Frank Lampard struggled to arrest Everton’s slide in just under a year as manager (Victoria Jones/PA)
23 January 2023

Everton’s all-time Premier League goal difference below zero as Lampard sacked

23 January 2023

Everton’s all-time Premier League goal difference turned negative for the first time in over 10 years in the lead-up to Frank Lampard’s sacking.

The Toffees’ goal difference dropped below zero following successive defeats against fellow strugglers Southampton and West Ham, with Sunday’s loss against the Hammers taking their total number of goals conceded to 1,509 in 1,172 matches – compared with 1,506 goals scored.

Their goal difference largely remained negative in the 1990s and early 2000s, before former boss David Moyes – now in charge of West Ham – led them into positive territory with a 3-1 win at home to Southampton on September 29, 2012.

Moyes’ successor Roberto Martinez continued the upward trend until his departure in 2016, around the time that current owner Farhad Moshiri bought his first shares in the club.

Everton’s goal difference hovered around +40 under the next four permanent managers – Ronald Koeman, Sam Allardyce, Marco Silva and Carlo Ancelotti – but has since declined under Rafael Benitez and Lampard.

Everton are the only one of the Premier League’s six ever-present clubs without a positive goal difference.

Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham have all scored far more goals than they have conceded, with Spurs’ goal difference the lowest of the five, at +315.

Lampard’s record the worst since Walker

Lampard kept Everton in the league at the end of last season, but he was largely unable to arrest the slide that started under his predecessor Benitez.

During his time as manager, the Toffees scored 34 goals and conceded 59 in 38 matches, a difference of -25.

Lampard’s side found the net at a slower rate than they did under Benitez, whose reign ended with a record of 24 goals for and 34 against in 19 league games.

Only Mike Walker, who managed just six wins from his 31 league matches in charge in 1994, has a worse goal difference per match than Lampard in the Premier League era.

There are several parallels between Walker’s reign and Lampard’s.

Both took the manager’s job halfway through a season with the club in a difficult position, and both engineered a great escape.

While Lampard ensured survival with a 3-2 win over Crystal Palace in his final home match of last season, Walker was at the helm when Everton beat Wimbledon at Goodison by the same scoreline on the final day in 1993-94.

The matches were eerily similar in the way they played out. Everton went 2-0 down in the first-half on both occasions, before mounting a fightback. The crucial winners came in the final 10 minutes, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin the hero for Lampard and Graham Stuart stepping up for Walker.

Neither manager was able to carry that momentum into the following season, however, with Walker dismissed in November – less than three months into the subsequent campaign – and Lampard only lasting until January.

Moyes a reminder of how things used to be

Lampard’s fate was sealed by Everton’s 2-0 loss at West Ham, a result that left them level on points with Southampton at the bottom of the Premier League.

Hammers boss Moyes, who was also under pressure going into the game, showed the value of giving a manager time during his lengthy tenure at Goodison Park.

The Toffees finished in the top eight in all but two of Moyes’ 11 full seasons in charge, accumulating a goal difference of +65 along the way.

Only Joe Royle and Martinez saw their sides outscore their opponents at a faster rate, albeit for a shorter period.

Royle was manager for 97 league games and Martinez for 113, while Moyes remained at the helm for 427 matches.

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