For a fourth consecutive home game, Everton won as Marco Silva’s transformation of Goodison Park into a fortress continued. A solitary goal from Gylfi Sigurdsson sufficed for his team to beat Cardiff 1 – 0. Although Everton dominated possession, they had to be patient for their goal. It arrived shortly before the hour mark as Sigurdsson finished calmly.
He did so to score his first home goal since a 3 – 0 win over Fulham. That victory was the beginning of a fine run of form for Everton. They have won their next three home games and in the process of doing so only conceded one goal. It was scored by Lewis Dunk of Brighton & Hove Albion. They were beaten 3 – 1 by an Everton side inspired by Richarlison.
The Brazilian forward delivered a match – winning individual performance and scored twice to take his goals tally for the season to six. That is one more than he managed in his entire debut campaign in English football with Watford. Just as Richarlison’s return of goals for Everton, which stretch back to the double he scored in a 2 – 2 draw against Wolves, is impressive, so too are his performances. Each of those has been defined by an excellent, almost telepathic, understanding with Sigurdsson.
Ironically, a missed penalty by him proved to be the source of Everton’s fine home form. Only moments after Sigurdsson had spurned the glorious chance to give his team the lead against Fulham did he score. The goal was the first of nine which Everton have scored for the concession of just one. Part of the reason for their strong defensive record is Jordan Pickford. The English number one goalkeeper saved a penalty hit by Luka Milivojevic to prevent his team from going 1 – 0 down to Crystal Palace. In the end, Everton won the game 2 – 0 but they may not have done so without the intervention of Pickford.
Also vital towards their win over Crystal Palace were the substitutions of Silva. He introduced Dominic Calvert – Lewin and Cenk Tosun. They both scored and a third substitute, Ademola Lookman provided an assist. The impact of the trio is indicative of the strength of Everton’s squad. Although it is deep in quality, Silva retained the same starting XI which beat Crystal Palace for their win over Brighton & Hove Albion.
Out of recognition for the accomplished performance of his team, he made just one change for their 0 – 0 draw with Chelsea. Alongside Michael Keane in central defence, Kurt Zouma was replaced by Yerry Mina. The Columbian retained his place in an unchanged starting line – up for the narrow win over Cardiff. There was a belief, expectancy and trust among the Everton supporters that, against resilient opponents, their team would find a goal, which they did to help Silva continue his transformation of Goodison Park into a fortress.
No visiting team has collected a point there since West Ham won 3 – 1. A subtle tactical change of system after that game from a 4 – 4 – 2 to a 4 – 2 – 3 – 1 has been successful for Silva. He made a brave decision and is being rewarded for doing so. Although the tests of Everton have been modest – Fulham, Crystal Palace, Brighton & Hove Albion and Cardiff – Silva and his players deserve a great deal of credit for their performances. Four consecutive home wins and counting for Everton.