Lightning strikes twice for Everton
In recent months, Everton have proven the victims of an odd trend that has struck on two occasions. This odd susceptibility has seen the Toffees crumble late into games and crucial points lost. Roberto Martinez must be tearing his hair out that lightning has struck twice for his seemingly ill-fated side.
On November 28, Everton despicably relinquished a two-goal lead away to Bournemouth. However, their disappointment was short lived as Ross Barkley scored in stoppage time for the away side, seemingly giving them the victory. Rapturous celebrations proceeded in the visiting end with Martinez’s men certain they had garnered three points.
However, to the shock of all watching, Bournemouth fought back deep into stoppage time to cut Everton’s celebrations short. In extra injury time that rooted from Everton joy, Junior Stanislas headed home a miraculous equalizer to level the affair at 3-3. The Toffees had capitulated so late into the game that the referee practically had the whistle to his lips when the ball rippled the net.
The occurrence seemed so obviously freak, hence the anarchic celebrations that ensued at the Vitality Stadium, that many felt willing to pen the game in the Premier League history books. Bournemouth had pulled off what seemed impossible and Everton had been handed a damaging blow.
To go from such an ecstatic high to such a cringe worthy low so quickly was simply unforeseeable. It couldn’t happen again, could it? Not to the same team, surely?
However, unfortunately for Everton, this week has seen them suffer an identical blow. The Toffees’ confidence has simply been fed into a jet engine on a platinum platter and rightfully so.
Exactly how they had done at Bournemouth, Everton raced into a superb 2-0 lead at Stamford Bridge. Their pacey, agile offensive arsenal sunk their teeth into a Chelsea side that had been hung out to dry by opposition all season long. Yet again though, Martinez’s men surrendered this lead as goals from Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas tied up the affair.
Relatively unknown centre back Ramiro Funes Mori had something to say about this Chelsea fight back though as he seemingly scored the winning goal. His acrobatic, deft touch diverted the ball into the Blues’ net, making the score 3-2, as the game crept into stoppage. Funes Mori appears to be ill-fated however, as his only other Everton goal came in their debacle at Bournemouth, not that’s uncanny.
Now even later than Bournemouth, Chelsea took their turn to strike a bitter blow to Everton. With the fixture rolling towards the 100th minute, John Terry scored a back heel to ignite partisan celebrations in Stamford Bridge. Yet again, Everton had blown it with seconds to go.
The comparisons simply defy belief. On both occasions Everton took a 2-0 lead, relinquished it, scored to make it 3-2 in stoppage time and then conceded an unlikely equaliser in the 98th minute. Moreover, both incidents only occurred so late because of Everton celebrations over what they thought were winning goals.
Roberto Martinez (pictured) must be cursing the stars; it is simply unbelievable that such a bizarre concession of victory would happen twice. The club’s ability to hold its nerve in the deep depths of injury time seem well and truly absent.
Both occurrences saw the Toffees seconds away from would have proven crucial victories. It is such shortcomings as these that see the Goodison Park side unable to clamber into the top half of the table.
Everton are undoubtedly a quality-ladened and entertaining side but the fact lightning has struck twice shows their confidence is frail. The Merseyside outfit are quickly becoming the choke artists of the league with these two unbelievable incidents.
What next for Everton, a third time? Surely not, right?
YJA Senior Sports Correspondent