What have the edges of a parking ticket and defensive displays got in common?
If hologram hands Jordan Pickford fulfils the very basic requirements of his job description and prevents Youri Tielemans low shot from crossing the line then this is heralded as yet another tactical masterclass from Carlo Ancelotti.
As it stands though, despite a surge in the last five minutes when the Blues spurned three great chances to grab a wholly undeserved winner, they accepted being outplayed in almost every department by the visitors. There has to be part of you that questions whether that is ever really acceptable at Goodison against any side from the Midlands.
Possibly one positive that can be taken from the match is that Pickford has made Ancelotti’s choice between him and Robin Olsson an easy one. You can’t put what he did here down to ‘confidence’ – there was no time for his lingering guilt from the derby to cloud his judgement – it was just downright bad goalkeeping.
Shite, in fact.
You can say what you want about Brendan Rodgers – and don’t worry, we’re going to – but he’s clearly a good coach. He’s bought well at Leicester and he has them playing great football. Ancelotti’s ploy of sticking with four centre-halves, and Lucas Digne in front of Ben Godfrey – to compensate for the absence of Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure in midfield – on the whole appeared to offer an antidote to their attacking threat though, especially in the first half. What’s more, on half an hour a rare break from the Blues resulted in the sort of inspirational moment that such defensive set-ups need to be successful.
Now there’s something very Ted Baker about Rodgers. He’s the ‘how many more sets have you got left on that, pal?’ fella from the gym who turns up on a night out wearing grey ripped jeans that spoil it for everyone. A garage stacked with too many of everything from Costco and the heating set uncomfortably high. He’s all about the details though and you can imagine he worked tirelessly with his defenders on ‘body shape’ all week, grasping thighs and manipulating hips in a cloying fug of Creed Aventus, to show them how to prevent Everton’s biggest threat, James Rodriguez, from shooting with his left foot.
And it worked, to an extent. The initial move was messier than Cenk Tosun’s pillow, as Rodriguez’s attempted pass towards Richarlison was blocked and he was ushered inside with the loose ball. No one reckoned with the Colombian’s right foot though, a secret weapon carried like a nickel-plated Derringer in his sock, as he bent the ball in off the post from just outside the box.
That was the highlight by far. Godfrey, Michael Keane and Yerry Mina again barely put a foot wrong but they were undone by Pickford’s ridiculous error and then the tired finishing of Richarlison, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Andre Gomes at the very end.
In short then, the sweeping conclusion…
It was a game of football. There’s another one on Saturday.