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Venue: Turf Moor, Burnley
Premier League
 Sunday 23 August 2009; 3:00pm
Elliott (37')
Half Time: 1-0
Attendance: 19,983
Fixture 2
Referee: Phil Dowd

Match Summary

An unchanged team following Everton's 4-0 win over Sigma Olomouc, and no Joleon Lescott, who is expected to sign for Man City imminently.

An early scare as Burnley attacked down the left, Patterson heading onto the bar in the first minute, Howard saving the rebound.  Moments later, Patterson got another chance and should have scored from another header but he put it wide. 

Everton settled eventually but were being chased and harried by a lively Burnley side. Finally a better attack from Everton n the half-hour, Pienaar scampering across, out to Hibbert who crossed nicely but no-one at the far post.  Baines's corner was headed well by Rodwell and saved well by Jensen.

Another good move from Everton but Hibbert's final cross again  was not good enough. Burnley attacked down the Everton right again and fired in a vicious low cross-cum shot that spun off and it looked like the chance had gone but the ball came to Elliott who calmly looped the ball up over the Everton defence and Tim Howard for a peach of a goal into the bottom corner.  Replay showed it actually spun up with the benefit of a deflection off Neville, so perhaps not so good...

More possession for Everton but no meaningful improvement in terms of penetration in on goal during the second half and so Fellaini was eventually removed after the hour mark  in favour of J, Moyes switching to 4-4-2.  But a stroke of luck for Everton, Hibbert running into the area, looked to be tripped but on closer examination, he dived... albeit very very well!  So up stepped eagle eye Saha, who stroked it... WIDE!!! Un-fucking-believable.

A sweeping move by Everton, Pienaar slotting it across to Jo, who completely messed it up and lost the opportunity.  More attacks from Everton, a great Saha shot just spun wide again. Everton's urgency in attack increased to reflect the dwindling amount of time left to rescue the game, and their inventiveness improved significantly, Cahill getting away from Jensen and setting up Rodwell from distance but it was blocked away for a corner. 

A late free-kick deep in added time was driven hopelessly into the wall by Jo, no Brazilian guile whatever. Try as they might, the 2-1 scoreline Everton needed was simply not happening, and the Blues crashed to another defeat the first time since 1990 they had lost both opening games in the league.

Michael Kenrick

Match Report

You reap what you sow, they say, and for the second season running, Everton appear to have severely and, perhaps, irreparably undermined their season before it had even begun. The failure to address key areas of the team either decimated by injury or obviously in need of improvement over the summer has directly translated into back-to-back defeats in the first two games of the campaign, the first time the Blues have lost their opening two fixtures since the advent of the Premier League.

Things might and probably would given the fact that the home team looked to be tiring after putting in a relentlessly dogged shift of harrying and closing down their supposedly superior visitors have turned out differently had Louis Saha not screwed a 75th-minute penalty wide of the right-hand post but ultimately David Moyes's side suffered from poor execution in the final third and could have few complaints about the result.

Having beaten the Champions, Manchester United at Turf Moor in midweek, newly-promoted Burnley, back in the top flight for the first time since 1976, came into this game with their tails up and they flew out of the traps determined to put Everton's makeshift defence under pressure from the first whistle.

With Joleon Lescott on the verge of completing his 23m move to Manchester City, Moyes was again left with no option but to play Phil Neville in central defence with Joseph Yobo and the weaknesses were exposed after just 34 seconds when Robbie Blake swung in a dangerous cross from the Burnley left and Paterson powered a header that smacked off the face of Tim Howard's crossbar. Fletcher picked up the rebound and fired left-footed, only for Howard to make a one-handed stop to deny him.

The Blues were given another fright shortly afterward when Wade Elliott was allowed to cross from the Burnley right to pick out Paterson between Joseph Yobo and Tony Hibbert but he spurned the gilt-edged chance when he could only glance a header beyond the far post.

Then, with Everton consistently giving up possession with loose passes and completely unprofitable long balls towards Saha and Marouane Fellaini, Burnley got free down the left again with consummate ease but, thankfully, Fletcher volleyed wide of goal.

As is often the case when things aren't coming together from open play, the Blues looked more threatening from set-pieces and after he wasted a decent free-kick opportunity, Jack Rodwell connected with a corner from the left but headed straight at the goalkeeper.

