5 Things We Learnt: Everton 1-0 Cardiff City
1. Another three points and clean sheet at Goodison Park..
Everton win at home- again. “Fortress Goodison” as left-back Lucas Digne often refers to it on his Instagram (usually followed by a few emojis) has reemerged as a difficult atmosphere for opposition teams to come and play. Yes, the Blues home record was never really that bad last season- but the melancholy atmosphere following the days of Sam Allardyce has changed to one of optimism and unity.
The loss to West Ham back in September seems to be well in the rear-view mirror of the players too- its their only loss in the last ten league games at Goodison. A clean sheet a week before the Merseyside derby should bode well for Jordan Pickford and his backline too.
2. The Andre Gomes Show..
I’ll let the stats speak for themselves:
Successful passes: 49
Successful passes in the final third: 13
Pass accuracy: 86%
Aerial duels won: 5
Successful dribbles: 4
Successful tackles: 2
The Portuguese internationals best performance by far since signing on loan for Everton.
3. Sigurdsson with another match-winning contribution..
After an hour of being goaded as a “Jack bastard” by the traveling supporters whenever he found himself on the ball, it was only right that former Swansea City talisman Gylfi Sigurdsson would score the match winner against the old Welsh enemy,
He is very much turning into Everton’s talisman too. There are many factors to this (which I’ll cover in a separate piece later this week) but with Idrissa Gueye and Andre Gomes behind him, Sigurdsson looks a dangerous, dangerous player to contend with. Admittedly, the Cardiff game wasn’t his best performance when compared to others. However, having one cleared off the line earlier in the game only to go on to score the winner points to a newfound mentality in the Icelandic player of the year. Good work Gylfi.
4. Yerry Mina is showing great promise during his start to life in the Premier League..
As is the case with many South American defenders that cross English shores (Ramiro Funes Mori, Marcus Rojo, David Luiz). The ability to adapt to the more physical demands of the English game and play out from the back against better quality of opposition is often scrutinised.
Some succeed more than others, some still show the flaws in their game despite the years of experience (see David Luiz vs Tottenham this weekend gone). Yerry Mina looks calm, collected, and also ready to stand his ground as demonstrated by his amusing confrontation with Callum Paterson. The manager’s decision to keep Kurt Zouma out of the starting 11 was justified by Mina’s performance alongside Micheal Keane, and things look like they’re only going to get better.
5. Food for thought ahead of Sunday’s derby..
Liverpool look to be in rich goalscoring form following their 3-0 victory at Vicarage Road despite not performing to the lofty heights of last season. The option to implement a back three may come in handy when containing their well coveted attack.
As far as Everton’s attack is concerned, a clinical edge was missing during the Cardiff game, 71% possession, 16 attempts and just one goal may be cause for concern with the trip over to Stanley Park looming. However, Everton should be confident they can hack this Liverpool side, who play French champions Paris midweek in the Champions League.
Wether its Bernard, Richarlison and Walcott or Richarlison, Tosun and Lookman. The tactical flexibility of Everton may be a deciding factor if they are to break the 19 year Anfield hoodoo.