19 min How! Again, Everton switch the ball left, this time to Sigurdsson, and he has a look the larrups a shot which looks to be flying over and plenty … until it dips mid-swerve and crack the crossbar!
17 min Redmond gets himself at Godfrey again, but this time opts to go inside. The attack continues, the ball comes back to him, and this time he sticks Betrand in behind yerman – he needs help from Doucoure, who I think is the midfielder on that side. This time, though, he escapes when Bertrand’s low cross goes into the side-netting.
16 min …James gets a decent connection and goes around the wall, but McCarthy waits for him, collecting the ball without needing to move. This is a good game so far.
15 min A foul on Calvert-Lewin gives Everton a free-kick 25 yards out, marginally right of centre. Sigurdsson fancies it, but not a chance James is stepping aside, armband or not…
13 min Everton are finding Iwobi constantly, and this time he comes in off the left and drags a shot towards the near post which is deflected just wide. The corner comes to nowt.
12 min Lovely from Southampton, Ings finding Redmond, who runs away from Godfrey – there it is! – then cuts back for Adams, arriving onto it just as you’d like. But he doesn’t make the connection he’s after, bumbling a shot that skips just wide.
11 min Godfrey misplaces a pass and Adams snaffles the loose ball, running away from Allan, but though Ings is moving for him he’s forced backwards and Southampton must build again.
8 min “I was there!” says Richard Adams of the Plymouth-Watford game. “And yes I can confirm that Reilly is hated in Plymouth for scoring against us. Pic: Umbrella Vi. Stood on the halfway line of the Lyndhurst End every home game for decades.”
Can an end have a halfway line? But yes, I love this stuff – my mate’s nan is Man City’s longest-serving season-ticket holder. Here she is.
6 min “The Lomana Lua Lua incident actually led to the introduction of the exclusion rule barring on-loanees from playing against the parent club, as this Guardian article so eloquently explains,” emails Clive Naylor.
It’s one of those that seems counter-intuitive. Of course they should play, but not allowing it guards against skulduggery.
5 min Nice from Everton, Allan spinning and laying back to Keane, who unleashes a gorgeous, er, “diag” to Iwobi. It’s about a yard too long.
4 min “A year to the day since this,” says Andrew Goudie, although that’s nothing compared to Ajax’s tonking yesterday of VVV Venlo (surely the only team with four consecutive Vs in their name).”
Just when I thought we’d managed not to raise it. That will haunt all involved forever.
2 min Southampton win a free-kick out on the left, ideal for Ward-Prowse to swing in, and Calvert-Lewin is up first, but a shout from Keane allows him to escape at cost of a corner.
1 min I feel like Allan is the new Belgium, a player everyone knows and accepts is good, but is discussed like some sort of secret whose contributions are noticeable only to the highly enlightened.
The players take a knee. Let’s support them by donating, educating others and educating ourselves.
“I was on the North Bank when Inchy Heath scored that goal,” says Gary Naylor. “It’s hard to put into words how much the FA Cup meant back then, and the feeling of going to Wembley after being at Elland Road in 1980 watching Frank Lampard run round the corner flag. Happiest of days.”
Yup, I remember. My parents went to the 1983 reply without me (I was deemed too young, aged four) and I’ve never quite forgiven them. And my team winning it the following year remains an extremely special memory. “Manchester United, playing with great pluck and intelligence, this player Hughes coming into it more and more…”
On which point, did we have way better commentators then, whose lines we recall like that, or are we just old with too much football on to allow us to remember any of it?
Oh yes! This from the game in question.
Goodness me! Here’s Mac Millings with further details: “In the other semi-final of the ‘84 FA Cup, the mighty Watford FC defeated Plymouth Argyle by the odd goal. Perhaps the most notable footnote to that game was the reaction of one Plymouth fan to Watford’s goalscorer, George Reilly. Key line: ‘The attacker chewed off one of Reilly’s ears and whispered ‘Plymouth’ into the other one.’”
I remember the game, but I did not know that.
Ralph tells Sky that it’s been a “very intense time with lots of ups and downs,” and recently, performances have stabilised. The team, aren’t as far in development as they think they can be and still have things to improve, but they like to learn and have a good chance to win every game. Today, he thinks, is a good test against a strong side, and though the table doesn’t tell you everything after five games, it’s not a coincidence that they’re top.
“Not sure about the Pennant one,” says Adam Griffiths, “but Lomana Lua Lua scored a last kick of the game equaliser for Portsmouth against Newcastle in 2004, while on loan from Newcastle. For reasons that are unclear, Newcastle hadn’t insisted on a ‘you can’t play against us’ clause. And yes, he did the full celebration.”
