Premier League: Game of the Weekend: Watford 2-3 Everton

To tell you the truth there has always been a bit of animosity between Watford and Everton. You could go all the way back to the 1984 FA Cup final when Everton beat Watford 2-0. As the final whistle went the Everton fans started singing ”I guess that’s why they call us the Blues”. This was in reference to Elton John who was part of the board of Watford- he is a long time fan, and his hit song- talk about a sucker punch.

Most recently the teams have clashed off the pitch twice. Firstly when Everton did everything in their power to secure the services of Marco Silva, the then Watford manager (look at how that turned out). Then once Silva had jumped ship he put in a bid for Watford striker Richarlison, and for £40m that was accepted, to say the fans were livid of Everton by now would be an understatement.

Led by club captain Troy Deeney there has been a determination and maybe a little menace behind the clubs action to go and beat Everton, and they have been successful in the last few seasons at doing that. This past weekend looked to be no different, as they cruised into a 2-0 lead, but there would be a sting in the tail for the Hornets.

Not only could this match be considered the game of the weekend in the Premier League, it was also the comeback of the weekend, although Brighton did very well at West Ham coming back from 3-1 down to draw 3-3.

Of all players nobody was expecting Watford defender Adam Masina to open the scoring, but then again this match would turn into a game of defenders. It was Masina’s first goal for the club in his 2 seasons at Vicarage Road. At 1-0 Watford were in control and then there was a crazy 5 minutes where the game swung from huge Watford advantage to no advantage at all.

When Robert Pereyra struck for the home side with three minutes to go of the first half to make it 2-0 the game looked finished. Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti was most upset. Pereyra had just scored his 3rd goal of the season and maybe his most important thus far.

But as Jimmy Greaves once said football is a funny old game and that sentence came to haunt Watford in the name of Yerry Mina, Everton’s defender who had only scored 1 goal for the club previously. Mina struck from a corner in the injury time of the first half, and literally seconds after scoring, he repeated his goal again! All of a sudden the teams went in at half time and the score was 2-2. Everton were jubilant and back in the game, Watford’s players walked off the pitch as if they were losing 3-0.

It’s interesting to note that in the 2nd half whilst the clubs had shared possession the home side had no further shots on goal. When Everton’s Fabian Delph was sent off for a second bookable offence with twenty minutes to go, it felt like the match was going to end in a draw. Certainly playing against ten men did not encourage the Hornets.

But there would be one final cruel twist for Watford, when in the 90th minute Theo Walcott struck the ball home and past the goalkeeper to give Everton all three points. The players were ecstatic as Watford’s ones fell to the ground.

Watford have been very good in the past two months yanking themselves out of bottom place. But they have slumped a little in their last three games and manager Nigel Pearson will have to make it crystal clear to the team that they can’t feel sorry for themselves, they are still very much in the relegation battle.

As for Everton the win moved them past Arsenal and into 9th. What a turnaround it has been for the club since Carlo Ancelotti arrived, from flirting with relegation to possibly finishing in the top half of the table, and what a game of football that was, well, unless you were a Watford fan.

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Premier League: Best 11 Players from the Weekend: Week 25

Liverpool won again and surely they have won the league now because Manchester City lost at Tottenham. The Reds are now an incredible 22 points in front, and no one is going to catch them. The good news for Tottenham’s win is that it reignited their hopes for Champions League football and they have closed the gap on Chelsea who could only draw. West Ham blew a 2 goal lead against Brighton to draw 3-3 and they are now in the relegation zone.

Below is the team of the weekend and their fantasy points, did your players make the cut?

Formation: 4-4-2

Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris- Tottenham 7pts

Whilst a few goalkeepers picked up 7 points due to clean sheets, the nod will go to Hugo Lloris. He made some superb saves against the champions Manchester City especially from Sergio Aguero as Tottenham went on to win the game 2-0 and he kept a clean sheet in the process.

Defender: Yerry Mina- Everton 6pts

Yerry Mina was outstanding even though Everton conceded 2 goals, the defender made amends for that by scoring 2 goals in 60 seconds to bring his team right back into the game against Watford, so he did lose points for conceding goals but also scored two himself.

Defender: Antonio Rudiger- Chelsea 7pts

Antonio Rudiger saved Chelsea’s skins as he scored both of their goals in a 2-2 draw away to Leicester. Obviously he was part of a defence that conceded, but his goals brought home a point at the end of the day and kept Frank Lampard’s side 4th.

Defender: Eric Dier- Tottenham 5pts

Eric Dier has not had many games for Tottenham and to be brought in against the champions Manchester City and keep a clean sheet was very impressive.

Defender: Enda Stevens- Sheffield United 5pts

Enda Stevens has really impressed for Sheffield United and they won again beating Crystal Palace away and keeping a clean sheet that is no mean feat. Stevens has now helped his side keep 9 clean sheets and they have climbed up to 6th place in the league.

