Thanks to no FA Cup involvement and yet another international break, the shortest calendar month of February proved even shorter in footballing terms with just three games for the Blues.
Allowing for an element of geographical latitude, the three games were against ‘London’ opposition with visits to Watford and Arsenal either side of a home game with Crystal Palace, three games that produced six from nine points and perhaps critically, our first come from behind victory in the league from far too long a time than most Evertonians care to remember.
Vicarage Road was the venue for an eventful game as Watford took a two-goal lead through Macina and Pereyra before the Blues struck twice in first half stoppage time as Yerry Mina scrambled home a Mason Holgate header and then helped himself to a free header at the back post to tie game at the break. With Everton down to ten men thanks to Fabian Delph picking up a needless second yellow card inexplicably, it was the Blues who took the game by the horns with Richarlison breaking clear in the dying moments to find Moise Kean and his mishit shot/perfectly placed pass (the debate is still raging as to exactly which it was) found Theo Walcott for his first goal of the season to ignite pandemonium and wild celebrations within the travelling fans.
The elder statesman of Premier League footie, Roy Hodgson brought his Crystal Palace side to Goodison the following weekend and the lunchtime kick-off suited the Blues as a delightful cross from Walcott inside twenty minutes was met on the volley by the diminutive Bernard to set the team on the road to victory. Everton rarely make things eay for themselves and after conceding a disappointing equaliser to Benteke (of all people), needed a piece of quality to restore their lead and a deft flick-on header from DCL set Richarlison away to score an excellent goal. Jordan Pickford atoned for his earlier error with a reflex save to deny the former Villa and RS forward a second equaliser and the Blues secured the three points as a Richarlison header came back off the crossbar and Dominic Calvert-Lewin pounced to make it 3-1.
After the two-week break, Everton travelled south again to the Emirates and got off to the very best of starts with DCL scoring a spectacular overhead kick goal inside the opening 60 seconds. Arsenal hit back with two goals from Nketiah and Aubameyang before the Blues drew level in first half stoppage time, Richarlison again on the mark. Disappointingly, Aubameyang put the Gunners ahead within a minute of the restart and despite a spirited fightback with Andre Gomes making an emphatic return from a fractured ankle, Everton couldn’t find an equaliser and the Emirates hoodoo will continue into next season.
February saw a total of eighteen players appear with just three, Jordan Pickford, Yerry Mina and Richarlison playing every minute. In terms of the three Man of the Match polls, we had just two winners – Mason Holgate for the win at Watford with Richarlison claiming a runaway poll for the win over Palace and a slightly less convincing poll margin for the loss to Arsenal.
As we always say, we do our utmost to post our match reports and MotM polls as quickly as possible after the final whistle each game, and we encourage all our forum members and readers to continue to support the effort and vote.
And now we’re into February, we only have fourteen games left and every vote cast in our Man of the Match polls can still impact upon who eventually will be crowned the GrandOldTeam.com Player of the Season.
So, if you’re reading this via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or any other social media platform and you’re not a GOT member but want to vote each game, simply register to join the Forum – http://www.grandoldteam.com/forum/ – and cast your vote every game… and join in the myriad of discussions on the award-winning, biggest and best Everton Forum on the internet.
Having dispensed with the ubiquitous plug for GOT, the forum and polls, let’s get to the golden envelope business and on with the top three vote recipients and the PotM result, and in time honoured fashion, here’s the result in ascending order of the votes cast.
In third place, largely on the back of his brace of goals at Watford… Yerry Mina.
Maintaining a solid level of consistency in both his play and vote accumulating, again in second place… Mason Holgate.
And the congratulations go, with over 38% of the total votes cast, to our clear winner, and the GOT Player of the Month for February… Richarlison.