4.3 C
Liverpool
Thursday, April 18, 2024

Latest Posts

Rafa Benitez’s unbeaten start as Everton manager continues without star striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin

The impressive start for Everton was maintained after a win under the lights at Goodison Park against one of the relegation favourites Burnley.

It was manic seven-minute spell in the second half that won the game for Everton which saw an Andros Townsend wondergoal and another Demarai Gray strike.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin unfortunately wasn’t even in the matchday squad as he had a quadricep injury and broke his toe but in the end, he was not needed as Benitez used a new system.

The first half though was really a poor watch with a clear lack of quality from both sides.

Burnley had more of the ball in the early stages and put Everton under some pressure but rarely threatened the goal.

In the opening ten minutes the only real chance came from an expert cross by Dwight McNeil who is a real danger so often on that left hand side.

He whipped in the ball, and it looked like Chris Wood was going to head it in however Jordan Pickford came out and done enough to put the New Zealand striker off.

After that it was a long time before any more goalmouth action with both sides struggling to make use of the possession they had in the final third.

It took around half an hour for the Goodison crowd to come alive.

Firstly, it was because of a big Burnley chance after a long ball in behind to Chris Wood who helped it onto his strike partner Ashley Barnes for him to lay it off to Josh Brownhill on the edge of the box.

It was a tentative effort from the midfielder with the shot going straight at Pickford with no power.

The crowd were not happy though and aired some discontent which soon transferred to some positive backing as a minute later Everton had their first shot on target.

Abdoulaye Doucoure broke into the box and unleashed a powerful effort at Nick Pope who got a big hand behind it to prevent it from going in the back of the net.

Suddenly Everton were in the game finally, but The Blues could not build on it as nothing much happened for the rest of the half.

Benitez has tweaked it a couple of times at half-time already this season and it looked like he needed to do it again however he did not make a change at the break.

Burnley got the second half underway and within a couple of minutes picked up their first yellow card as Brownhill fouled Andros Townsend on the edge of the box.

The resulting free kick from Lucas Digne ended up in the wall.

Soon after that though the first goal of the game finally came and it was from the away side.

A cross in from Johann-Berg Gudmundsson on the right was headed in from Ben Mee as Everton could not defend the second ball from a free-kick.

It was a simple goal, but it was Burnley down to a tee.

Everton didn’t take long to respond though as Michael Keane scored another header.

Townsend put in a fantastic delivery from the right flank and Keane nodded in against his old club, which resulted in the momentum shifting significantly.

Benitez did tweak the system straight after the goal in as it was clearly not working even though it was all level.

Ben Godfrey, who was making his first start of the campaign, was substituted off for Andre Gomes making it a three-man midfield 

After an hour in Townsend then went and shocked everyone a few moments later as he cut inside on his left foot and unleashed a rocket which dipped over Nick Pope into the top left-hand corner perfectly.

It was the definition of a cracker and Everton finally had the lead with Townsend being at the heart of it.

Not even a minute later Everton’s other new winger Demarai Gray put the game to bed as he was put through in goal by Doucoure with a lovely weighted pass.

A simple finish in the end but Goodison was finally rocking after being mute in the first half.

Yet again Benitez made a tweak and it paid off magnificently.

With just under 20 minutes to go Townsend was certainly not finished as he again cut in from the right after a great diagonal pass from Keane.

It was another thunderous strike, but it met by an unreal save from Nick Pope, in the same phase Andre Gomes missed a sitter after some good build up down the left and the chance for the fourth goal went begging.

Shortly after Burnley had the ball in the back of the net to make it 3-2 but it was disallowed due to foul on Pickford, he had gotten away with one as he found himself in no man’s land.

Salomon Rondon did eventually come on for his debut with ten minutes to go for Richarlison, but it was an uneventful final ten minutes as Everton controlled the game and made sure the three points were theirs.

Rafa Benitez once again showed his tactical worth with brilliant in-game management whilst Townsend announced himself to the Goodison faithful in some style.

The unbeaten start resumed and everyone in the ground will have been going home with a massive smile on their faces as Everton moved up to fourth place

Well, maybe not the away end.

Everton XI: Pickford, Coleman, Godfrey (Gomes 61), Keane, Mina, Digne; Allan, Doucoure; Townsend, Gray (Iwobi 88), Richarlison (Rondon 81)

Burnley XI: Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Gudmundsson (Lennon 76), Westwood, Brownhill, McNeil; Wood (Rodriguez 86) , Barnes (Vydra 76)

READ MORE: Everton season preview

Latest Posts

Don't Miss

Stay in touch

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.