Mason Holgate

Holgate, Pickford save Everton in draw with West Ham

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Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Issa Diop traded goals in Everton’s 1-1 draw with West Ham United at the London Stadium on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The draw has David Moyes‘ West Ham a point outside the drop zone, while 11th place Everton moves seven clear with 29 points.


Three things we learned

1. Toffees bailed out by Holgate, Pickford: Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford‘s last few weeks have been as good as he’s played since his Sunderland days, and he made a pair of incredible saves for the Toffees. But his young center back Mason Holgate was the star, with an assist on Calvert-Lewin’s goal and a key block to go with seven clearances and much more (See MOTM, below).

2. Calvert-Lewin sums up Toffees’ uneven play: The tempestuous young striker got another goal, but Everton’s point came mostly through Pickford and Holgate. Calvert-Lewin got his headed goal but also as many fouls (3) as chances created. His quick post-match comments really fit the bill.

“I thought today we under-performed. It was disappointing not to play to our strengths. We got ourselves back into the game but should have gone on from there and won it. I am happy to get on the scoresheet and get the point but I thought we could have performed better.”

3. Snodgrass is class: The 32-year-old Scot continues to turn back the clock for West Ham, providing power and craft in producing three goals and three assists this season. All of those score sheet moments have come in the Irons last 13 matches.

Man of the Match: Holgate’s assist was great, but how about seven-for-seven in ground duels, two blocked shots, a goal line clearance, and four interceptions. Fantastic stuff.


Tom Davies was stripped at midfield, leading to in-form Robert Snodgrass curling a shot to Jordan Pickford.

Snodgrass set up Pablo Zabaleta for a classy chest trap and volley, but Mason Holgate blocked the shot wide of the near post.

Lucas Digne gave the ball away to Mark Noble, who sent Sebastien Haller through the goal. Pickford made a fine leg save as Haller aimed to go low and near post.

Theo Walcott blew a chance to make it 1-0 when Digne spotted the ex-Arsenal star, who flubbed a ball right to Darren Randolph.

The Irons got their deserved lead through an Issa Diop header of Snodgrass’ free kick in the 40th, but Calvert-Lewin got one of his own from a Digne corner kick moments later.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Pickford made an incredible save in stoppage time to keep it 1-1, reaching low to paw away a point-blank Irons chance.

The English keeper than slapped a deflected shot wide in the second half.

Curtis Jones stunner boosts young Liverpool side in Merseyside derby

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Liverpool’s kids took center stage again in Cup action, and this time they came through. Jurgen Klopp rotated his squad for the Merseyside derby against Everton in FA Cup play, and while Carlo Ancelotti selected a strong Toffees lineup, it was a day for the youngsters.

Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, and Roberto Firmino were all rested alongside fellow regulars Virgil Van Dijk, Alisson, Andrew Robertson, and Trent Alexander-Arnold. Instead, the Liverpool lineup was dotted with youth players who stepped up to the challenge. While Liverpool dominated in possession throughout the match, they found the attacking third a stumbling block until young Curtis Jones changed that with one spectacular 71st minute moment, leading the Reds to a 1-0 victory over Everton.

Liverpool suffered an early blow as James Milner, one of the few veteran players in the squad, was forced off just eight minutes into the match after pulling up behind the play. He was replaced by 19-year-old Yasser Larouci

Everton, having made just two changes from its last Premier League match, had a big chance on 12 minutes as Adrian kept out Mason Holgate‘s free header, a fabulous opportunity that was disappointingly directed straight at the Liverpool goalkeeper. The Toffees were quite good in the attacking third throughout the first half, forcing Adrian into a few more big saves. Yerry Mina flashed a header wide on 37 minutes and Dominic Calvert-Lewin also just barely dragged one shy of the post.

Liverpool’s young squad still had its moments through the first 45 minutes, including one where Divock Origi searched for the far post, only kept out by Jordan Pickford‘s acrobatic diving save. The second half was even more cagey than the first, and while Liverpool’s kids dominated in possession, Everton was wasteful with its chances. Theo Walcott delivered an absolutely abysmal ball for a streaking Moise Kean with 25 minutes to go.

As the Reds gained in confidence, they eventually went in front as 18-year-old midfielder Jones rescued the match. The Liverpool youth product cropped up with an absolute stunner, rifling a long-range shot into the top-right corner.

The goal was good enough to send Liverpool through to the fourth round, dumping Everton out of the competition. It’s not the first winning moment for Jones with the senior squad, as he was also on hand to deliver the decisive penalty in the EFL Cup penalty shootout against Arsenal which Liverpool won 6-5.

The win somewhat avenged Liverpool’s 5-0 defeat to Aston Villa in which the youngsters took the field with the senior squad in Qatar for the Club World Cup. The young team deployed that afternoon played well, with the scoreline somewhat harsh on the side. This time around with senior team support sprinkled throughout, the kids produced a display worthy of a landmark rivalry win.

Ancelotti wins on Everton debut

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Carlo Ancelotti got off to a winning start as Everton’s manager as they ground out a 1-0 win against Burnley on Boxing Day.

