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Frank Lampard’s worst defeats as Everton manager

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Frank Lampard is the next manager to have been chewed up and spit out by the poisoned chalice that is Everton Football Club.

Defeat to West Ham on Saturday proved to be the final straw, with the former midfielder receiving his marching orders at the start of this week. By doing so, Lampard has become the sixth boss to depart the blue side of the Mersey in as many years.

It was always going to be a challenge for a man that’s yet to prove himself as a head coach, and his tenure was laden with drab performances and even worse results.

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Here are some of the worst defeats Lampard suffered as Everton boss.

Seamus Coleman, Abdoulaye Doucoure

Everton were absolutely spanked in north London / James Williamson – AMA/GettyImages

The Toffees had shown plenty of fight the week prior in a 1-0 home defeat to Manchester City, and Lampard’s stellar record against Tottenham as both a player and manager meant some supporters were optimistic that Everton could upset the odds in this Monday night clash.

The visitors, however, were nothing short of a dire and a Spurs side on the come-up under Antonio Conte took full advantage. Michael Keane set the tone when he booted one into his own net to give the hosts the lead before Jordan Pickford let a rather tame Son Heung-min effort squeeze underneath him.

Harry Kane tripled Spurs’ advantage before half-time and by the 55th minute, they were 5-0 ahead before taking pity on their woeful visitors.

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Frank Lampard

Everton’s FA Cup run ended abruptly / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/GettyImages

We all remember Lampard’s primitive summary of Everton’s FA Cup defeat at Selhurst Park, right?

According to the already under-the-cosh Everton boss, the Toffees had been dismantled in the cup due to a bunch of weak goals.

“Allow a goal from a corner…allow another average goal…then a fluke goal…then another average goal. Take responsibility.”

This was a big chance for the Merseysiders to play in a Wembley semi-final and offer their fans a hint of joy amid a bleak campaign. But, they failed to show up in south London as they were thumped 4-0.

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Maxwel Cornet

Maxwel Cornet struck a late winner for Burnley / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

This was billed as a mammoth relegation six-pointer. Everton had won just once since their drubbing at Spurs and, alongside Burnley, were fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table.

A Richarlison brace from the penalty spot overturned an early deficit in the first-half as the visitors matched their physical hosts in testing conditions. Everton proceeded to enjoy much of the second-half after they were pegged back by Jay Rodriguez just before the hour, but a pair of errors from Pickford and Ben Godfrey allowed Maxwel Cornet to snatch a seemingly crucial winner five minutes from time.

This was the night that many realised Everton were not too big to go down. Relegation was a very real prospect.

Everton's supporters were kicking off on the south coast

Everton’s supporters were kicking off on the south coast / Stu Forster/GettyImages

After eventually clinching survival, Lampard sought to turn things around at Goodison Park at the beginning of the 2022/23 season. However, the Toffees enjoyed a winless start to the new campaign before a goalless draw in the Merseyside derby on matchday 6 ignited a mini-resurgence.

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However, the dark clouds were forming over Lampard’s tenure just before the World Cup as they suffered back-to-back humiliations on the south coast. Bournemouth beat Everton 4-1 in the Carabao Cup just days before they thrashed them 3-0 in the league.

The feeble visitors were bullied by an over-performing Cherries outfit at the Vitality Stadium and the travelling supporters made their feelings very clear at the final whistle as a despondent group of players walked over in appreciation of their support.

Pascal Gross, Jordan Pickford, James Tarkowski

Pascal Gross’ dinked effort was the final nail in the coffin for Lampard / Jan Kruger/GettyImages

This felt like the point of no return.

There had been little to suggest that Lampard was the right man to lead Everton forward either side of the World Cup, but a well-earned point at the Etihad at least offered a glimmer of hope. Still, the Toffees were winless in six games when a dynamic Brighton side came to town and put four past them in a chastening home defeat.

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Goodison Park is meant to be one of the toughest places to go and win in the Premier League, but the Seagulls made the challenge look worryingly simple. Everton inexcusably conceded three goals in six second-half minutes to put the game beyond them as a powerless Lampard watched on in the home dugout.

Despite Demarai Gray’s late consolation, this was a defeat that Lampard was never going to recover from.

Frank Lampard

Lampard’s former club West Ham put the nail in his Everton coffin / Vince Mignott/MB Media/GettyImages

And yet Lampard managed to keep hold of his job for a few more pointless weeks.

He took the Toffees to London Stadium to face fellow strugglers West Ham, with pressure mounting too on Hammers boss David Moyes.

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A first-half brace from Jarrod Bowen proved to be the difference. Fans unfurled flags at full-time protesting against the board. Only a handful of players came over to applaud their support.

It was over.



