Three of the most-discussed Everton assets of recent weeks all played a major part in their side’s 2-2 draw with Watford on Monday night, a match that is the focus of our final Scout Notes of Gameweek 16.
Lucas Digne scored his first goal in an Everton shirt with an injury-time free-kick, Richarlison was on target for the eighth time this season and Gylfi Sigurdsson ended up on zero FPL points after firing a second-half penalty straight at the legs of Ben Foster.
We round up the goals, assists, injury news, Fantasy talking points and manager quotes from last night’s fixture at Goodison Park.
Everton 2-2 Watford
- Goals: Richarlison (£7.1m), Lucas Digne (£4.9m) | Seamus Coleman (£5.2m) own-goal, Abdoulaye Doucoure (£5.9m)
- Assists: Andre Gomes (£5.4m) | Roberto Pereyra (£6.2m) x2
As Lucas Digne‘s (£4.9m) Fantasy owners will be at great pains to tell you, the French left-back’s stoppage-time goal was long overdue.
A needless handball by Christian Kabasele (£4.4m) on the edge of the Watford penalty box presented Digne with the free-kick opportunity he subsequently despatched but if there was an element of fortune surrounding the circumstances of his goal, the former Barcelona defender merited a slice of luck.
On course for nine FPL points in the Merseyside derby before Divock Origi‘s (£5.0m) late intervention and denied two assists in the draw with Newcastle United last week when Cenk Tosun (£6.6m) and Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.5m) spurned the “big chances” he provided, Digne’s previous two Gameweeks had been hard-luck stories.
The Everton full-back looked set for a one-point return in this match, too, only for his late free-kick to hand a ten-point haul to his circa 218,000 Fantasy owners.
Digne could have had an assist to his name as well, when feeding Sigurdsson just before half-time – that chance going the same way as the Icelander’s opportunity last Wednesday when a last-ditch block prevented what looked like a certain goal.
No player on show at Goodison Park yesterday evening created more chances than Digne, who racked up more touches in the final third than all players bar Sigurdsson.
There were positive signs regarding Digne’s understanding with Bernard (£5.9m) on the left flank, too, with the two players linking up well in attack – though both were culpable for the breakdown in communication that led to Watford’s equaliser.
Speaking of his £18m left-back, Silva said:
He has quality, it means personality and character as well. It was an important moment for him and he showed me he is a good player.
In the first goal we conceded, there was a lack of communication between him and Bernard. In these type of moments it’s really important it doesn’t affect him.
Still only owned by 3.6% of FPL managers, Digne faces Manchester City and Spurs next before Everton’s fixtures ease considerably: between Gameweeks 19 and 26 inclusive, the Toffees play none of the “big six”.
Monday’s result was perhaps harsh on the Hornets, who fought back from a goal down and deservedly led after two quick-fire second-half strikes.
Roberto Pereyra (£6.2m) was at the heart of both goals.
The Argentinean winger claimed a “Fantasy assist” when his shot struck the post and bounced in off the unfortunate Seamus Coleman (£5.2m) on 62 minutes, then added another to his name when crossing for Abdoulaye Doucoure (£5.8m) to nod home just over 120 seconds later.
Pereyra had looked off the boil in recent weeks and hadn’t delivered an attacking return since Gameweek 10, but he was at least more eye-catching on Monday evening, forcing a save from Jordan Pickford (£5.0m) in the first minute, nodding an excellent chance wide later in the first half and then rippling the side-netting with a free-kick after the interval.
While Pereyra’s surprisingly high ownership of 14.6% will perhaps largely be accounted for by ghost teams and casuals, the “active” interest in this fixture would have concerned two of Everton’s mid-price midfielders: Sigurdsson and Richarlison (£7.1m).
The former Watford winger was back up front for this meeting against his former employers, as Bernard returned on the left flank.
There have been plenty of column inches on this site and beyond devoted to the pros and cons of Richarlison as an “out of position” striker, but the Brazilian – as he had done against Newcastle last week – certainly displayed predatory instincts in sweeping a first-time shot past Ben Foster (£4.5m) to give Everton the lead on 14 minutes.
