Everton secured their first victory under caretaker manager David Unsworth in dramatic fashion as Watford’s Tom Cleverley missed a 100th minute penalty to hand them a vital three points on Sunday.
After a first-half devoid of any quality the game suddenly burst into life when Richarlison and Christian Kabasele gave the visitors a healthy two-goal advantage either side of a nasty injury to goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, who had to be withdrawn on the hour after a lengthy stoppage.
It was an error from his replacement Orestis Karnezis, making his Everton debut, which allowed the hosts a sniff after he rushed out of his area, only for Oumar Niasse to run past and fumble the ball in.
A remarkable second-half showed no signs of letting up either, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin rising to head home from a corner to pull things level and give the hosts hope of going in search of a winner.
That is exactly what they did in the first minute of injury time, with Leighton Baines firing home from the spot after Aaran Lennon was unceremoniously brought down in the area by Jose Holebas.
However, the drama wasn’t done there and Watford had the chance to earn a late, late point in the 100th minute with a penalty of their own, only to see ex-Toffee Cleverley drag his effort wide of the post.
The result signalled Everton’s first win in nine games in all competitions, lifting them up into 15th in the Premier League table, whilst Watford were subjected to their third successive top-flight defeat.
Everton show signs of resolve in comeback win
When Watford opened-up their two-goal advantage over Everton with less than half an hour to go, there wouldn’t have been many home supporters that could have anticipated what would happen next.
It certainly hasn’t been the best of times for the Toffees in recent weeks, getting booted out of the Europa League and struggling to find any sort of form in the Premier League as they look to move away from any relegation trouble, and it felt like a disappointing sense of déjà vu after 64 minutes.
But David Unsworth’s side showed a rare sign of resolve to secure the most unlikely of three points, with Niasse and Calvert-Lewin proving saviour once again this season with respective second-half efforts.
Whilst it’s unlikely that the win will convince the Everton owners to give Unsworth the job on a full-time basis you could feel the sense of relief around the blue side of Merseyside at the end, exemplified in the raucous cheer from their faithful when Tom Cleverley’s penalty went wide of the post at the death.
It’s scenarios like this that so often turn a team’s season around and, in taking Everton three points further away from the drop zone, the Toffees will hope Sunday was just the start of their redemption.
Nightmare debut for Orestis Karnezis as Watford falter
After their impressive start to the season started turning a few heads through the Premier League, Watford’s momentum under Marco Silva seems to have stalled after three consecutive defeats.
They only have themselves to blame for the defeat at Goodison too, letting a seemingly comfortable two-goal lead slip through their fingers with a combination of rash, hurried defending and an unfortunate and untimely injury to first-choice goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes with 59 minutes played.
This injury to Gomes – with the score at 1-0 – gave deadline day signing Orestis Karnezis his first opportunity to impress in England but his arrival transpired to be the architect of his side’s downfall.
The veteran Greek goalkeeper – who had only played four games in the past six months, all for his country – showed his level of rustiness when he came needlessly marauding out of his box to try and claim a ball over the top, only to lose the ball to Niasse who had the easy task of tucking into the net.
And he could have done far better for Everton’s second too, being beaten too easily by Calvert-Lewin’s header, and it’s fair to say that it was a far from dream debut for the deadline day arrival from Udinese.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin continues his breakthrough on Merseyside
Yet, for all of Karnezis’ woes, the Toffees deserve a lot of credit.
Whilst Everton have endured a far from memorable start to the 2017-18 campaign, one player who has been able to hold his head high throughout their turmoil has been young striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
The 20-year-old has been a revelation in turbulent times at Goodison Park, and the fact that he has been able to impress in tough circumstances is testament to his character as a budding footballer.
His effort on Sunday was his first in the season in the Premier League – with his other four coming from other competitions – but it just re-enforced the point that he is the future of Everton, and whoever the new appointment as manager at the club would be completely foolish not to continue developing the striker.
Calvert-Lewin has been involved in more goals than any of his misfiring teammates this season (five goals and two assists) and he proves to be a handful for defences, and it was his second-half introduction in the place of Wayne Rooney that gave the hosts extra impetus to go for an equaliser.
There’s the worry that he’s harbouring too much pressure on his shoulders to deliver each week at such a young age but, as English talent goes, there aren’t many in the league with his raw potential.
Everton must secure Frank Fabra signing before World Cup
The Colombian is set to star at the World Cup with his nation.
Everton are currently being linked with a move for Colombian left-back Frank Fabra. According to Argentine radio station El Crack Deportivo, the 27-year-old is being considered as the left-back option Everton need.
Everton have been lacking in the department this season. With Leighton Baines suffering injury trouble throughout the campaign, natural right-back Cuco Martina has done his best in the role. Everton thoroughly need a new left-back and Fabra is an impressive option.
The Boca Juniors defender was linked with Manchester United and Chelsea by Sky Italia’s Gianluca Di Marzio in 2016. A powerful full-back, he has all it takes to be a star in European football.
Everton are, therefore right, to be targeting the Boca star. However, the Toffees must try to wrap up any potential deal before the World Cup in Russia this summer.
Fabra is looking increasingly likely to be Colombia’s first-choice at the competition. Pablo Armero has had his day and Fabra is the popular choice to play the role of left-back or left wing-back.
