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Venue: Goodison Park
Premier League
Monday 13 September 2021; 8:00pm
3 1
Keane 60'
Townsend 65'
Gray 66'
Half Time: 0 - 0 
Mee 52'
Attendance: 38,354
Fixture 4
Referee: Martin Atkinson

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  Godfrey (Gomes 61')
  Townsend booked
  Gray (Iwobi 88')
  Richarlison (Rondon 81')
  Subs not used
  Calvert-Lewin (injured)
  Delph (injured)
  Rodriguez (unfit)
  Tosun (injured)
  Simms (injured)
  Broadhead (loan)
  Gibson (loan)
  Kean (loan)
  Nkounkou (loan)
  Virginia (loan)

  Gudmondsson (Lennon 76')
  Brownhill booked
  Barnes (Vydra 76')
  Wood (Rodriguez 86')
  Subs not used

Match Stats

Shots on target

Premier League Scores
Arsenal 1-0 Norwich
Brentford 0-1 Brighton
Chelsea 3-0 Aston Villa
C Palace 3-0 Tottenham
Leicester 0-1 Man City
Man United 4-1 Newcastle
Southampton 0-0 West Ham
Watford 0-2 Wolves
Leeds 0-3 Liverpool
Everton 3-1 Burnley

1 Manchester United 10
2 Chelsea 10
2 Liverpool 10
4 Everton 10
5 Manchester City 9
6 Brighton & Hove Albion 9
7 Tottenham Hotspur 9
8 West Ham United 8
9 Leicester City 6
10 Brentford 5
11 Crystal Palace 5
12 Aston Villa 4
13 Wolverhampton Wanderers 3
14 Southampton 3
15 Watford 3
16 Arsenal 3
17 Leeds United 2
18 Burnley 1
19 Newcastle United 1
20 Norwich City 0

Match Report

Everton came from behind for a second successive home game to eventually sweep Burnley away at Goodison Park which was bouncing by the end of what had at one stage threatened to be a frustrating evening under the lights.

The Blues had toiled through a disappointing first half, playing with a five man defensive formation under Rafael Benitez for the first time, and fell behind early in the second half to a Ben Mee header, a goal that evoked painful memories of a string of home defeats under Carlo Ancelotti last season.

Rather than wallow in impending defeat, however, Everton responded in almost immediate and irrepressible fashion, scoring three goals in six mesmerising minutes — the pick of them coming like a rocket off the boot of Andros Townsend — and coming close to adding a fourth soon afterwards but Abdoulaye Doucouré's effort was ruled out for offside.

The home side's rapid shift in gears put the game beyond Burnley who had enjoyed much the better of the first half as they sought their first victory of the new season. Though they set their stall out early with an ugly challenge by Josh Brownhill on Richarlison and frequently delayed proceedings by dallying with throw-ins, the Clarets actually dominated possession for long periods and played some useful football.

Sean Dyche will feel as though his men should have been ahead by the halfway stage after Chris Wood passed up the chance to head them into a seventh-minute lead that was served on a platter for him by Dwight McNeil's wicked delivery from their left flank.

Wood had another opportunity when Harvey Barnes dummied a cross from the opposite side but the big striker's shot was deflected behind and Mee put a header wide from a corner as Jordan Pickford struggled to deal with the delivery into his six-yard box.

For their part, what early purpose there had been from Everton, who were without the injured Dominic Calvert-Lewin, quickly fell away and the lack of quality or ability to control midfield meant that they were unable to create may openings in the first period.

Their best chance fell to Doucouré off Townsend's pass which the Frenchman took in stride and then fired across goal towards the far corner, prompting an impressive one-handed stop from Nick Pope in the Burnley goal.

Rather than introduce more ideas off the bench where the likes of Alex Iwobi were awaiting the call, Benitez opted only to switch the positions of Michael Keane and Ben Godfrey in his three-man central defence at the start of the second half, one that began in similarly physical fashion as the first as James Tarkowski scythed through the ball and Richarlison, eliciting anger from the Blues' defence.

Three minutes earlier, Brownhill had dragged Townsend down and been booked, with Lucas Digne firing the resulting free-kick off Wood's head in the defensive wall, while Townsend was harshly booked himself by referee Martin Atkinson for felling Charlie Taylor.

Everton initially repelled the free-kick but the ball came back out to Johann Gudmundsson and when he swung it back towards the six-yard box there were three claret jerseys queuing up to nod it home, with Mee stealing in behind Yerry Mina to grab the goal in the 53rd minute.

