Everton v Southampton
18th August 2018
Danny Ings scores his first goal for Saints
IBO Reporter : channonite
I have to start with an admission, that I am probably a bit 'off message' compared with a lot of comment that I have seen others make on Saints this season. I see a lot of things happening that we just did not see last season, like actual realistic attempts on goal for a start. Unfortunately what I also see is a throwback to the last century, where the forwards are desperately trying to score more goals than the defence are letting in. But, I think there are reasons for that in the first two games.
For me, the Everton game had our fourth and fifth choice central defenders playing. At this moment I rank them - Vestergaard, Yoshida, Bednarek, Hoedt and Stephens. So, I am not going to get too wound up about that position. What did trouble me was the disconnect between the defence and the forwards. JWP looked a whole heap better, but that was balanced by Lamina having one of his headless chicken matches. I would also like to know what on earth has happened to Romeu, who a couple of seasons ago was the only midfielder that you could actually utterly depend on?
Whatever, the issues in defence, which should get better and the problems in midfield, which Armstrong playing on a regular basis might just help, I was baffled to see Austin and Ings playing with Redmond. Redmond is beginning to show the benefit of having a manager who believes in him, he is after all a sensitive soul, but Austin? Really? Ings, Gabbiadini and Redmond makes sense. Austin as a starter makes zero sense to me. Not any more.
Everton under Silva is always going to be an attacking force, particularly with the addition of Richarlison. They went at Saints immediately, but at the same time, they looked almost as vulnerable at the back as Saints. It was clearly going to be a case of which defence leaked the most.
Ings was making his first start for Saints and he looks like what he is, a striker coming back after a long time out, trying to get his timing right. When he has a few games under his belt, he will score a hatful of goals, but today, he missed several decent chances, that he would have converted on another day. Even so, he managed to score a poacher's goal, from right in front of the goal, but I am getting ahead of myself, that was in the second half.
There was a lot of fuss about Silva's attention to detail and I agree that the first Everton goal was very cleverly worked with the two ex-saints, Schneiderlin and Walcott combining from a free kick, which left McCarthy stranded and it was 1-0. The simple fact was that they should have already been a couple of goals up, such was the uncertainty and lack of communication at the heart of Saints defence.
In spite of that, it was almost level, when Ings really should have tucked the ball away, when Pickford made a mistake in trying to collect the ball, following Cédric's shot. He dropped the ball and from no more than six yards out Danny Ings hit the crossbar. That miss was popular with the blue half of Liverpool!
On the half hour, Everton scored again, with Richarlison scoring a header, with the assist coming from Walcott. It was looking all too easy and reminiscent of last season, when too many games were chucked away in the first half.
Half time came without conceding again, although there were a couple of scares, cleared up be McCarthy.
There had clearly been words said at half-time, as Saints looked far more purposeful as the second half got under way and we didn't have long to wait for Ings first goal for Saints. When it came, it was almost an anti-climax, From a JWP corner kick it was flicked on by Lemina at the near post to Ings feet right in front of goal and all he had to do was tap it in. The first of many I hope.
Almost immediately Austin was replaced by Long, as Hughes clearly wanted to pressure Everton with a fresh pair of legs, but it was the home side applying the pressure and there was a let-off for Saints, when Theo Walcott had the ball in the net, but fortunately was offside. Shortly after this he had another chance, but somehow contrived to screw his shot wide of the post.
Gabbiadini replaced Romeu and finally Armstrong replaced the impressive JWP, but Everton managed to see out the game without much further drama.
My glass is still half full. There were plenty of green shoots of recovery after last season's nightmare. My only reservation about this game was the number of Saints bookings - five. On a day when not a single Everton player was booked. We need Vestergaard and Yoshida together at the heart of the defence as soon as possible. In the middle, the resurgent JWP, Armstrong and Lemina (who got his act together in the second half at Everton) look the most effective combination we have at the moment. At the front I am really excited by the potential that Danny Ings brings to Saints. We will be fine this season. Probably…..
Danny Ings impact was not enough to win the game though
18 Schneiderlin (Davies 24')
10 G Sigurdsson
30 Richarlison (Niasse 86')
14 Tosun (Calvert-Lewin 75')
2 Cédric - Booked 44'
5 Stephens - Booked 59'
6 Hoedt - Booked 17'
16 Ward-Prowse (Armstrong 84')
14 Romeu - Booked 36' (Gabbiadini 72')
18 Lemina - Booked 19'
10 Austin (Long 58')
Saturday 18th August
- Walcott 15'
- Richarlison 31'
- Ings 54'
Referee: Lee Mason
- Everton 58%
- Southampton 42%
- Everton 13
- Southampton 15
Shots on Target
- Everton 7
- Southampton 4
- Everton 2
- Southampton 5
- Everton 8
- Southampton 20