What a start to the new season!!! Six games, three in the Premier League and three in the Carabao Cup shoe-horned into September and the Blues tore into them with no hangover whatsoever from the shortened summer break.
A dominant performance and stunning opening day win at Spurs thanks to a thumping Dominic Calvert-Lewin header saw Salford City up next and they were confidently dealt with in the cup. West Brom posed some problems before the Blues prevailed with James Rodriguez orchestrating and scoring, and DCL bagging a hat-trick. A wet and windy visit to the seaside saw Joey Barton’s gallant Fleetwood beaten and that brought up a tough visit to Selhurst Park. Everton may have benefited from a rather suspect penalty decision, but on the ninety minutes, were fully deserving of the victory and top of the table spot that resulted. The third Carabao Cup game saw David Moyes’s West Ham consummately beaten, the on fire DCL bagging another and even more impressive treble.
In marked contrast to so much of the past couple of seasons, these six games demonstrated a completely different mindset and approach from Everton. The additions of new signings Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure and James Rodriguez have given manager Carlo Ancelotti exactly what he wanted – a midfield with energy, steel and most of all creation. With twenty goals scored and only six conceded, the Blues have been making chances galore and even more importantly taking them, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin really beginning to look every inch an Everton number nine.
The re-constructed midfield has helped revitalise the rest of the side too with the defence looking more composed, Seamus Coleman back to his best, Michael Keane continuing his resurgence since the return from lockdown, Lucas Digne showing his versatility by playing at centre back as well as left back. Yerry Mina and Jordan Pickford still have odd moments that cause a sharp intake of breath but, the inclusion so soon of teenage left back Niels Nkounkou and decent form from Jonjoe Kenny before his ankle injury were all good signs for the season ahead.
The six games in September saw 23 players used and Carlo Ancelotti happy to rotate the squad to give players both a rest and a chance to impress and push their claims for greater involvement in the first team. Three players – Michael Keane, Lucas Digne and Gylfi Sigurdsson – appeared in all six outings with England international Keane the only ever-present, playing every minute and chipping in with two goals too.
Looking at the individual game Man of the Match winners and we had four. The victory at Spurs saw midfield dynamo Allan romp home ahead of fellow new signings Doucoure and Rodriguez. A stunning debut against the Class of 92 backed Salford City from Niels Nkounkou saw his first MotM award ahead of Anthony Gordon who also impressed on the night. The West Brom poll was inevitably won by the hat-trick hero Dominic Calvert-Lewin ahead of James Rodriguez after his maiden goal for the club. The trip to the Fylde coast saw another terrific performance from Niels Nkounkou as he overwhelmed the rest of the team in terms of the voting. The quality of the team performance against Crystal Palace saw the widest spread of votes before captain Seamus Coleman pulled clear of James Rodriguez. And with another treble haul taking him to eight goals in the month, it’ll come as no surprise that Dominic Calvert-Lewin was an emphatic winner of the West Ham poll.
As we always say, GrandOldTeam.com takes pride in offering the quickest match report service and we encourage all Blues to vote in our Man of the Match polls. Every vote goes towards these Player of the Month awards and the ultimate accolade at seasons end, the awarding of the GrandOldTeam.com Player of the Season trophy.
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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… and a record number of votes cast in a single month !!
In third place, for his outstanding form in the three Carabao Cup ties… Niels Nkounkou.
With some sublime football, a terrific goal and introducing a whole nation of football fans to Everton… James Rodriguez.
After eight goals including two hat-tricks, a first call-up to the England squad and with just under 23% of the total votes cast, our clear winner, and the GOT Player of the Month for September… Dominic Calvert-Lewin.