Lucas Digne

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Everton must think bigger than retread replacement for Silva

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Marco Silva is out as Everton manager, the Toffees turning the page on a disappointing execution of their ambitious vision.

Despite plenty of investment, Silva’s Everton wasn’t able to do much of anything good and now sits in the Premier League’s Bottom Three after 15 match days.

[ MORE: Everton sacks Silva ]

Silva’s men finished eighth in the league during his first season, but the best he can say about his truncated sophomore campaign is that the club are into the League Cup quarterfinals.

So what will Everton do now? Well, Duncan Ferguson is in charge for the Toffees’ Saturday visit from Chelsea, though the club has vowed to “swiftly” find their next full-time boss.

Frankly, the club could do its next man a favor by taking its time, as the post-Chelsea fixtures are Manchester United, Leicester City in the aforementioned cup fixture, and Arsenal.

Back on topic, what the Toffees should do is appoint a man with vision. While it would be tempting to slide into the comfortable slippers that are David Moyes, appointing him or some Sam Allardyce or Mark Hughes type would be another step in the wrong direction.

That’s because this is truly an opportunity for the right coach to take the club in a tremendous direction. Everton might be in the drop zone, but its talent is a mile ahead of true relegation candidacy.

Whoever is hired — and this is why Big Sam is probably holding aloft a boombox outside Goodison Park — is going to “save the Toffees” and earn another season at the helm. Allowing that to be some retread would be a mistake.

Rafa Benitez isn’t going to come to Goodison Park because of his relationship with Liverpool, but a a manager of his ilk should very much be in play. The Toffees boast a still-improving star forward in Richarlison and two proper fullbacks in Lucas Digne and Djibril Sidibe.

Richarlison is 22, Alex Iwobi is 23, and Moise Kean just 19 and adapting to a new country. Defenders Yerry Mina, Mason Holgate, and Michael Keane are all under 26. A manager who can develop and fine tune talent will have a field day with this roster. Imagine Dominic Calvert-Lewin reaching his potential.

Their 9.1 shots allowed per game is a figure bettered by only Man City and Chelsea. The side has been prone to allowing those shots to be dangerous ones, but there’s every reason to believe that fixing their fourth-worst goals conceded total should happen soon given some adequate goalkeeping performances.

Jordan Pickford is England’s No. 1, but hasn’t been right for the Toffees. Logically, he’ll get back to at least average and start stealing some points. The goals are going to keep coming, and likely increase with the wins; Everton is eighth in the xG table.

The Premier League is better when Everton is a good side. The Toffees are not going to be relegated this season, and need to approach that hiring with that mindset. Get someone worth believing in, not just blind hope and a nod to the past.

Everton’s Silva, Holgate react to blowout derby loss

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Marco Silva‘s big trouble grew larger after a 5-2 loss to Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby at Anfield on Wednesday, but Everton defender Mason Holgate said his team’s rookie mistakes are not the manager’s fault.

When asked how much fault the players bear with their manager under fire, there were no minced words from the 23-year-old.

[ RECAP: Liverpool 5-2 Everton ]

“Pretty much all of it,” he said. “The manager has told us what we need to be doing and we have not gone out and done that. We played well in patches of the game but route one, direct balls are not things the manager should be telling us about. We should be dealing with and we have not done that.”

Silva accepted responsibility for the result and said “my words will change nothing” when asked about his fate as Everton boss, but he also agreed with his defender about the mistakes.

He was asked point-blank about Everton’s status in relegation zone.

“Really, really bad for us. We are making the same mistakes. We are not strong enough to be in a different position. I’m not here to talk about the players because they are fighting. Our opponent was more brave than us. We should be better, of course.”

It’s difficult to imagine anything changing in the near future even if Silva is fired. There were very redeeming performances from the players at Anfield. Richarlison was the top performer, while Lucas Digne was adequate.

It should be noted that the Toffees did score twice, and produced numerous chances. Moise Kean missed a late chance, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin could’ve won a penalty in the first half (It wasn’t the type of foul VAR is ever going to overrule, but it wouldn’t have flipped it the other way had Mike Dean awarded it).

