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Duncan Ferguson's chest-beating, ball-boy hugging passion inspired Everton to victory over Chelsea but team selection and tactical simplicity transformed Toffees at Goodison Park

Duncan Ferguson inspired Everton to a stunning 3-1 win over ChelseaFerguson celebrated by picking up two ball-boys in incredible display of passionThe Scot's bold selection choices and switch to a 4-4-2 were key to victory

Duncan Ferguson has barely slept in the last 48 hours, such has been his excitement and emotion at the prospect of leading Everton in a Premier League game.

The Scot, a former captain, striker and occasional wreaker of havoc during two spells at Goodison Park that spanned 12 years, was given a thunderous ovation when he emerged from the tunnel as Everton began life after Marco Silva. 

Sportsmail was there to see how it all unfolded...

Duncan Ferguson's chest-beating, ball-boy hugging passion inspired Everton to victory over Chelsea but team selection and tactical simplicity transformed Toffees at Goodison Park

Duncan Ferguson's passion inspired Everton to a stunning 3-1 win over Chelsea on Saturday

Ferguson picked up a ball boy on the touchline as he celebrated two of Everton's goals 

The Scot whipped Goodison Park into a frenzy with his animated display of emotion 


'I know what I am going to do, aye!’ They were Ferguson’s words, just before 2pm on Friday afternoon, as he finished his media briefing. There had not been much time that morning to hatch an elaborate plan but Ferguson was clear in his mind.

He made his mark in terms of selection. Theo Walcott, somewhat surprisingly given how underwhelming he has been, was recalled to play on the right-wing. Tom Davies was taken out, with Ferguson going for the experience of Morgan Schneiderlin and Gylfi Sigurdsson in midfield.

An injury to Yerry Mina meant to Michael Keane and Mason Holgate played in central defence, while it was also a surprise to see Oumar Niasse – a striker cast into the wilderness by several previous managers – appear amongst the substitutes.

Given Ferguson used to proudly wear the No 9 jersey, it was wholly fitting that current incumbent – Dominic Calvert-Lewin – started ahead of Cenk Tosun and Moise Kean.

Ferguson's decision to make several bold selection choices paid off handsomely


It was a throwback afternoon, in many ways. The current fad is to play 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 and managers are now advocates to playing out from the back. Silva, like so many others, demanded all attacks started with a short pass to one of Everton’s central defenders.

The approach looks good when you have players who are comfortable in possession under pressure but Everton’s defence have never given the impression this year that they have wanted to receive the ball when opponents are pressing them close to their own penalty area.

Here you could see Ferguson’s fingerprints. Everton played 4-4-2 and Jordan Pickford did not stand on ceremony, putting the ball as far from his own goal as quickly as possible. It wasn’t route one, by any means, just a sensible approach. What is the sense of putting yourself under pressure?

Everton lined up in a 4-4-2 formation and opted for a more direct and sensible approach


Goodison Park has been hollow but these 90 minutes were a wonderful throwback. The crowd were right behind Ferguson and he tapped into it all, beating his chest, demanding the supporters raise their voices and imploring his players to run.

He celebrated the opening goal – a header from Richarlison that he would have happily scored himself – with three skips down the touchline and a punch of the air but the best moments were reserved for during the second half following Calvert-Lewin’s double.

Two ball boys, on separate occasions, were wrapped in bear hugs as Ferguson sped down the touchline. Ferguson will remember this day forever but those spontaneous gestures ensured those two young boys will have memories to last a lifetime, too.

You only had to see their beaming smiles – and, for that matter, the majority of a sell-out crowd – to see what this meant. Those unbridled snapshots are exactly what football should be. It was a pleasure to see.

Ferguson beat his chest, celebrated with ball boys and roared his players on for 90 minutes 


In a short sentence, it could not have been better. Yes, there were moments of anxiety and times when the crowd shuffled uncomfortably but Everton have been through the mill this miserable autumn, so that was only to be expected.

What mattered more than anything, however, was getting a result. Ferguson would never have forgiven himself if the result had been similar to the 5-2 drubbing the team received at Anfield on Wednesday but he had the players primed to run themselves to a standstill – and that they did.

Everton needed a day like this. Ferguson’s playing career here finished with almost slipping out the back door unnoticed in May 2006 after his contract elapsed. The fans never stopped loving him. Today the relationship has never been stronger.

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