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Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored the winner late on in a tight, physical battled at Goodison Park as both teams went close early but the Toffees just about deserved to take all three points.

With the win Everton move up to 13th on 22 points, while Burnley have 24 points and sit one place ahead of them.


3 things we learned

1. Ancelotti expectant on sidelines: Whenever the camera panned to Carlo Ancelotti, in the dugout for the first time as Everton’s manager, he didn’t look happy. That level of expectancy drove his side on as the Toffees clicked through the gears late on and finally scored to get the win they deserved. He has so much experience and has won so many trophies and with that comes a level of performance he will expect. That should help get Everton out of a relegation scrap this season and then kick on next season.

2. Toffees continue to improve defensively: It started under Duncan Ferguson during his spell as interim boss and Everton have now conceded just twice in their last four games, as they’ve won two and drawn two. Mason Holgate has come back in and helped shore things up and playing with three center backs certainly helped them out. Everton have enough attacking weapons to win games, as long as they keep solid at the back.

3. Burnley dig deep ahead of tough stretch: The Clarets dug deep, as they always do, and were denied by some brilliant Everton defending in the first half. Sean Dyche‘s side didn’t force the issue enough and they now have a daunting run of games coming up as they play Man United (twice), Chelsea, Arsenal and Leicester City in their next six PL games. The Clarets are only six points above the drop zone, so they know they have to beat some of the big boys at home in the coming weeks. Turf Moor, especially at this time of the season, will be key in deciding how their season goes.

Man of the Match: Dominic Calvert-Lewin – Ran himself into the ground up top and scored the winner. He is still so young and has all of the tools to succeed in the Premier League.


Burnley almost took the lead early on as Yerry Mina headed Chris Wood‘s header off his own line and Jack Cork then went close from the resulting corner.

At the other end Mason Holgate should have given Everton the lead from a set piece situation but Nick Pope saved superbly.

Lucas Digne had a free kick deflected wide as the home side grabbed a foothold in the game in the first half.

Richarlison had an effort before half time which caused Burnley problems but the visitors held their own.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Bernard had a shot deflected wide in the second half as the Toffees clicked through the gears going forward. Djibril Sidibe almost bundled home after powering into the box as it was all Everton in the closing stages but Burnley remained a threat on the break.

Seamus Coleman flashed a shot just over from distance as the Toffees pushed for the opener but were frustrated by a stubborn Burnley defense.

Jordan Pickford then handled the ball outside the box but Burnley couldn’t make the most of a dangerous free kick.

Greenwood leads Man Utd to Everton draw

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Manchester United found its equalizer but not a winner, as Everton claimed a point from Old Trafford in a 1-1 draw on Sunday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

A controversial Victor Lindelof own goal had the Red Devils down 1-0, but Mason Greenwood scored as a super sub to split the spoils.

United slips sixth, a point back of victorious Spurs, while Everton’s second result under interim boss Duncan Ferguson has it 16th. That’s still just three points above the drop zone.


Four things we learned

1. The Natural delivers fitting finish: If you draw up a goal scorer’s goal, the seeing-eye shot Greenwood struck to beat Pickford and score a 1-1 draw for the hosts sure delivers the goods. Greenwood turned 18 on Oct. 1, and already has six goals and two assists for the senior side. His finish through traffic was food for thought as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tries to find the right mix of attackers to fit with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.

2. Digne injury a big concern: One of Everton’s lone season-long positives has been Lucas Digne, who’s possibly the best left back in the league (If he’s not, 1 and 2 are on Merseyside). But he had to leave the match with injury, and backup Leighton Baines is experienced but the author of less than 600 minutes of playing time since the start of the 2018/19 season. The goal came on his side, though Greenwood’s shot was well-taken.

3. More improvement from Everton: We’ve detailed Everton’s strength in giving up few shots, but dangerous ones. The gaffes weren’t there on Sunday, with Pickford having to make one big save and Greenwood squeezing a very professional shot inside the near post. Duncan Ferguson has shown the Toffees to four of six points from Chelsea and Manchester United and will helm a League Cup quarterfinal versus Leicester City on Wednesday at Goodison Park. He’s giving the Toffees the opportunity to be patient in finding a permanent boss, and himself the chance to build up his lore even more.

4. VAR finds nothing clear and obvious on Everton goal: The Toffees will be counting themselves fortunate that the Lindelof own goal wasn’t pulled off the board, as Dominic Calvert-Lewin came across David De Gea in a bid for a corner kick and made contact with the players’ face. De Gea should’ve done better either way, but it’s as hard luck an own goal as you’ll find when it comes to the Portuguese center back.

Man of the Match: Mason Holgate was Everton’s best player but less effective in the second half. Scott McTominay was again solid for Manchester United, as were their backs, but Greenwood gets our nod.


Jesse Lingard had a first minute chance to score but mishit his point blank chance wide of the near post.

Mason Holgate had a speculative try from distance that caught David De Gea off guard, sending the keeper into his goal post following a slap over the bar. He’d sting another shot to De Gea in the seventh minute.