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Man Utd’s fixture list up to Carabao Cup final including Barcelona & Leeds clashes

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Manchester United reached their first final under Erik ten Hag by securing safe passage through the Carabao Cup semi finals at the expense of Nottingham Forest.

The Red Devils have enjoyed a brilliant run of form after their infamous defeats to Brighton and Brentford to start the season. They’re firmly in the Champions League qualification mix and remain alive in the FA Cup and Europa League.

However, their commitments in cup competitions means Ten Hag faces a tough February as he tries to balance the playing time of a squad that has recently been struck by injuries to key players.

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Here’s United’s truncated schedule leading up to the Carabao Cup final, including some juicy derbies and European fixtures.

Michael Olise, David De Gea

Olise denied Man Utd with a late free kick last time out / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

Fresh from sealing their spot in the Carabao Cup final against Newcastle, United are back into Premier League matters when they host Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Saturday 4 February in a 15:00 GMT kick off.

The two sides duked it out earlier a few weeks ago in their first meeting of the season as a late Michael Olise free-kick earned Palace a point after Bruno Fernandes’ strike just before half time.

Manchester United and Leeds are fierce rivals and the tension between the two teams has risen again following Leeds’ promotion to the Premier League.

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The Red Devils have scored 15 goals in the four meetings in that time, only failing to win once when they were held to a goalless draw in April 2021. The fixture was originally postponed following Queen Elizabeth II’s death in September and will take place on Wednesday 8 February at 20:00 GMT.

Fred, Anthony Elanga

Fred and Elanga struck at Elland Road last season / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

That fixture rearrangement means the two Uniteds will face each other twice in four days.

In this fixture last season, two headless chickens went at it as Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds were downed 4-2 by Ralf Rangnick’s Man Utd. Goals from Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes had the visitors 2-0 up before two goals in two minutes from Rodrigo and Raphinha squared things up.

Substitutes Fred and Anthony Elanga gave the Red Devils all three points. However, they would win only three more league games before the end of the season.

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The stakes are really upped in mid February when Man Utd travel to Barcelona to face the Catalan giants at Camp Nou in the Europa League knockout play-off round.

It’s Barça who hold the edge in recent meetings, having won the past four games between the two sides.

Once they return home from the trip to Catalonia, United have a home game against Leicester to contend with.

The Foxes have endured some turbulent form this season but have mostly been a mess at the back, though the sides were only separated by Jadon Sancho’s strike they met back in September.

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Lionel Messi

A lot has changed since United and Barça last met in 2019 / Etsuo Hara/GettyImages

The return leg of the Europa League knockout play-off round will determine who between United and Barça continue in the continent’s secondary club competition.

United’s last win over Barça came at Old Trafford in 2008 when Paul Scholes scored the only goal of a Champions League semi final tie to send his side to final in Moscow.

Two of the most improved sides this season meet in the Carabao Cup final in late February when Newcastle face Man Utd.

Both sides are eyeing up Champions League qualification and each sit in the top four currently and this meeting could be an opportunity to land a significant psychological blow.

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Player ratings as Catalans pull clear in La Liga

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Barcelona survived a late scare against Real Betis to secure a 2-1 win and at least temporarily extend their lead at the top of La Liga to eight points before Real Madrid play on Thursday night.

Barça went into the game at Benito Villamarin knowing they had the opportunity to start pulling away from their fierce rivals in Madrid. But it took until well into the second half for the breakthrough to come, with Raphinha and later Robert Lewandowski eventually netting.

An own goal from Joules Kounde in the closing stages threatened to make it a difficult end for Xavi’s team, but they managed to see it out. Betis midfielder William Carvalho, who had already been substituted with an hour played, was then sent off for dissent at the game’s conclusion.

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Betis were actually the first to threaten in the contest, seeing Luiz Henrique only narrowly miss an early chance when his shot was deflected just wide by Alejandro Balde.

Pedri had a chance for Barça at the other end not long after, but his touch in the penalty area wasn’t sharp enough and Rui Silva in the home goal got down to pick the ball off his toe.

Silva again denied Pedri after the restart, but Raphinha broke the deadlock in the 65th minute. The Brazilian, whose debut season hasn’t been a rip-roaring success, tapped in from close range after excellent work from Balde down the left flank.

Lewandowski’s ultimately decisive second was from only a little further out, pounced on by the Pole after Ronald Araujo flicked on Raphinha’s cross.

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That cushion was enough for Barça and ensured that Kounde’s own goal mattered little in the end.