A minute later came Everton's best move of the game so far when Fellaini screwed a perfectly-weighted throughball down the right touchline to meet the Hibbert's run on the overlap. The fullback whipped a teasing cross across the Burnley area and it just eluded Saha as he threw himself at the ball at the back post.

11 minutes before the break, though, the Clarets made the crucial breakthrough and it again came from a cross from the left. Blake was again the supplier and though Elliott mis-kicked in front of Howard's goal, Fletcher was again quickest to pick up the loose ball. He laid it back to Elliott who took the time to look up and then curl a shot off Neville's out-stretched leg and into the top corner. 1-0 and no more than the home side had deserved for doing everything right in the first half.

After a truly shocking half that betrayed a team struggling for confidence and cohesion, Everton could only have got better in the second, but they took another quarter of an hour after the restart to finally get into another gear.

And on the hour mark, Tim Cahill, up to then anonymous except for chasing shadows in front of the Blues' back four, was allowed to advance unheeded into the Burnley area and set himself for a raking left-footer that was carried agonisingly wide by a deflection of a defender.

Though the visitors were now dominating possession, the Clarets showed they were still dangerous when, after 63 minutes, Bikey laid the ball off for Alexander whose low drive took two deflections before sitting up in front of McCann with his back to goal. He cleverly hooked a shot over his shoulder that looked for an instant to be looping over Howard but the American acrobatically palmed it over the crossbar.

With 25 minutes on the clock and Everton looking no closer to grabbing a goal, Moyes pulled his unproductive record signing, Fellaini, off and threw Jo up front with Saha. The difference that both the Brazilian and the formation change made was almost instantaneous suddenly the Burnley defence had two mobile strikers with which to contend.

And within 10 minutes, the Blues's chance to equalise was laid on a plate by referee Phil Dowd. Hibbert, who had been growing with confidence as the game wore on, got involved in a promising attack by taking the ball off Saha's toe and charging into the area with all the menace of a seasoned striker. As the defender came across, though, he tumbled to the turf in a manner that screamed penalty. Television replays would later cast doubt on the amount of contact made but the official had no hesitation in awarding a penalty.

Saha stepped up confidently enough but, trying no doubt to tuck his shot as close to the post as he could, he fired wide of Jensen's left-hand upright to howls of joy from the home faithful who had seen United also miss from the spot on their way to a 1-0 defeat in midweek.

Undeterred, Everton at least kept at it in their search for the elusive leveller and when Cahill slid a perfectly-weighted ball down the channel for Pienaar and he bent a similarly impressive pass around the back of the defence to Jo, it looked as though a terrific chance had opened up. Unfortunately, the striker's second touch was too heavy and it meant he had to check back behind the recovering defence and when he did finally shoot, his effort was blocked.

Saha then smashed a bullet of a shot a whisker wide from 20 yards and Rodwell tried to side-foot home with Jensen stranded too far out of his six-yard box but, again, a claret shirt was in the way and ricocheted behind.

Apart from a couple of late corners and another wasted direct free-kick in injury time, that was pretty much it from a visibly deflated Everton side.

It was a performance that perfectly illustrated how broken is the right side of Moyes's team. Sadly, by the time Hibbert had magically transformed into the attacking fullback we never knew he was, the damage had already been done. Burnley found it all too easy to profit down their left and, again, going forward Osman displayed his usual, frustrating erraticism.

Indeed, Ossie should probably have been withdrawn with 10 minutes left to give Dan Gosling, so often a catalyst from the sub's bench, a chance to create something decisive. Moyes, however, refused to play any more of his cards.

Everton may well bring in new players before the transfer window closes to be frank, they absolutely have to bring in at least the four that Moyes says he is looking for but for the second season running, the delay will almost certainly have cost them a crack at the Champions League. Quite how such a situation has been allowed to happen is as mystifying as the apathy that seems to permeate the supporters who seem caught between and growing anger and their loyalty to the Bill Kenwright board.

Moyes will, of course, take it one game at a time, the next being the second leg against Sigma Olomouc, though it's the trip to unpredictable Wigan Athletic that most eyes will be on as Everton look for their first Premier League points of the campaign.

