What Everton fans did after the final whistle as Farhad Moshiri’s absence for Arsenal explained – .

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What Everton fans did after the final whistle as Farhad Moshiri’s absence for Arsenal explained – .


If you know your story.
Full time, at the end of an emotionally draining night and as a line was drawn under a miserable winless race, Goodison yelled it out loud.

There was a toxic atmosphere here last week but tonight the Blues could savor the taste of a first victory since September.

But history told us it could happen. A blind optimism too, given the terrible rut in which the players found themselves. And for long stretches of time, this game had looked like anything but bringing relief but rather the accumulation of more misery of a club and fanbase, deep in the mud.

But it was here, in December 2016, after a streak of one win in 10 league games, that Ronald Koeman needed a win so badly.

Arsenal were the visitors. They went ahead. But Everton responded and won it late, 2-1.

It was a rehearsal. This Everton had also won one of their previous 10 in the league, but it was a much more dramatic version. There was so much more at stake given the crisis that has engulfed the club in recent days and weeks. The importance could be greater given the difficulties of this team.

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Koeman’s victory relieved the pressure. Rafa Benitez’s victory could potentially change the course of a season. Potentially.

For the Dutchman that night, Seamus Coleman and Ashley Williams, four minutes from time, scored such a precious victory.

For Benitez, Richarlison, after two goals denied by VAR, and Demarai Gray, in added time, staged the turnaround, capped in the second of six minutes, bolted at the end of a heartbreaking game.

Facing defeat with less than 15 minutes to go, Everton will have felt uncomfortable, but stories of bad luck fall on deaf ears when you’re down.

But Richarlison led the rebound with a shot from Gray, who came back off the bar, before the summer rookie cut through the left side and kicked a shot past Aaron Ramsdale.

Richarlison produced a fierce performance and scored a goal, which you could say as revenge for Benitez accepting him to play in the Olympics.

Gray had already repaid the manager’s confidence with four goals and two assists before tonight. The number five goal of his season, however, was by far the most important.

If Goodison was angry, furious and seething after the loss to Liverpool last week, then, and after another six minutes, it was quite the opposite.

United, provocative and triumphant.

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It’s far too early to say with any certainty or conviction that Everton has passed the milestone, but preventing a winless ninth game – last seen here in Mike Walker’s days – has lifted the gloom, for now .

The supporters will of course remain deeply skeptical but, for this evening at least, the club, its supporters, the players and the manager, can celebrate a victory.

The broader issues some supporters have protested against, leaving their seats in the 27th minute, don’t suddenly go away with a win from behind, but it does give everyone a bit of a breather after what has been a worrying series of games and exhausting. .

Indeed, a few supporters harangued President Bill Kenwright at the end, such are the constant concerns of the club.

But what came out clearly from the performance, even at 1-0 and fearing another loss, was that the players were engaged and, by virtue of that, playing for Benitez.

His decision to take Lucas Digne off the day’s squad, even in good form, doesn’t need a lot of decoding.

There is an obvious tension in their relationship about the team’s playstyle and what is in demand from the left-back.

But if the events of the past two days, and what the club have said following Brands’ departure, tell us, is that Benitez is in charge, and what he says is fine.

Who knows if there is a comeback for Digne after this? It seems unlikely at this point. Benitez will have had plenty of reasons to continue playing Ben Godfrey there after an aggressive and determined display.

Yerry Mina’s return from injury of course lasted just over half an hour. Benitez has big concerns about Mason Holgate but may have to trust him for a start at Crystal Palace on Sunday if he continues to freeze Digne.

These times remain tumultuous at Everton, of course, but a win helps provide some calm for now at least.

More than when Koeman badly needed a win over Arsenal in December five years ago, but the string of results that eventually followed put Everton on track for a seventh place finish.

No one gets carried away after that and the volatile nature of the table means defeat and Everton are back where they don’t want to be. This victory only hoists the Blues to 12th place, we cannot forget that.

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But the hope is that he will rekindle broken confidence and launch into much better form.

Farhad Moshiri, who had to give up his intention to attend this match due to a change in the quarantine rules, said with the utmost conviction that this team will have a much better second half of the season. But he also knew that a victory here was very important.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s absence bit Everton hard and so while the team awaits their return, which is unlikely before Christmas, finding a way to stop the rot was vital.

Calvert-Lewin made his Premier League debut in that victory over Arsenal five years ago. He knows all that history can teach us. Even if he wasn’t playing this time.

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