The goal was controversial in nature, with the Watford backline hesitating as Theo Walcott (£6.2m) interfered with play from an offside position just before Andre Gomes (£5.4m) supplied the telling pass to Richarlison.
Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) is now the only FPL midfielder to have scored more league goals than the Brazilian winger-turned-striker this season.
Goal aside, this was a “nearly” performance from the pumped-up Richarlison against his old club – be it a heavy touch, a poor choice of pass or an excellent piece of defending from a Watford shirt, the Brazil international found himself in a series of promising positions that almost, but not quite, led to further attacking returns.
For Sigurdsson, however, this was very much a day to forget.
The Icelandic midfielder missed his second penalty of the season when firing straight at Foster midway through the second half, prompting the frustrated former Swansea City talisman into taking a succession of wild potshots at goal in the final quarter of the game.
While this was undeniably a bad day at the office, Sigurdsson’s owners ought to take some solace from the fact that no player on show recorded more attempts on goal, shots in the box, penalty box touches or touches in the final third.
Sigurdsson was at the heart of Everton’s best play in the first half, too, almost slipping Walcott through on goal and then denied a clear goalscoring opportunity by an underhit Richarlison pass.
What may be of some concern, of course, is whether the Iceland midfielder retains spot-kick duties for the Toffees going forward.
When asked about Sigurdsson’s future penalty-taking prospects, Silva said:
Let’s see what we can do and analyse the match. Gylfi is scoring many goals for us. He has all our support.
Kurt Zouma (£5.0m) was the Everton centre-back to miss out this week as Michael Keane (£5.1m) returned to the starting XI, while the cautioned Yerry Mina (£5.4m) was perhaps fortunate to escape a second yellow card and subsequent dismissal when a foul on Isaac Success (£4.6m) went unpunished.
Success was once again fielded alongside Troy Deeney (£5.8m) in attack and the robust Watford strike pair were a handful for the Everton backline, though Deeney wasn’t able to convert the handful of presentable opportunities that came his way either side of the break.
Swedish winger Ken Sema (£4.6m) and 19-year-old Domingos Quina (£4.4m) made their full Premier League debuts for the Hornets and it was the all-action Quina who caught the eye in central midfield, even if his promising display wouldn’t have been of much interest to Fantasy managers.
Javi Gracia said of Quina:
It’s not easy to play your first game his debut [first Premier League start] and he put in a very good performance – an amazing performance. Everybody knows that he’s a very good young player but I think he has a great present and an amazing future as well. He’s one player of this squad and I know he’s always ready to help the team like he did today.
Watford sit near the top of our Season Ticker for the next seven Gameweeks and Gracia was happy to take the recent performances of his side against “bigger” clubs into these more winnable matches ahead.
The Watford boss said:
It was tough to accept because after conceding a goal in the first half and having a good reaction in the second half we’ve played much better. We’ve dominated the game in that moment – scoring two goals – and at the end in the last minutes we’ve conceded another goal and it was a bit frustrating. We are keeping a good level and if we keep playing this way I’m sure in the future we will be able to get better results.
I’m happy with all of the performances we’ve had recently. We’ve played against very good teams; we’ve played against City, Liverpool and it’s not easy to get good results playing against these teams but I think the level of the team has always been high with chances to score and chances to win and like today, we’ve lost a very good chance to win in the last minutes but I’m happy with the performance of the team.
On the fitness front, Will Hughes (£5.0m) and Andre Gray (£6.0m) missed out for the visitors with hip and leg injuries respectively, while Morgan Schneiderlin (£4.3m) wasn’t part of the Everton squad having recently suffered with a leg problem – though his omission could just as well have been tactical.
Everton XI (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne; Gueye (Tosun 72′), Gomes; Walcott (Lookman 66′), Sigurdsson, Bernard (Calvert-Lewin 66′); Richarlison.
Watford XI (4-4-2): Foster; Femenia, Cathcart, Kabasele, Holebas; Doucoure, Quina (Mariappa 90′); Sema (Deulofeu 60′), Pereyra; Success (Chalobah 76′), Deeney.
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