October 2021 will likely go down in the annuls of Evertonian history as a month to be best forgotten given a measly return of just one point from a possible nine, and that coming away from Goodison Park.
Since the inception of the Premier League, Old Trafford has been far from a happy hunting ground for Everton and falling behind shortly before half-time to a slightly deflected goal from Martial, the Blues marshalled their injury affected forces and were desperately unlucky not to snatch a late victory. Equilibrium was restored with a blistering counter attack from our own penalty area leading to Andros Townsend smiting a delicious low shot that De Gea couldn’t get to, and the travelling fans erupted and rightly so. The final minutes saw the chance to win it come as Ben Godfrey found, the recently arrived as a substitute, Tom Davies in an ocean of space and Tom unselfishly passed up the chance of game-winning immortality to play in Yerry Mina for a tap-in but, the Columbian was ruled offside and the points were shared.
A fortnight later, thanks to another international break, and David Moyes brought his West Ham side to Goodison. The London outfit had lost their previous two Premier League outings but nevertheless, offered a tough test for the Blues still missing Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Yerry Mina, not back from Columbian national team duty in time to feature. The understrength Blues matched the Hammers all the way but, for one defensive lapse that allowed Ogbonna to steal in to head a Bowen Corner into the far corner for the only goal of the game.
Game three of October was definitely the low point of the season so far as Watford arrived at the Grand Old Lady hoping to end a ‘never won at Goodison’ record but, with new manager Claudio Ranieri looking to maintain his ‘never lost to Benitez’ record. Now with four key absentees, Abdoulaye Doucoure having joined DCL, Richy and Yerry Mina on the injured list, Everton struck early and positively as Anthony Gordon led the charge forward with Demarai Gray on his left to take the pass and play an excellent low cross into the area where Tom Davies arrived to give the Blues the lead inside three minutes. Watford made the most of Everton failing to employ zonal marking properly – how many times have we said that in recent years – and Josh King netted the equaliser before the quarter hour mark.
The second half saw Richarlison welcomed back albeit at the expense of Anthony Gordon who, in my and many others opinions, had had a more than decent game, always looking to go forward and cause Watford problems down their right side. The change though appeared to have been made perfectly as within a couple of minutes, Michael Keane play a diagonal ball into the area and Richarlison dived to send a quality header beyond Foster and the Blues were ahead again. A second change saw Alex Iwobi replace Demarai Gray with just under a quarter of an hour to play, and from that point on, the Blues fell apart defensively. Kucka tied the game up with zonal marking again poorly executed and then Josh King added to two more to mark his return to Goodison with a hat-trick… and Watford went nap as substitute Dennis added a fifth in added-on time to complete a thoroughly miserable afternoon for Evertonians everywhere.
Just sixteen different players pulled on the Everton shirt for the three games in October, further evidence of the injury problems that beset the first team squad with nine appearing in all the games. No fewer than seven – Jordan Pickford, Michael Keane, Ben Godfrey, Lucas Digne, Allan, Andros Townsend and Salomon Rondon played every minute of the three outings.
In terms of the individual Man of the Match winners as voted for by you, the fans on GrandOldTeam.com in October, the winner for the draw at Old Trafford was Abdoulaye Doucoure with Michael Keane winning his first MotM for his efforts in the home loss to West Ham. And that left the hopefully soon to be forgotten home defeat by Watford where that disastrous final twelve minutes took the edge off a fine and MotM vote winning showing from Anthony Gordon.
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With the monthly round-up done and all the other formalities dealt with, polling numbers checked and double checked, it’s time to reveal our top three players for October – and remember, it’s your votes that put them there.
In third place and earning his first PotM podium place, well done goes to Anthony Gordon.
Moving up one step on the podium in October with three more solid performances, second place goes to Demarai Gray.
And that leaves our winner with 26.65% of the total votes polled and the GrandOldTeam.com Player of the Month for October, the congratulations and hurry up back soon messages go to – Abdoulaye Doucoure.