Email! “As a neutral Mancunian (who only got Sky recently after hearing Murdoch had left) I’m really looking forward to this. Everton turned a corner this season and Southampton did last season. Both seem to want to control the game rather than sitting back defending.”
Yes, I really like both of these too, and think we’ll see a decent game. One of the reasons the league table is as it is is because of corona, one way and another, but another reason is that almost every club has serious players who can hurt you. Which I guess brings us back to Sky.
What Southampton need to beware is Everton’s attackers darting between the lines of what can be quite a rigid formation, and losing the numbers game in midfield. My guess is that they’ll have made specific plans for dealing with James.
So what’s going to happen in this game? If I was Ralph Hasenhuttl (for avoidance of doubt, I’m not), I’d be looking to get Redmond running at Godfrey wherever possible, but as early as possible too – as in-form him is not something to face at the best of times, never mind out of position, on debut.
Everton, meanwhile, need to beware the press that might stop the playing out, and in Romeu, Allan will find someone who delights in all the same things as him. Yet somehow I don’t think they’ll be friends.
Kieron Dyer then spoke really movingly about those men as his pioneers, leading into a discussion about the dearth of black managers. The lack of Rooney rule, and the lack of desire on the part of the Premier League to institute such a thing, tells us how much we still have to do.
On Sky at the moment, we’re watching a mini-doc on black players in the Premier League years, with Andy Cole, Paul Ince, John Barnes and Troy Townsend. Check it out, it’s really good. All black lives matter, people.
These teams met in the 1984 FA Cup semi-final, at Highbury.
Which ended in the traditional style.
Ancelotti tells Sky that James didn’t train much in the week, but has recovered from his knock. He also says that replacing Gomes with Sigurdsson – who captains the side – was a difficult decision, but he’s been training well and is rewarded for his attitude. Meanwhile, Ancelotti is confident in Jordan Pickford, and hopes his team play with ambition; though they’ve started well, they need to keep at it.
Everton, meanwhile, make three changes: Ben Godfrey makes his first Premier League start for the club, in for the injured Seamus Coleman; Gylfi Sigurdsson is in for Andre Gomes; and Alex Iwobi deputises for the suspended Richarlison. All of which tells us that James Rodriguez is good to go; good.
On which point, I might be misremembering – YouTube is silent on the matter – but didn’t Jermaine Pennant once score the winner for Leeds, when on loan to them from Arsenal?
Stuart Armstrong comes straight back for Southampton, following time out with corona; goodness me, if my experience is anything to go by he’ll find that an extremely taxing endeavour. He replaces Theo Walcott, not allowed to play according to the terms of his loan.
Southampton (a throwback futuristic 4-4-2): McCarthy; Walker-Peters, Vestergaard, Bednarek, Bertrand; Armstrong, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Redmond; Adams, Ings. Subs: Forster, Stephens, Long, Tella, Diallo, Vokins, N’Lundulu.
Everton (a simple complex 4-3-3): Pickford; Godfrey, Mina, Keane, Digne; Doucoure, Allan, Sigurdsson; Rodriguez, Calvert-Lewin, Iwobi. Subs: Olsen, Delph, Nkounkou, Bernard, Gomes, Gordon, Davies.
VAR’s straight man: Kevin Friend
The Premier League is absolute state – and for once, in the best possible way. Everton top, and with this game in hand, is one thing. But if Southampton win today, they move from 13 to fourth, which is to say that this is a whole new ball game.
I’m sure there’s a cheap gag to be made here, about Goodison and the world’s most perpetually indignant crowd, but anyway: Everton have very quickly become very good, and the way they’ve gone about it is telling. Carlo Ancelotti is a very particular kind of manager, who tends to inherit very good but very unhappy players, fortifying them with very good vibes and very minimalist tactics. And that lookslike what he’s done at Everton, finding the right few words for Dominic Calvert-Lewin – “one-touch finishes like Inzaghi” – then giving him, and Richarlison, all the scope that they need to show all that they have. First, he provided them with a happy working environment, then he contracted Abdoulaye Doucouré and Allan to build them a platform, and finally he asked James Rodríguez to decorate it. It’s extremely simple, but it’s also extremely difficult, because if it wasn’t, everyone would do it.
Southampton are slightly different. Like playing for Ancelotti, playing for Ralph Hasenhüttl looks a lot of fun, but with a lot more drilling – pressing triggers, half-spaces, and all that jazz. In the end, though, it works partly because his team run their arses off for him and partly because they have a pair of big, burly, classy centre-forwards, marking whom sounds like the absolute worst way to spend a Sunday lunch.
This should be really good.
Kick-off: 2pm GMT, 3pm BST