GK: Silva (6); RB: Ruibal (7), CB: Pezzella (6), CB: Felipe (6), LB: Abner (6); CM: Rodriguez (6), CM: Carvalho (5); RM: Henrique (7), AM: Fekir (6), LM: Canales (6); ST: Iglesias (6)

Subs: Guardado (6), Juanmi (6), Rodri (6), Jose (5), Sabaly (6)

GK: Ter Stegen (6); RB: Kounde (6), CB: Araujo (7), CB: Chistensen (7), LB: Balde (8); CM: De Jong (7), CM: Busquets (8), CM: Pedri (7); RW: Raphinha (8), ST: Lewandowski (7), LW: Gavi (7)

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Subs: Fati (5), Torres (N/A), Kessie (N/A)

Player of the match – Alejandro Balde (Barcelona)



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Player ratings as Mbappe injury mars routine win

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Paris Saint-Germain’s 3-1 win over Montpellier in Ligue 1 on Wednesday night was marred by Kylian Mbappe limping from the field with a suspected hamstring injury.

The Frenchman wandered off down the tunnel after just 21 minutes, which will no doubt concern PSG’s supporters less than two weeks before the Parisians are due to lock horns with Bayern Munich in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Mbappe’s absence didn’t affect the result of the game, as Fabian Ruiz, Lionel Messi and Warren Zaire-Emery bagged second half goals for PSG, but the Frenchman did have a rather eventful night despite being on the field for less than a quarter of the game.

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After Sergio Ramos was hauled down in the area, Mbappe saw his ninth minute penalty saved by Montpellier goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte, only for VAR to determine that he’d come off of his line too soon.

But Mbappe missed the second spot kick as well, with Lecomte again denying him, before he sunk to the turf 10 minutes later clutching his hamstring.

Messi had a goal chalked off by VAR for offside before the half-time interval as PSG dominated, and it was deja vu eight minutes after the break when Achraf Hakimi also had an effort ruled out by the officials.

PSG weren’t to be denied though, and they took the lead through Ruiz after some good smart build-up play involving Vitinha, Hakimi and Mbappe’s replacement, Hugo Ekitike.

Spanish midfielder Ruiz then produced a sublime assist for Messi’s goal 15 minutes time, linking up nicely with Ekitike before sliding a perfectly weighted pass through to the Argentine. He, inevitably, did the rest by dinking the ball past the impressive Lecomte.

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Montpellier scored in stoppage time to reduce the arrears when PSG could, and should, have been out of sight, and almost levelled the game when the visitors were caught dozing moments later.

Zaire-Emery, aged just 16, sealed the deal to become PSG’s youngest ever goalscorer, but the main worry for Christophe Galtier will be whether Mbappe is fit to face Bayern when the Champions League returns to the Parc des Princes on Valentine’s night.

Warren Zaire-Emery is PSG's bright new star

Warren Zaire-Emery is PSG’s bright new star / PASCAL GUYOT/GettyImages

GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma – 6/10 – Statuesque as Arnaud Nordin pulled a goal back for Montpellier late on. Didn’t have much to do.

RB: Achraf Hakimi – 7/10 – Denied a fantastic goal by the assitant referee’s flag. There are few better full-backs to watch than Hakimi when he’s in full flow.

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CB: Marquinhos – 7/10 – Passing accuracy was on point and seemed to be in full control until a late blip almost cost PSG dear.

CB: Sergio Ramos – 6/10 – Was doing pretty well, even winning a penalty, before an unfortunate clash of heads ended the Spaniard’s night.

LB: Nuno Mendes – 6/10 – Still working his way back to full fitness but got a good hour and a bit under his belt.

DM: Danilo Pereira – 6/10 – Slipped into the back four after Sergio Ramos went off injured – a role he’s becoming increasingly familiar with.

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RCM: Carlos Soler – 6/10 – A little quiet compared to those around him and was often outduelled.

CM: Vitinha – 7/10 – Again impressive in the heart of midfield, playing a key role in PSG’s opening goal.

LCM: Fabian Ruiz – 8/10 – Was in the right place at the right time to give PSG the lead, and then produced a fantasticly weighted pass for Messi’s goal.

ST: Lionel Messi – 8/10 – Denied by VAR in the first half but showed his class to put the game beyond Montpellier. The lead orchestrator of all things good, as per.

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ST: Kylian Mbappe – 4/10 – Missed two penalties and went off injured. Not a night for Mbappe to remember.

Substitutes

SUB: Hugo Ekitike – 7/10 – Gave PSG an outlet up front, and his hard work and endeavour allowed PSG to break the deadlock.

SUB: Renato Sanches – 6/10 – Helped PSG control proceedings after coming on for the injured Ramos.

SUB: Warren Zaire-Emery – 7/10 – Took his goal superbly to become PSG’s youngest ever goalscorer. A real talent.

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SUB: Juan Bernat – 6/10 – A steady but unspectacular 20 minutes or so for the former Bayern Munich man.

Player of the Match: Fabian Ruiz (PSG)





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