Marcus Rashford wrapped a shot around the goal in the 10th minute, and Daniel James drilled a low shot across goal and out of bounds a minute later.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Pickford was briefly fooled by a 26th minute Rashford free kick, but reacted well to palm away the swirling effort.

Everton took the lead via a Victor Lindelof own goal, which arrived when David De Gea failed in a bid to poke the ball away. He wasn’t helped by a hand to the face from Dominic Calvert-Lewin, but VAR didn’t see a clear and obvious error in a foul not being given to the forward.

Luke Shaw fizzed a shot through traffic that was well-saved by Pickford at full extension, the game then stalled by Lingard’s apparent head injury.

James turned to hit a ball to a prone Pickford in the 69th minute as United pushed for an equalizer.

Greenwood found the leveling goal in the 78th minute, James’ square ball setting the youngster up for a shot through traffic that defied Pickford’s dive.

Everton: What was different, and what’s the way forward?

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Everton got off the mat in style on Saturday, three days after a mistake-filled 5-2 loss to its Merseyside rivals.

While that loss wasn’t necessarily as bad as it looked on the score board, it was wretched at the back and enough to warrant a change at manager.

[ RECAP: Everton shock poor Chelsea ]

Duncan Ferguson took the reins at Goodison Park, and things were much improved in a 3-1 defeat of Chelsea.

What was different? Plenty, though most came in the form of personnel performances rather than changes (Also, Chelsea was terrible, but that negates little for an Everton side which had been insipid against inferior competition to Saturday’s visitors).

1) The Formation: Duncan Ferguson opted for a straight-forward 4-2-3-1 that often came closer to your traditional 4-4-2. The Toffees hemorrhaged possession but pounded away at the Chelsea attackers and counted on their swift, talented attackers to do their damage with limited chances. Call it the Newcastle United model. With Chelsea a bit off, it played out perfectly for Ferguson.

“Who knows? A new face, a new voice, a new message, who knows? These things just happen in football and the players give a reaction when they lose a manager.

“I think that’s right. What we really need at this club is the work ethic, the team really needs to work their absolute socks off. The fans really got behind us and believe me that gets you an extra goal.”

2) The Force: Dominic Calvert-Lewin, given the stage and his track record, had the game of his life. That’s not exaggeration. The 22-year-old had six shots, two goals, and won 10 aerial battles. That’s exactly what’s required given the formation and tactics outlined in Point No. 1. After scoring three goals in four matches a month ago, “DCL” had been very poor and flubbed his chances against Liverpool. This was a beauty, and Calvert-Lewin was clearly playing for his coach.

“It was a massive game for us and I have a very close relationship with Duncan. He has stuck by me for the three years I have known him. The most important thing was to go out and give 100%.”

I mean, that’s always the most important thing, but we can’t blame a 22-year-old for trading on the cliche market.

3) Other changes: Ferguson took a risk in deploying Morgan Schneiderlin over Tom Davies. The former had been one of the Toffees worst statistical players this year, while Davies is a hometown kid who had admittedly been very poor for the better part of a month. Schneiderlin wasn’t great in passing, but was steadier than the kid and won six tackles. When Davies came into the match, he wasn’t great but was more advanced and his lone positive contribution was a big one:

Yerry Mina missed the match through injury, which may’ve played a role in Ferguson’s decision to go to four at the back, but the difference in defense was down to both Mason Holgate and Michael Keane playing dramatically better. Keane especially, having not been credited with a single tackle in the loss to Everton.

We should save some space for Jordan Pickford, whose passing stats suffered from a directive to “get the ball out of there ASAP” but registered three saves in an improved performance. Pickford hasn’t been steady for his club — incredible against West Ham, terrible versus Liverpool and Brighton, and if he can eliminate the bad days and be just a bit above average he can be a big difference. Steadier work from the backs will help that.

And really that’s what will fix the Toffees. The attack hasn’t been amazing but it hasn’t been relegation worthy. And frankly the backs have not been awful, allowing the third-fewest attempts per match in the league, but have been prone to absolutely horrendous mistakes that left Pickford on an island. The less the keeper is in damage control, the higher Everton can rise.

4) So Big Dunc? Given the immediate road ahead, Ferguson’s approach and passion could give the club the leeway to wait a few weeks to make sure it hires a steady, experienced hand considering their long-term goals. Ferguson might be a name for the future, but as we outlined earlier this week… European spots remain there for the taking! Their next few matches provide chances to directly affect teams above them, with Manchester United at Old Trafford and Arsenal visiting Goodison. There’s also an opportunity to beat Leicester City and get to a League Cup semifinal.

Those are two routes to Europe right in front of the Toffees. Ferguson’s Brucian (or Benitezian) tactics and system can give them a chance to get two or three points from the league matches, and certainly can be enough to out-duel the Foxes at home. And you might say, so maybe he’s the man! Don’t look past what the club means to him. But in the long run, the talent and ambition of Everton needs a sustained system that isn’t just about “grinding it out.” Maybe Ferguson can supply that but is that a risk to take now, with Arsenal, Manchester United, and Spurs all wobbling in ways you wouldn’t expect in a given season? A commitment to working hard is just the first step to success.