The equaliser would arrive within seven minutes and just as Benitez was preparing his first change in order to try and alter the course of the contest. A short-corner between Digne and Demarai Gray ended with the latter firing disappointingly into a defender but the ball was retained by the Blues, worked to Townsend on the opposite flank and he whipped a perfect cross onto the head of Keane who just had to guide it past the stranded Pope to make it 1-1 on the hour mark.

Five minutes later, the game had been turned on its head in the same manner Everton had flipped it on Southampton a month ago on the opening day. A mis-placed ball by James Lowton was seized on by Allan and worked quickly to Doucouré who picked Townsend out midway inside the Burnley half.

The winger shaped to go down the outside, cut back inside with a couple of touches and then unloaded a quite magnificent left-foot shot from 30 yards out that crashed into the top corner leaving Pope with no chance.

Just over a minute later it was 3-1 as Burnley's attack following the restart was broken up in Everton's area, Townsend knocked the loose ball to Doucouré who spotted Gray's run through space in the centre-circle and released him with a perfect pass that allowed him to bear down on keeper and bury it past him in front of the ecstatic Park End.

Less than two minutes later, the ball was in Pope's net again, this time converted by Doucouré from close range but the midfielder was correctly adjudged to have been marginally offside.

Townsend went for a repeat of his earlier brilliance with another belter from distance that was searching out the opposite corner of the goal before Pope parried it away and substitute Andre Gomes fired just wide as the hosts threatened to turn it into a rout.

There was a late cameo for another new signing, Salomon Rondon, but Everton were content otherwise by that stage to see out their second 3-1 home win of the campaign and move joint-top on points in the Premier League table.

Lyndon Lloyd

Matchday Updates

Everton's 2021-22 season resumed under the lights at Goodison Park tonight with Rafael Benitez engineering a wonderful win after going behind to a difficult and belligerent Burnley side.

No Calvert-Lewin tonight. And all the talk of James Rodriguez not being fit enough for Rafa Benitez to include him proved to be correct: no Colombian maestro tonight.

Recovering from the hamstring problem gained on International duty with Ireland, Seamus Coleman is declared fit to face the Clarets with no need for a stand-in; Jonjoe Kenny once again on the bench.

Ben Godfrey is back after recovering from a suspected Covid-19 infection and Yerry Mina is also fit, these two joining Keane in a back five while Holgate drops to the bench.

In midfield, Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray should be the primary supply lines for Richarlison who ploughs a lone furrow upfront. Salomon Rondon must wait to make his bow from the bench following his move back to England from China.

Everton got the game got underway in front of a packed crowd under the Goodison lights for the first time in many many months, but they soon gave possession to the visitors and it got very scrappy. A nasty foul from behind by Brownhill on Richarlison inside the first minute was not penalized with the required yellow card... why not?

Everton finally got their foot on the ball and tried to build in the Burnley half but Doucouré's ball forward was overhit for a goal-kick. Then a brilliant ball in from McNeill deserved an easy finish from Wood that he could not pull off, but what a chance. At the other end, Gray fired one at goal but from far too far out, well wide.

Gray picked off a poor headed clearance from Mee and Richarlison spun forward to receive it but too quickly and was offside. Burnley won a couple of corners that did not threaten. Both teams had been thwarted trying to play out from the back and were resorting to long balls forward, but Richarlison was finding it difficult to do much with them.

Some of the play was incredibly scrappy, not one for the purists, while Burnley again showed greater incisiveness, Wood earning a corner that Mee came very close to converting, powering into a group at the far post. Again, Everton tried and failed miserably to play out from the back, with the crowd unimpressed and the game getting played mostly in Everton's half.

25 minutes gone and still nothing to write home about in terms of Everton attacking the Burnley goal... whereas the opposite was almost painfully frequent, Brownhill drilling a low shot at Pickford. Finally, Townsend jinked his way in and Doucouré produced a very difficult strike that Pope saved instinctively. That enlivened the Goodison faithful somewhat: Everton's first meaningful strike, just before the half-hour.

The next Everton attack won their first corner, played short and it never really worked. Mee went down, holding his head, and the Burnley players turned on Richarlison over something. Richarlison was clearly dragged down but Coleman had possession and Atkinson played advantage. Burnley were starting to get rough and physical again, but a fabulous piece of footwork by Richarlison played in Coleman. Doucouré's shot on the cutback was inches wide, and probably would have been ruled out as Coleman had strayed offside.

Burnley had effectively stifled most of Everton's play down the wings, the Burnley players swarming all over them. Even when Everton got freedom and space, Digne fired his cross at the only Burnley man in his field of vision. Benitez was getting quite vocal and animated. Perhaps he would make some key changes at half-time?

