Player ratings as Toffees hang on for crucial win
Everton held on for a relentless victory away from Leeds, with two first-half goals placing them fifth in the Premier League.
The game plan for both sides was clear from the start. Leeds were at ease from the first whistle, but Everton’s organized pressing caught the hosts off guard and got them to take the lead after nine minutes through Gylfi Sigurdsson. Leeds picked up the pace after falling behind and moved closer to Ezgjan Alioski and later Pascal Struijk, but to no avail.
Despite all of their possession, however, Leeds struggled to on the ball when pressed by the visitors and eventually fell apart due to naive defense. They conceded a second after 41 minutes when Dominic Calvert-Lewin finished with a corner kick, sending his side at half-time with a two-goal cushion.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side caught up with sleeping Everton after the break, and got back into the game thanks to Raphinha after 48 minutes. The Toffees were against the ropes afterwards but despite all of Leeds’ dominance, however, an equalizer did not come and the game opened again in the final 15 minutes.
Calvert-Lewin should have got the points for his side with five minutes remaining, but Illan Meslier denied the England international one-on-one. It didn’t matter, however, as the Toffees were clinging to victory.
Here are the ratings of your players on Elland Road.
Illan Meslier (GK) – 5/10 – Comfortable with the ball at his feet and fairly decent distribution. There was little he could do to stop either of Everton’s two goals and had to remain vigilant to deny Calvert-Lewin belatedly.
Luke Ayling (RB) – 6/10 – I had a hard time escaping the press at times, but overall it wasn’t a bad performance.
Pascal Struijk (CB) – 4/10 – Caught sleeping and failed to shield the front post which allowed Digne to slide the ball over the goal for Everton’s opener. Fought to defend crosses and set pieces everywhere; too common a problem for Leeds this season.
Liam Cooper (CB) – 5/10 – Well come out of defense and provide another outlet when Kalvin Phillips was ruled out of the game, but he had to be better defensively because he’s, well, a center-back.
Ezgjan Alioski (LB) – 5/10 – Alioski came close to scoring a goal for the contender of the season in the first period. His hard, low volley with his left foot broke the post in a well-worked corner. So unlucky.
Kalvin Phillips (DM) – 6/10 – Was looked at at times like a hawk by Gylfi Sigurdsson which limited his impact, but Phillips did well to create opportunities for his team nonetheless.
Raphinha (RM) – 7/10 – The Brazilian has been Leeds’ most creative player and has teamed up well with Ayling on the right flank. Missed the final product in the first half, but got his goal in the second.
Mateusz Klich (CM) – 4/10 – A bad return to the side for Klich, who crossed the first half in a walk. Equally disappointing in the second half and was replaced by Tyler Roberts accordingly.
Stuart Dallas (CM) – 5/10 – Dallas has worked tirelessly for Leeds and, although his last pass lets him down at times, his desire to come back and defend has redeemed him somewhat.
Jack Harrison (LM) – 5/10 – Entirely pedestrian in the first half, but saw more ball after the break and gave Mason Holgate a headache.
Patrick Bamford (ST) – 5/10 – Despite all of their possession, Leeds were unable to pick Bamford in the first half, who was swallowed up by Everton’s defense. He fought hard, however, and forced Mason Holgate into error to get his side on the scoresheet.
Tyler Roberts – 5/10
Pablo Hernandez – N / A
Helder Costa – N / A
Robin Olsen (GK) – 8/10 – A number of comfortable but important saves to escape the pressure from Leeds and keep his team in the lead in the first half. Made a huge triple stop on time to keep the Toffees in the lead again. A brilliant performance from Olsen in his third league start.
Mason Holgate (RB) – 4/10 – Holgate struggled at the right-back and was caught being too cute on the ball in his own box which helped Raphinha to score. The weak link of the night.
Yerry Mina (CB) – 7/10 – Bright header to defend a dangerous corner at the start of the first half. Was everywhere after the break to cover Holgate on the right flank.
Ben Godfrey (CB) – 8/10 – Mature and focused performance by Godfrey who remained vigilant in his own box, but also produced a clever film to help Everton’s second.
Lucas Digne (LB) – 6/10 – Digne looked a little closer to himself against Leeds, after a series of below par performances. He struggled at times to contain Ayling and Raphinha’s overload, but made good progress himself.
Abdoulaye Doucoure (CM) – 7/10 – The Frenchman kept the ball brilliantly in possession and anticipated the game well by defending, tracking sinking deep into his own 18-yard box.
André Gomes (CM) – 6/10 – The performance of midfielder André Gomes, who kept pace in midfield for his team. Always available to receive the ball and recycle the game under pressure.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (AM) – 8/10 – The Icelandic international had a good game, keeping Phillips quiet but providing the goods when needed. A well-taken goal gave his team the advantage and a perfect corner doubled him.
Alex Iwobi (RW) – 6/10 – Well pressed outside the ball which left his team on goal several times. However, Iwobi must do more when in possession.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (ST) – 7/10 – The 23-year-old ended a seven-game scoreless poachers-style streak, taking off at the back post to put away a movie. Vital objective for him and his team.
Richarlison (LW) – 6/10 – Always dangerous in the race for defenders with the ball, but Richarlison could have done more to sometimes ease the defensive pressure on Lucas Digne.
Michael Keane – N / A
Joshua King – N / A
Tom Davies – N / A