Midfielder: Mohamed Salah-Liverpool 10pts

Salah earned a fantastic 10 points as he got on the score sheet yet again as Liverpool easily beat Southampton 4-0 at Anfield. Salah now has 14 goals and 6 assists in another impressive season for him.

Midfielder: Roberto Firmino- Liverpool 8pts

Roberto Firmino just keeps on impressing and the brilliant Brazilian was a nightmare for Southampton to keep in check. He earned 8 points in a season where in the fantasy rankings he has scored 68 points so far.

Midfielder: Jordan Henderson- Liverpool 8pts

It feels like a clean sweep of midfielders for Liverpool and Jordan Henderson is now being favoured to win the player of the year in the Premier League and for good reason. He now has a total of 41 points.

Midfielder: Steven Bergwijn- Tottenham 6pts

What is the best way to start your career at Tottenham, how about scoring a cracking goal at home v Manchester City? And that is what Bergwijn did after his January transfer window, and he earned 6 points for it. He could be one to look out for.

Striker: Robert Snodgrass- West Ham 10pts

Robert Snodgrass scored 2 of West Ham’s goals and earned a huge 10 points but it still wasn’t enough to win West Ham the game as they drew 3-3 with Brighton. The goals have brought Snodgrass to 5 this season.

Striker: Glenn Murray- Brighton 4pts

Apart from Snodgrass the strikers were quiet at the weekend. Heung-Min Son was the other player to earn 4 points, but his goal did take a deflection from Fernandinho so we give this one to Glenn Murray. With the heat on and his side losing 3-2 to West Ham Murray grabbed the equaliser which would have felt like a cup final winner for the striker.

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Premier League Weekend Picks for Matchday 23

Based on form and the fixtures for the new weekend in the Premier League we take a look at the players you should be adding for this weekend and the upcoming fixtures.

Goalkeeper: Bernd Leno- Arsenal

A goalkeeping job is all about clean sheets and Bernd Leno is hardly on top of his game with only 4 clean sheets this season. But the last time Arsenal were at home he kept a clean sheet against Manchester United. The Gunners prefer to play at home and under Mikel Arteta will be focused. They are playing Sheffield United and would be tipped to win and keep the score and defence tight. Leno can be brought in for 8.5m.

Defender; Jetro Willems- Newcastle

Jetro Williems has started the most games in defence for Newcastle and has the most points with 16. Newcastle will play Chelsea at home where the Blues usually have a hard time. It’s their longest trip of the season for example. In all Newcastle have only lost 3 games at home this season, and perhaps they can keep a clean sheet this weekend.

Defender: Lucas Digne- Everton

Lucas Digne has had a solid season for Everton and a really good week. He has been involved in 6 clean sheets this season, two under Carlo Ancelotti already. The club face a test as they are playing West Ham away, but this could be a low scoring game, and Everton could get their tactics right over the Hammers. Digne is only 5.5m to bring into your team and has 20 pts so far.

Defender: Yerry Mina- Everton

It’s as clear as daylight that Yerry Mina has improved as a player since Carlo Ancelotti became manager. His confidence has grown and with it his displays. He could well partner Digne well in their match against West Ham and help the club to a clean sheet.  He is valued at 6m.

Defender: Lewis Dunk- Brighton

Brighton will be at home to Aston Villa two teams in need of a win, and a possible game that could even end 0-0. Lewis Dunk has been Brighton’s best defender so far with 21 pts and has been involved in 5 clean sheet games. Villa have real problems in defence, and not much confidence up front and this being an away game means Dunk and Brighton could well win or draw and keep that important clean sheet. He is valued at 7m.

Midfielder: Theo Walcott- Everton

Theo Walcott’s Everton will play West Ham and Walcott still feels like that London boy when he terrorised West Ham’s defence when playing for Arsenal. He will fancy his chances to provide goals and get forward and could be worth being in your team for this weekend. He hasn’t scored this season yet though but is 7m to bring in.

Midfielder: Bernardo Silva- Manchester City

Bernardo Silva has played a very pivotal role in City’s midfield especially recently and the club are playing excellent football. We have also picked him out as he still looks like a bargain price at 8.5m. City are at home to Crystal Palace at the weekend.

Midfielder: Abdoulaye Doucoure- Watford

Abdoulaye Doucoure has been brilliant in recent weeks for Watford as they have climbed out of the relegation zone. He has become one of the most important players for the club and is scoring goals too. He now has 3 and has assisted in one goal. The Hornets are full of confidence and will take on Tottenham who haven’t always performed so well and Watford will take the comfort they are at home. Doucoure can be brought in for 8m.

Midfielder: James Ward-Prowse- Southampton

James Ward-Prowse is always a handful and currently he has the most points with 21 so far in the Saints midfield. His price looks good value at 7m  and he has been involved in 6 goals so far this season and Southampton are in great form , the club are at home to Wolves.

Striker: Gabriel Jesus- Manchester City

All of the talk at Manchester City is about Sergio Aguero and his goals and that is fair enough. But for value Gabriel Jesus is a good player to bring into your team. He scores goals like last weekend, has 9 so far and assisted in a further 3. And he is 8m.