Colombia, who are in Group H with Japan, Poland and Senegal, have high hopes of going far in the competition. Four years ago they suffered a narrow quarter-final exit at the hands of Brazil.
Fabra will no doubt be key to any success that Colombia have in the competition and therefore will catch the eye.
Everton will be fully aware what a top World Cup performance can do to a player’s value. If the Toffees want to bring in Fabra doing so before the Russia World Cup could end up being a worthwhile cost-cutting exercise.
Regardless, Everton fans will just be pleased to hear that the club are starting to identify potential options to strengthen one of their weakest positions on the field, even if it is not a household name.
Ronald Koeman admits he wanted Memphis Depay at Everton
But would Everton have benefited from his arrival?
Ronald Koeman is about to kickstart his managerial career with the Dutch national team. It is his first role since getting sacked by Everton and his first foray into international management. Speaking about his new role he discussed the former Manchester United winger Memphis Depay.
Speaking to the press, as reported by Football Oranje, Koeman revealed that he had tried to convince Depay to join Everton whilst he was manager at Goodison Park:
“I invited him to my home last year, when I wanted to get him to Everton. That did not work, he went to Lyon.”
Depay was with Manchester United at the time, where he had struggled to live up to his potential. Instead of joining Everton he headed to Lyon in France in a deal reported by the Telegraph to be worth £16 million.
So have Everton missed out?
Depay’s struggles to settle in English football are well known. Since his move to France things have certainly improved. Depay has scored 18 goals since his move to France. However, considering he scored 28 goals in his final season at PSV prior to his United switch it is still not a massive amount.
In the time he has been in France those 18 goals have come from 61 games. His form has been good at Lyon but certainly not to the standard many expected of him when he made the move to Manchester United.
That said, £16 million today in today’s market is not a lot of money. Looking at Everton’s team, having Depay playing from the left side would have been a massive bonus for Koeman, and now for Sam Allardyce.
Depay still has plenty to improve upon and hopefully Koeman can get the best out of him during his time as the Netherlands boss.
As for Everton, they did not get their man and paid a lot more for the man he would be battling for first-team football Yannick Bolasie – who has not yet been a hit at Goodison Park.
So, all things considered, Everton probably should wish Koeman had managed to convince Depay into a Merseyside switch last January.
Everton signing Rodrigo at £35m would undermine Cenk Tosun position
The Spaniard has been linked with a move to Everton over the weekend.
Reports today have suggested that Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Brighton and Hove Albion are all keeping tabs on Valencia striker Rodrigo.
Calciomercato claim Rodrigo is wanted by all three clubs who are looking to bolster their attacking options.
The report also mentions his whopping €120 million (£105.4 million) release clause. Everton, though, are expected to start their bidding at around €40 million (£35 million).
Rodrigo is a fine striker. This season the Spanish international has netted 16 goals in 35 games for Valencia and he could head to the World Cup with Spain in the summer.
But, for Everton, his signing would only further undermine the man they finally brought in to replace Romelu Lukaku in January.
It has not been plain sailing for Turkish striker Cenk Tosun since his Goodison Park arrival. Signed for a fee reported to be in the region of £27 million by the BBC, Tosun has had to wait for his chance under Sam Allardyce.
That tactic now appears to be paying off dividends with Tosun scoring four goals in his last three games for the Toffees.
Next season, after a full pre-season schedule, Tosun will rightfully expect to be the undisputed starting striker at Everton.
No doubt, the Merseyside club could look to bring in other strikers, but splashing out this amount on a player like Rodrigo would send the wrong message to Tosun.
Rodrigo, who spent time on loan at Bolton Wanderers earlier in his career, will not be willing to play second fiddle to Tosun. Everton will also not want to pay that sort of money for him if that’s the case.
Everton should instead give Tosun a try. With the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Oumar Niasse and Ademola Lookman in reserve, they would have a good striking department without any recruits.
Spending so much money on Rodrigo would just seem a lavish expense for a side that would do better bringing in someone lower key, and lower priced.
Are Chelsea finally going to see the best of Alvaro Morata?
Sessegnon or Bale? Past or future? Spurs must make right move this summer
Amadou Haidara released by Leeds United, bringing an end to bizarre transfer chapter
Ryan Sessegnon should look at Tottenham pair and make switch
Jack Wilshere’s Everton arrival would surely spell the end for Morgan Schneiderlin?
Tottenham Hotspur3 weeks ago
Tottenham Hotspur must push Toby Alderweireld toward Barcelona
Liverpool3 weeks ago
Jurgen Klopp’s brave January decision is playing off thanks to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Brentford4 weeks ago
Romaine Sawyers – Blossoming in the Championship with play-off contenders Brentford
Liverpool3 weeks ago
Mohamed Salah: Is Liverpool’s Egyptian star the best player in the world right now?
English Premier League2 weeks ago
Liverpool 2-0 Newcastle United: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain growing into role under Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool3 weeks ago
Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold finds himself at the centre of Jurgen Klopp’s plans
Chelsea2 days ago
Are Chelsea finally going to see the best of Alvaro Morata?
Barcelona4 weeks ago
Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona: Three talking points from Stamford Bridge