But this was about defending, and keeping the balls out of the net. Goal scorer Michael Keane and Holgate were under fire all night, and goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was credited with more errors than saves (which isn’t difficult; He didn’t have a save).

These players will remain the same as Chelsea, Manchester United, and Arsenal loom on the league docket, with a League Cup trip to Leicester City thrown into the mix.

Silva’s likely to be dismissed, and Everton might be best served not named a successor until after this run of fixtures.

Super sub Iheanacho gives Leicester stoppage time win

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Leicester City came from behind to become the second Premier League team to break the 30-point barrier following a 2-1 defeat of Everton at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.

Kelechi Iheanacho had a stoppage time goal awarded by VAR after he assisted Jamie Vardy‘s league-leading 13th goal earlier in the second half.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Second place Leicester remains 8 points back of Liverpool, while 17th place Everton remains two points clear of the Bottom Three.

The last second capitulation may be the last straw for Marco Silva, whose Toffees looked set to get a fine point.


Three things we learned

1. Iheanacho stars off the bench: It’s been a tough run for the Nigerian at Everton since a high-profile move from Manchester City, but Brendan Rodgers called Iheanacho’s number at the right time. He set up Vardy’s equalizer before scoring deep in stoppage only to see the linesman’s flag up. But VAR showed Yerry Mina‘s knee kept Iheanacho’s shoulder onside by millimeters, and Iheanacho was able to celebrate a second time.

2. Richarlison unmarkable when at his best: When Richarlison is firing, there are few more powerful forces in the Premier League. The big man commanded the area on Sunday, not just with his opening goal but with another header off a corner that went wide of the goal and a terrific bit of strength and speed in working Caglas Soyuncu to produce an early second half chance for Gylfi Sigurdsson. His season total is up to six goals and two assists in 17 matches.

3. Vardy keeps firing: The veteran English striker extended his Premier League goals lead to 13 when he bundled in Iheanacho’s cross to give him eight goals and two assists in his last six matches. It’s an incredible run for Vardy, who nearly assisted a James Maddison goal moments after his marker.

Man of the Match: Wilfred Ndidi was everywhere, even shuttling the ball to Iheanacho in the run-up to Vardy’s equalizer. He passed well, and won balls left, right, and center. With apologies to Richarlison, the honor goes to the Nigerian.


Lucas Digne crossed to produce an eighth minute chance for Djibril Sidibe, but the Frenchman blazed his shot just over the bar.

At the other end, a falling Ayoze Perez dribbled a shot to Jordan Pickford.

It was almost all Leicester, so of course Everton went ahead in the 23rd minute. Alex Iwobi played a marauding Sidibe down the right side for a cross that Richarlison powered home with a header.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Ben Chilwell won a penalty off Mason Holgate in the 34th minute, and VAR had a long look after the Englishman hit the deck despite no contact. The penalty call was withdrawn.

The second half saw Richarlison beat Soyuncu, a rare feat, to cut back for Sigurdsson. The Icelandic star had his shot partially deflected for a corner.

Wilfred Ndidi sent Ricardo Pereira on goal, but Pickford made a fine low save to keep it 1-0.

Holgate froze Ndidi when he took down a cross and switched to his right foot, but his drive was blocked.

Vardy made it 1-1 in the 68th minute with a goal in his sixth-straight appearance, racing to the back post to meet substitute Kelechi Iheanacho’s pass through the 18 past Holgate.

He’d then produce an assist-worthy pass to Maddison before craning his neck to put a header just over the bar. Leicester City were knocking at the the door.

Richarlison set up substitute Moise Kean for an 80th minute arrow that flew into the outside of the side netting.

Iheanacho scored in the fourth minute of stoppage time, and VAR defied the linesman to give him his first Premier League goal in a year.

Norwich City piles more pressure on Silva’s error prone Everton

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Todd Cantwell and Dennis Srbeny scored goals as the Canaries of Norwich City flew away from Goodison Park with all three points with a 2-0 win over Everton on Saturday.