Striker: Richarlison- Everton

Richarlison is valued at 7.5m and his performances have really picked up in recent times. Everton will be away to a leaky West Ham defence so he could get on the score sheet once again. He has 8 goals so far this season and is no stranger to assisting in goals having done so 3 times this season.

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EPL Best XI – Week 31

nobleThere was only half a round of games in the Premier League this past weekend, what with FA Cup action also going on, and so with just ten teams taking part picking a best XI may be slightly different to usual. Sunday’s action was fun-packed, as Everton raised some eyebrows by beating Chelsea 2-0 at Goodison Park – their first home victory since mid-January – putting a big dent in Chelsea’s top-four ambitions. Liverpool were tested more than many will have been expecting at Craven Cottage, a late James Milner penalty putting them top of the table with a 2-1 win against Fulham. On Saturday, Bournemouth played out a 2-2 draw at home to Newcastle, Leicester won 2-1 at Burnley and West Ham beat Huddersfield in a 4-3 thriller.

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Confidence abound as Everton take on Liverpool

 

Robert Cutts from Bristol, England, UK, The Kop, Anfield, Logos and manager cut-outs added by Sean Lunt, CC BY 2.0

Robert Cutts from Bristol, England, UK, The Kop, Anfield, Logos and manager cut-outs added by Sean Lunt, CC BY 2.0

It’s a rare occurrence that Everton head to Anfield to take on Liverpool full of confidence and belief. History has taught them that is a foolish notion.

In the 52 Premier League games they’ve played at Anfield as they’ve managed nine wins. The last of those came 19 years ago. In their last five league visits, they’ve managed two draws and three defeats. Twice in the last four years, they’ve suffered 4-0 defeats there.

Travelling across Stanley Park has become a regular pilgrimage of misery. Even last year, when Sam Allardyce’s side earned a point, there was little joy to be had. Fans had to endure 90 minutes of watching their side defend deep and scrap for an undeserved point. Wayne Rooney’s penalty offered a moment to celebrate but in reality, there was little to enjoy. Continue reading

EPL Best XI – Leroy Sane leads the way

Leroy Sane

The 13th weekend of the 2018-19 Premier League season saw Manchester City and Liverpool maintain their unbeaten starts, while Chelsea suffered their first defeat of the campaign at the hands of Tottenham. Let’s take a look at the top points scorers from the weekend’s games…

GK: Jonas Lossl, Huddersfield – seven points
Jonas Lossl kept his third clean sheet of the season as Huddersfield won 2-0 away at Wolves on Sunday. The Dane now has 14 points from his last three games.

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Centre back dilemma a welcome one for Everton and Silva

Mina.0

There’s no greater problem for a manager than having too many good players to choose from. For Marco Silva at Everton, that issue is about to raise its head at centre back.

So far this season, consistency has proven key for the Portuguese boss. The strong summer transfer window overseen by Marcel Brands left him with plenty of options, particularly in the heart of his defence.

The arrival of Yerry Mina and Kurt Zouma meant Silva had those pair plus Michael Keane, Mason Holgate and Phil Jagielka to choose from. Fortune, however, forced his hand.

An injury ruled out Mina while a red card left Jagielka on the sidelines. After Zouma got fit and Keane returned from an injury they established themselves as the first choice pairing. Continue reading

What can Everton expect from Mina and Gomes?

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Here we are in the middle of October, and still Everton supporters are yet to see either Yerry Mina or Andre Gomes pull on the shirt.

Injury problems have dogged the two players signed from Barcelona, but the current international break appears to be a blessing.

With the pair almost back to match fitness and having taken part in a behind-closed-doors friendly, the fortnight without a league game is being used wisely in order that they’ll be available for selection for the match against Crystal Palace. Continue reading

Keane and Jagielka prove Everton need change

Watford manager Marco SilvaIt may seem strange to outsiders but of all the signings to arrive at Everton in the transfer window, it was two centre-backs who were the most anticipated.

While Brazilian pair Richarlison and Bernard added much-needed firepower and creativity to a front line that was lacking in both last season, and Lucas Digne answers a question over who will replace Leighton Baines, it was Kurt Zouma and Yerry Mina who were most needed.

Last season proved that the Blues defence was in need of drastic change, particularly in central defence. Michael Keane arrived in a big money move after impressing under Sean Dyche at Burnley.  Continue reading

Deadline Day magic: Assessing Everton’s 2018 transfer window

Yerry Mina

Sometime last week, the transfer window was looking like being something of a disaster for Everton Football Club.

The majority of their work had been reducing the wage bill and moving on those deemed not good enough.

Wayne Rooney was the biggest departure, shipped off to MLS for the final part of his career after a less than glorious one-year return to his boyhood club.

Rooney provided some of the best moments of last season but the boy who up Goodison Park all those years ago was now a man struggling to live up to the standards he had set over his career.

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