performance also shouldn’t go without mention. Tied in somewhat of a knot in the first half, felling Jamie Vardy from which Leicester took the lead, the 22 year-old recovered to form an excellent rearguard alongside the magnificent Phil Jagielka.
If there’s one part of the pitch where Everton currently boast an embarassment of riches, it’s in midfield.
Admittedly the Blues looked somewhat short of quality in their previous two games without Morgan Schneiderlin, but when the Frenchman is joined by Gana and Davies, there’s no doubt as to Everton’s best personnel in the middle.
A solid trio, with a snap in the tackle, quality in possession and goals between them; they give the likes of Ross Barkley (who notched his 8th league assist of the season in an impressive display) and Kevin Mirallas a sound basis to go forward and supply Lukaku.
And with the Blues able to rest one of their most vital cogs and replace him with Gareth Barry (with James McCarthy absent with injury), it’s obvious that Koeman’s strength lies in his midfield.
Here’s a brief look at some numbers from the world of Twitter following Everton’s 4-2 victory, which might impress, surprise or disgust you:
- After Marcus Rashford (1334), Tom Davies (1022) and Mason Holgate (270) have the most Premier League minutes under their belts than any other teenager. Ademola Lookman is the next EFC teen in fifth (244)
- Everton in 2017 at home: won 7, scored 26, conceded 5. They’ve scored more goals in just 7 games than they managed in the whole of 2016 at Goodison (25) (@EFC_Statto)
On a goals per game basis Everton have scored more home goals (2.375) than when they last won the title (2.33) in 1987
— James Corbett (@james_corbett) April 9, 2017
With 3 home games still to go Everton’s tally of 38 goals is already their joint best Goodison total since 1990.
— James Corbett (@james_corbett) April 9, 2017
First time there have been 5 goals in the first half of an #EFC game since October 1999 – Everton 4 Leeds 4 at Goodison (half-time:3-2)
— Steve Johnson (@stevejohnson95) April 9, 2017
- The Toffees now have 4,500 goals in all home league games in Everton’s history; but have conceded 6,400 league goals! (@stevejohnson95)
- Lukaku has scored in 8 consecutive home games, making him the first to do so since Fred Pickering in 1965 (@stevejohnson95)