16th May 2021
Everton vs Chelsea
Premier League, Matchday 38, 1500hrs
Marcus stood, arms folded in front of him, whilst his players shook hands. This was a massive game for him. Probably the biggest so far in his managerial career. Their opponents were Chelsea who, themselves, had had a poor season, languishing in 9th. Still, Everton had to better Manchester United‘s result to seal Everton‘s place in Europe’s premier cup competition for the first time since 2005. However, it should have been so much easier, thought Marcus. Their poor form at the end of the season had been a real worry. The hashtag #2outof12 was trending in Merseyside, due to Everton’s two points in the last 4 games. Losses to Brighton & Hove Albion and West Ham United, was interspersed with draws against Manchester United and Leicester City Marcus privately thought it was due to him denying the requests of two players for new contracts. It had caused no end of anger in the dressing room, but both had significant time left on their contracts so Marcus wasn’t budging.
Social media has having a field day as ever
Yeah, thought Marcus, this end-of-season run will haunt him for a while. The whistle went and the game kicked off. Barely five minutes in and news of a goal for Leeds United swept the ground like wildfire. Manchester United‘s relegation-haunted opponents were 1-0 up and cruising. But it was very early and anything could happen.
On 10 minutes, a Chelsea counter attack was stopped in it’s tracks and the ball passed out to Berge, who knocked it short to Tom Davies, just inside his own half. He looked up and launched a long ball over the top for Erling Haaland to chase. And chase he did, picking up the ball in the channel, running into the box and then placing the ball wide of the advancing keeper for it to nestle in the far corner. 1-0 (10)
The crowd went wild. To have that breathing space was everything and even Marcus felt some relief at the cushion. The game was strangely subdued for the rest of the half. Chelsea had nothing to play for in 9th place, so the pace was slow.
Onto the second half and it went pretty much the same as the first, a dull lifeless game. However, the crowd came to life on 65 minutes when the news came through of Leeds United’s second goal of the game against Manchester United. From there, it was a party atmosphere until the end of the game. When the final whistle blew, it was Everton who had qualified for the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League!
Everton 1 – 0 Chelsea
Premier League 2020/21 Final standings
4th Everton: P38 W22 D4 L12 GF72 GA54 GD+18 PTS70