Everton verdict – Carlo Ancelotti’s project takes a giant step and the Jose Mourinho problem proves it.


“Wow! I’m gonna start crying!” he said.

Carlo Ancelotti was stunned to learn how far Everton’s pathetic record had advanced among the top six teams last season.

Everton verdict by Phil Kirkbride after the Blues’ safe 1-0 away win over Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League

Everton doesn’t win in the top six, does it? Here they made it, and with a lot of room. The margin for victory should have been greater. Even Jose Mourinho would have no reason to complain if this had been the case.

This result and this performance was, as we often say in the game, a declaration of intent. A result that will make people take note and look at the blues in a completely different light.

After a first win in 41 games nearly seven years ago, the Evertonians may shed a tear or two tonight in dizzying excitement.

It’s still early days, but Allan and Doucoure are already eager to change – but we’ll soon be making their dream debut.

But doesn’t Everton have a flaky midfield? On that basis, they could now have one that’s capable of mixing it with anyone else in the league.

This game shouted and hollered that Everton would no longer be easy to beat, that they would fight with anyone and have the muscle to mix it with the most physical.

From front to back, the Everton were excellent. From two beautiful parries from Jordan Pickford, who kept the game at 0-0, to a solid back four, to this midfielder, a top-notch James Rodriguez and the textbook number 9 header.

A hard header from Dominic Calvert-Lewin at the start of the second half ensured the Blues a deserved victory – and ensured that the Blues began their first full season in Ancelotti’s tenure in perfect style.

Even during the break, when the game was decided at 0-0 and the Spurs were twice rebuffed by Pickford, the overall playing feel of this Everton team was different.

Everton could even afford the luxury of coping with Richarlison’s crass first-half miss, because that was their day.

In a top-six match, the Blues did more than survive, more than cling on, or desperately try to stop the flow of things, because we’ve had to put up with everything, too many times since Bryan Oviedo scored the winning goal at Old Trafford in December 2013.

After the break they went to another level. Especially Allan and Doucoure. As a full-time player, you had to wonder if there were two better debuts for the club in the Premier League era?

The Blues were aggressive, they defended the ball well, Rodriguez set a pace and the intention that others should follow, and they made the Spurs incredibly uncomfortable.

Ancelotti wanted to find “energy” on the transfer market, but with these two he has more than that. It will be fun to watch them undo the best plans of the opposition managers.

And to fully analyze the moment of winning the game, you have to rewind the game….


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