Lyndon Lloyd

Match Preview

Having partially erased some of the pain from the 6-1 mauling they suffered last weekend against Arsenal by thrashing Sigma Olomouc 4-0 in the first leg of their Europa League playoff on Thursday, Everton look to get their Premier League campaign started in earnest with a tricky trip to face newly-promoted Burnley.

After losing 2-0 at Stoke City on the opening dya, the Clarets stunned reigning Champions, Manchester United, in their first home game back in the top flght with a 1-0 victory on this ground in midweek, signalling, just as Hull City did last season, that they will be no pushover.

If their short trip to Turf Moor turns out anything like their visits to the KC and Britannia Stadia early last season, though — both Hull and Stoke were new to the Premier League a year ago but Everton did well in both physical games, winning the first and drawing the second — Everton might find this weekend's game to their liking.

Certainly Tim Cahill's pre-match comments on EvertonTV suggest that the Blues are ready for an uncompromising encounter and the players will be hopeful that their added bit of guile will be enough to earn them their first win of the new campaign.

Their cause could be undermined significantly, however, if neither Jack Rodwell nor Steven Pienaar are passed fit in late tests on the knocks they picked up against Sigma. Rodwell, a two-goal hero on the night, twisted a knee when falling awkwardly going in for challenge against an opposition player but played another 20 minutes before eventually being withdrawn.

Pienaar apparently suffered bruising to his foot and might perhaps be the more likely of the to start given the nature of their respective injuries but either one would be a huge loss. With Phil Neville almost certain to line up central defence again as Joleon Lescott wraps up his anticipated move to Manchester City, David Moyes will be stretched thin in central midfield.

Mikel Arteta is, of course, still sidelined as he recovers from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his knee and the void left by Segundo Castillo's return to Red Star Belgrade at the end of his loan spell has yet to be filled, leaving the manager with few options in that area of the field.

If Rodwell is missing, one option is to pull Marouane Fellaini alongside Cahill and play Louis Saha and Jo up front; another would be to play Leon Osman in the centre and deploy Dan Gosling wide right. If Pienaar is aso ruled out, the choices are even fewer and may involve giving young Jose Baxter another chance to impress or playing James Vaughan as a makeshift winger.

Jack Rodwell: Thursday's hero is a major doubt because of a knee injury

Burnley will definitely be without captain Steve Caldwell because of a groin injury and Michael Duff is a big doubt with an anlke complaint.

Though the Clarets will be brimming with confidence and precociousness, Everton must be focused on taking full advantage of what is a relatively soft part of their fixture list and take points in these so-called "winnable games". Again, much may depend on who plays and where and whether Burnley attempt to test Neville as the weak-spot in defence with an aerial approach, but the Blues should have enough quality to eke out a victory if they stay focused and retain their self-belief.

Lyndon Lloyd

Match Report

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BURNLEY (4-4-2)
  Blake (84' Guerrero)
  Fletcher (86' Thompson)
  Paterson (79' Eagles)
  Subs not used

EVERTON (4-5-1)
  Neville {c}
  Fellaini (65' J)
  Subs not used
  Arteta (injured)
  Anichebe (injured)
  Jagielka (injured)
  Lescott (attitude)
  Yakubu (injured)

Premier League Scores
Saturday 23 August 2009
Arsenal 4-1 Portsmouth
Birmingham 0-0 Stoke
Hull City 1-0 Bolton
Man City 1-0 Wolves
Sunderland 2-1 Blackburn
Wigan 0-5 Man Utd
Sunday 24 August 2009
West Ham 1-2 Tottenham
Burnley 1-0 Everton
Fulham 0-1 Chelsea
Monday 25 August 2009
Liverpool 1-3 Aston Villa

Premier League Table
Pos Team Pts
1 Tottenham 9
2 Chelsea 9
3 Arsenal 6
4 Man Utd 6
5 Man City 6
6 Sunderland 6
7 Burnley 6
8 Birmingham 4
9 Stoke 4
10 Liverpool 3
11 West Ham 3
12 Aston Villa 3
13 Fulham 3
14 Wolves 3
15 Hull 3
16 Wigan 3
17 Bolton 0
18 Blackburn 0
19 Portsmouth 0
20 Everton 0
After 24 Aug 2009


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