On This Day: Toffees’ comeback sparks Silva chase

On This Day
Everton boss Marco Silva admits his players are lacking in confidence but believes they are capable of turning it around.

Back in 2017, Watford squandered a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 Everton - a result that foreshadowed Marco Silva's Hornets' exit to Goodison Park.

Silva took over at Vicarage Road in May 2017, keen to kick on from failing to keep Hull in the Premier League. Despite that outcome at the KCOM, the Portuguese’s reputation had grown, with him cast as one of the bright, young things in coaching.

A decent start at Watford saw his side arrive at Goodison Park sat 11th in the table but there was an undercurrent of unrest heading into the game. Almost a fortnight after Everton had sacked Ronald Koeman, rumblings in the background suggested he was unsettled amid rumours he was the Merseyside club’s favourite to take over.

The 42-year-old put on a stellar audition early on, as Richarlison and Christian Kabasele put his team 2-0 up after 64 minutes.

However, it was an incident just before Kabasele’s goal that changed the game when goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes was forced off with a nasty head gash and his replacement Orestis Karnezis had a far from ideal debut.

The Greek was at fault for Oumar Niasse’s first goal for Everton, before Dominic Calvert-Lewin headed home an equaliser on 74 minutes.

Gomes’ injury contributed to 12 minutes of injury time and soon after the fourth official’s board went up, Leighton Baines smashed in a penalty following a Jose Holebas foul on Aaron Lennon.

All was not lost for Watford and Silva though, Richarlison being brought down by Jordan Pickford in the box. Former Toffee Tom Cleverley stepped up, but the midfielder’s tame effort was dragged wide of the upright.

The result saw Everton caretaker David Unsworth claim his first win in charge and marked a third straight defeat for Watford, a run that contributed to him winning just four of his last 15 games in charge before getting the boot on January 28 on the back of a 1-0 defeat at Southampton.

His sacking was followed by accusations from Watford citing the “unwarranted approach by a Premier League rival” which they felt prompted a “significant deterioration” in his performance. While no club was named, the perception was the those in question’s players wore royal blue shirts, white shorts and white socks.

Although Sam Allardyce was placed in charge of the Toffees, it was expected that the former England boss would be out the door in the summer. Allardyce protested otherwise but his team’s dour style of play earned little favour with the fans and with Silva on the market, the inevitable occurred on the final day of May 2018.

A legal dispute ensued but Everton had their man, the person who would lead the club forward and get the team playing with the swagger envisioned by ambitious majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri.

While Moshiri was convinced by his appointment, others were not. Two years on from seeing his Watford side lose 3-2 at Goodison, and despite spending close to £200m on talent, Silva is in danger of losing his job in L4 with his side 17th in the table having lost six of their opening 11 games.

Victory over West Ham last month and an EFL Cup triumph against his former club may have bought time but the jury remains out.

Whether he turns it around remains to be seen. At both Hull and Watford, the Lisbon-born boss has been accused of looking past his ongoing affairs for potentially better options in the future.

However, if things do not work out for him this time, would another Premier League club take a chance on him?