Everton News

Abdoulaye Doucoure sums up Everton problem as apology to fuming Gwladys Street backfires

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Everton were beaten 1-0 by Wolverhampton Wanderers at Goodison Park on Sunday but here are some of the moments you might have missed from the game.

Everton were beaten 1-0 by Wolverhampton Wanderers at Goodison Park on Sunday but here are some of the moments you might have missed from the game.

Back in the glory days of Everton’s ‘Holy Trinity’ of Howard Kendall, Colin Harvey and Alan Ball, their midfield would win them games but against Wolves, the Blues found themselves swamped in the centre of the park.

Perhaps Frank Lampard’s side could take a leaf out of the book of their illustrious predecessors and deploy a third man in the engine room.

It worked well against the best team in the land, in Manchester City, but they’ve not truly deployed that system from the start since.

The game largely passed Donny van de Beek and Abdoulaye Doucoure by with the latter in particular having his display scrutinised by many fans as Wolves’ pulled the strings in the engine room.

The former Watford man – described by Lampard as “one of the best midfielders of his type in the Premier League” – enjoyed an impressive start to the campaign but like many of his team-mates, he has struggled for form of late.

One particular passage of play shortly after Wolves had gone ahead, summed up the chasing Everton were being given in this area.

The visitors kept the ball with a run of over 20 passes without a tackle going in from a home player – and their run was only ended by a rash challenge by Doucoure that gave up a free-kick in a dangerous area from which they almost doubled their lead.

Looking for an unlikely scapegoat for Everton’s bright start quickly fading, then how about the antics of Wolves forward Hwang Hee-chan?

Those wishing to defend the South Korean might point out that being clattered by Van de Beek initially caused his injury, that he bravely tried to continue and that he apologised for the delays he was causing, but his antics still conspired to halt the Blues early momentum.

There were lengthy stoppages as Hwang went down on three separate occasions, before getting back up on his feet each time.

After the second call for treatment, the 26-year-old even turned to the Gwladys Street to make a hands-up ‘sorry’ gesture, but that just seemed to make matters worse with the angry and frustrated home crowd who were incandescent by the time he ultimately made way for Daniel Podence, after what seemed to be delays of more than the three minutes of additional time that eventually went up on the board at the end of the first half.

It seemed somewhat harsh that some pointed the finger in Ben Godfrey’s direction after he went in for the aerial challenge with Conor Coady from which the Wolves captain headed the only goal of the game.

In truth, Ruben Neves, who provided the assist, had far too much time and space to pick his spot.

Returning to play in the Premier League for the first time under Lampard, Godfrey at least showed the battling qualities required in what is now very much a relegation dog fight.

The former Norwich City man brought an increased level of physicality that Everton have missed in recent weeks at a time when they were down to the bare bones in the heart of defence, a situation made stark by the manager’s revelation that Michael Keane played at Tottenham Hotspur despite “suffering” with a fever.

On an afternoon in which few in royal blue covered themselves in glory, some of the robust challenges that Godfrey made should not go unnoticed as he and his team-mates are going to show they’re fully committed in the tough weeks ahead.