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A WAVE of optimism engulfed Goodison Park as caretaker manager Duncan Ferguson inspired Everton to victory against Chelsea, lifting the Toffees out of the relegation zone.
It was back to basics in one sense as the home side lined up in a 4-4-2 formation, but it turned out to be the perfect plan to defeat the west London side, who couldn’t cope with the forward play of Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Ferguson himself would have been proud of the Richarlison header that opened the scoring from Djibril Sidibe’s cross. Everton noted in their pre-match analysis that there might be space for their full-backs in attack, and Sidibe had two targets to aim for with his cross.
Up front, Calvert-Lewin put himself about, causing problems for the Chelsea centre-backs with his strength and intelligent forward play. He went on to score two goals of his own that could be seen as opportunist efforts — but he put himself in the right spot to take the chances.
“Dominic was a colossus,”said Ferguson after the game.
“He’s a very good player and he’s scored goals when he’s started games. He led the line brilliantly well and wore the No 9 shirt with pride.”
Chelsea pulled one back in the second half thanks to a wonderful volley from Mateo Kovacic. But rather than wilting, Everton showed resilience and eventually added a third. Tom Davies had replaced Richarlison by this time, and his persistence in the opposition box saw the ball eventually fall for Calvert-Lewin to round off the win.
The Englishman’s strike partner also drew praise from his manager. Richarlison showed “unbelievable work rate and it was a tough decision to take him off to be honest,” said Ferguson.
“I was mulling it over in my mind. I kept him on for a while because he's a top player and gives you a top threat.”
With former Bayern Munich boss Niko Kovac in the stands and a number of names linked with the Everton job on a permanent basis, Ferguson may not be favourite to take the role, but he certainly made a good case for doing so here.
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