Everton’s defense struggled and its offense couldn’t find finish despite a shot advantage of 18-13 on the day, and manager Marco Silva is surely in trouble as his defense continues to give up massive chances.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Everton loses its seventh league match and sits 15th with 14 points. Norwich is up to 18th with 10 points.


3 things we learned

1. Mina, Holgate struggle at CB: Both Norwich City goals had Everton’s center backs looking like clowns, and it could’ve been three or four goals had Jordan Pickford not made a couple of very fine stops. He was left for dead on both goals, with Michael Keane seated on the bench. Everton doesn’t give up a ton of shots, but when they do they give up monstrous xG bonanzas.

2. Farke pushes the right buttons: Srbeny entered the day with 26 Premier League minutes spread across five outings, and the ex-Paderborn man only scored twice in parts of two Championship seasons. But he looked like a thoroughbred in scoring with his first touches to put this match to bed.

3. Buendia pulls the strings: Norwich playmaker Emiliano Buendia is having a sensational season veyrr much under the radar, and he helped set up the insurance goal in style. Buendia had two assists against Man City, and Saturday’s helper brings his tally to five. The 22-year-old Argentine is one to watch.

Man of the Match: Onel Hernandez — Denied by an incredible Jordan Pickford save, the Cuban-born German has taken time to get used to the league but was an absolute force over 90 minutes.


Hernandez had the best chance to break open a sleepy first half, but Everton’s Jordan Pickford made an outstanding save to keep the match level.

Teemu Pukki dribbled and bodied off Everton’s two center backs and Cantwell ran into space to beat Pickford for 1-0.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Sam Byram missed a free header off a corner kick which really should’ve made it 2-0. Would Everton take advantage?

Nope. There were few signs of life outside of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Lucas Digne, and Richarlison, and the Brazilian faded down the stretch.

Emiliano Buendia set up substitute Srbeny for a first Premier League goal to pile pressure on Silva.

Euro 2020 Roundup: Ronaldo scores hat-trick, France, Turkey qualify

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The final two rounds of Euro 2020 qualification got underway on Thursday with plenty of great goals on display. Four nations qualified directly into the tournament as well, as we get closer to the final list of 24 teams.


Portugal rout Lithuania

While the result wasn’t a surprise, it was still an impressive performance from the defending European champions.

Portugal, behind a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick, thrashed Lithuania, 6-0, at the Estadio Algarve. That included this terrific strike into the corner from outside the box, bringing the crowd to their feet.

It was Ronaldo’s ninth hat-trick for Portugal, which takes him to 98 goals overall along with 12 goals for Portugal in this calendar year, an incredible strike rate. Pizzi, Goncalo Paciencia and Bernardo Silva all scored as well. With a win at Luxembourg in three days, Portugal can assure qualification back to the European Championships, where it can defend its crown.


France comes back to beat Moldova

It’s safe to say that Les Bleus fans would gladly have taken a 2-1 result over Moldova in Euro 2020 qualifying, but the journey to get there was definitely out of the ordinary.

Moldova’s Vadim Rata put the visitors up 1-0 in the 9th minute with a goal-mouth scramble after a failed clearance from by Clement Lenglet, putting France under even more pressure. France brought wave and wave of attack towards the Moldova goal, but it was a controversial goal, credited to Raphael Varane, which brought France level.

In the 41st minute, as Olivier Giroud went for a ball, it appeared Giroud motioned to control the ball with his arm, only to move it out of his way at the last second, enabling Varane to head home. Giroud made amends for missing many chances throughout the match with a penalty kick goal in the 79th minute, earned by left back Lucas Digne.

With the win, France qualified for the 2020 Euros. Also qualifying on Thursday was Turkey, England, and the Czech Republic.

Here’s a look at the rest of Thursday’s Euro 2020 qualification results.

Qualification Group A

England 7-0 Montenegro
Czech Republic 2-1 Kosovo

Qualification Group B

Portugal 6-0 Lithuania
Serbia 3-2 Luxembourg

Qualification Group H

Turkey 0-0 Iceland
Albania 2-2 Andorra
France 2-1 Moldova