Like Sugar

G’night Richie.

Well, leafing through some bits and pieces on the computer and and what did one find but a match report for a game that got written ages ago but never committed to whatever you commit blog posts to.

It’s not particularly remarkable, but it’s a little piece of history nonetheless, and it goes a little something like this:

Another thriller and another weekend where a ‘spirited’ Blues throw away a lead.

Bournemouth have started the season well and so this was always the sort of away game you would class as ‘tricky’. It was made even harder when Richarlison and Adam Smith had words and stood head to head. The Brazilian too the bait, gave a little shove with his forehead, and the little no-mark made out he’d been nutted and ran to the referee with his grass teammates.

Richarlison was naive, as Marco Silva commented afterwards, but it was proper shithouse behaviour from the Bournemouth players. The referee was a bit fucking keen as well. No one would have complained if he’d told the pair of them to grow up and shown a yellow card. 

But no.

Undeterred, the Toffees, as they did at Wolves, made relatively light work of the sending off. Indeed, shortly after the break they took the lead with what felt like the archetypal Silva team goal. Cenk Tosun, who somehow has the look of a 1970s dad playing footy in his flares on a caravan site, pushed a ball into the path of Theo Walcott who burst from his own half, leaving scorch marks on the turf like Back to the Future, before smashing a shot inside Asmir Begovic’s near post.

Walcott was at the centre of the action again five minutes later when, in more or less the same position, this time latching onto one of Jordan Pickford’s ludicrously accurate long balls, he received a nudge in the back from Smith. Let’s be honest, a yellow would have done again, but Lee Probert went straight for another red.

Things then got even better when a quick free kick released the rejuvenated Gylffi Sigurdsson down the right and his deep cross was met by Michael Keane whose header squirmed under Begovic and into the net.

For all the improvements that we’ve seen already under Silva, there’s still that feel that we are very Everton, and despite the lead and the parity in numbers on the pitch, you were never comfortable. 

Hey presto, on 75 minutes Leighton Baines collided with the back of Callum Wilson as they contested a high ball. Probert pointed straight to the spot. You’ve seen them ones waved away plenty of times – indeed, Match of the Day highlighted one at the other end where Tosun almost had his massive-collared cheesecloth shirt yanked off his back, but to no avail.

You knew what was coming after Josh King scored the penalty. Four minutes later, Wilson got up well to head against Pickford’s far post, and Nathan Ake reacted quickest to force home the loose ball. 

It’s too quick to jump to conclusions, but if we concede many more from set-pieces you can see this ‘becoming a thing’. People love to get hold of something and start a negative narrative, and that’s one you can see developing if we don’t tighten up at corners. 

We’ll be even lighter at the back for at least a month now as well. Keane, who has had a shaky start to his Everton career, didn’t even get to enjoy scoring his first league goal for the Blues. Bravely heading clear as the home side pushed for a winner, he smashed his napper into Idrissa Gueye’s and ended up stretchered off with a fractured skull. 

We’re still unbeaten then, and we continue to get on the front foot and take the game to opponents, home and away. There’s still plenty of room for improvement though. We still seem to have a bit of a soft centre, both fullbacks are lacking a bit of form – Seamus Coleman had another shocker in the first half – and it’s slightly disappointing not to have more points from what was a pretty kind fixture list.

However, there are far more positives than otherwise. Not least is the way the team have reacted on both occasions that they’ve been reduced to ten men. They’ve continued to be positive, get forward and score goals. If they can maintain that attitude then we won’t go far wrong.

Well, it’s good to see that loads has changed since then and that the set-pieces never became a thing. And Richarlison has developed a level of maturity belying his tender years.

No, he hasn’t. We’re messing with you – you remember how this dance goes.

Could anyone but Everton have an expensive, exotic signing come into the club, lead the scoring and yet still manage to get on everyone’s last fucking nerve like Richarlison has? It’s incredible how his pouty little baby dinosaur face can send a whole stadium into paroxysms of fury, with home and away fans screaming for him to ‘fucking get on with it.’

It’s just not Everton. But it really is.

He’s clearly talented; they are not giving away goals in the Premier League – well, we are, obviously, but generally they are rare currency, just ask cheeky Cenk. The temptation, when talking about Richarlison’s attributes, is to also mention that he is a Brazilian international, but then some clever fucker always throws Jo – can’t do the the accent – in your face.

So we won’t.

But he is.

To underline how frustrating Richarlison is, you only have to compare attitudes to him and his countryman, Bernard, the little Osmond brother they don’t like to talk about. He’s widely adored for his work-rate and Preki-like first touch, but he’s only scored the one goal, against Lincoln City. 

So this has now been written in three sittings, with the bit above done after Newcastle but before Chelsea. And in the second half of the latter game Richarlison was excellent – he scored a goal and worked hard, going forward and doing his bit defensively.

The mysterious Yerry Mina also came in to replace Kurt Zouma and was the proverbial rock alongside Michael Keane. His performance was certainly a world away from his kamikaze cameo at St. James Park when every challenge saw him smash onto the scene like Colt Seavers. 

What do you take away from all that then? That it makes no sense trying to make steadfast judgements on players and managers without giving them a bit of time and allowing for the fact that sometimes they will just have an off day? Or that the opposition might be decent? 

Marco Silva took over a team that was deemed so poor the previous season that the owners saw fit to appoint Sam Allardyce, such was their desperation. He’s got to be given the breathing space to actually put his ideas into practice. 

Likewise, young players and fellas coming from foreign leagues need time to get used to the pitiless gladiator school that is the Premier League.

It’s just never as clear cut and black and white as shite websites staffed by absolute virgins would have you believe. You know the ones who collate angry tweets by fans and call it a story? 

‘Right then, Josh. Everton lost at the weekend, could you look for replies to the players tweets – especially ones where some 15-year-old calls the player ‘lad’.’

Fuck off. And take those clowns who do the execrable The Squad on 5Live with you. ‘Social media stars’ – really! – talk with genuine authority about the ‘tactical naivety’ of managers and players lacking ‘positional sense’.

And why oh why oh why does every one of these expected-goals-heatmap wankers always go on about ‘the high press’ regardless of who they are talking about? 

What about other types of press? 

French, perhaps. 

Or maybe the Caxton? 

Marcelo Bielsa can often be heard screaming at his players to ‘Corby Trouser! Corby Trouser!’ by all accounts.

But do they ever talk about that? Do they shite.

Oh my days. It almost makes you long for 606 with David Mellor.




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