No. Burnley were also staying in the same belligerent mindset, Brownhill getting a yellow card for his rugby tackle on Townsend, and a nice free-kick opportunity that Digne disappointingly fired into the wall. Tarkowski went in very strongly on Rcharlison, clearing out ball and man, with no punishment from Atkinson. Digne's free-kick was too easily cleared.

Another awful tackle from behind by Burnley went unpunished but, when Townsend was the culprit, he got the yellow card. Burnley worked it from the free-kick, and Mee met Gudmundsson's quality ball. The goal Burnley had threatened from the start had finally come. Now, surely, Benitez would change something?

No, the horrible pattern of the game simply carried on regardless for nearly 10 minutes before he finally decided on Gomes(!) to be the game-changer. An Everton short corner and Gray's shot was good but blocked away. However, a decent cross from Townsend saw Michael Keane rise to execute an excellent header inside Pope's near post, with Gomes then replacing Godfrey.

The game looked to be stalemated but out of nothing, Andros Townsend produced a fantastic strike from almost 30 yards out, an absolutely wonderful goal.

Momments later (27 seconds!), a brilliant visionary pass from Doucoure to Demarai Gray running through and an accomplished finish for him, giving Pope no chance.

Next up was Doucoure who finished in fine style but he was 3 inches offside! The sea change was put down to Rafa switching from 3 centre-backs to the extra man in midfield, allowing Doucoure, who had set up both go-ahead goals, to get further forward.

Townsend worked space and fired in a massive shot but this time Pope was well up for stopping it with a tremendous save. The ball was worked around Doucoure set up Gomes but he somehow fired wide from a central position in front of Pope.

Burnley did score again but they too had strayed offside. Gomes was then encouraged to shoot from distance but made a horrible mess of it. Gray then got selfish too and had his shot blocked instead of playing in Richarlison. Rondon finally got his debut, coming on in place of Richarlison for the last 10 minutes.

Everton were firmly in control at this point, with Iwobi coming on in place of Demarai Gray, to a fine ovation from the now well satisfied Goodison crowd. It was into added time when Everton played perhaps their best passing move and it deserved a goal that just would not come. At the other end, McNeill warmed Pickford's gloves with a firm strike.

Scorers: Keane (60'), Townsend (65'), Gray (66'); Mee (53')

Everton: Pickford; Coleman, Mina, Keane, Godfrey (61' Gomes), Digne; Allan, Doucouré; Townsend [Y:53'], Gray (88' Iwobi); Richarlison (81' Rondón).
Subs not Used: Begovic, Kenny, Holgate, Gordon, Gbamin, Davies.

Burnley: Pope, Lowton, Taylor, Tarkowski, Mee, Gudmundsson (76' Lennon), Brownhill [Y:47'], Wood (86' Rodriguez), Barnes (76' Vydra), McNeil, Westwood.
Subs not Used: Hennessey, Cork, Cornet, Pieters, Bardsley, Thomas.

Referee: Martin Atkinson
VAR: Kevin Friend

Michael Kenrick

Match Preview

Everton's 2021-22 season resumes under the lights at Goodison Park on Monday night as they entertain Burnley hoping to extend further the good start they have made under Rafael Benitez.

Unbeaten in four matches in all competitions under the Spaniard, the Blues have an opportunity to join the early leaders in the Premier League on 10 points should they be able to pick up another victory in what is only their second home game of the campaign.

It was at this stage of last season, after the first of the disruptive international breaks, that Benitez's predecessor Carlo Ancelotti encountered his first significant bump in the road as what was a 100% start to his tenure evaporated amid four defeats in five matches.

The psychological and physical fallout of the Merseyside derby — Richarlison's suspension, James Rodriguez's injury, and the media furore over Jordan Pickford's collision with Virgil van Dijk — was compounded further by a ban for Lucas Digne and Everton lost their way for a time until they rediscovered some momentum in December.

Though he was badly hamstrung in the transfer market over the summer by Financial Fair Play considerations, Benitez appears to have a lot more continuity on his side, especially now that it looks as though Seamus Coleman will be fit to face the Clarets.

The Republic of Ireland and Everton skipper was withheld from his country's third World Cup qualifier of the international break because of a hamstring complaint but scans at Finch Farm came back clear.

It was feared that Coleman might miss the Blues' clash with the Clarets under the Goodison Park lights, thereby handing Benitez a selection headache at right-back. However, what was described as a muscle complaint by Irish medical staff appears to have cleared up in time for him to be included in the squad.

Benitez also revealed during his pre-match press conference that James Rodriguez has been training with the first team but remains some way short of full match fitness.

That would seem to preclude the Colombian starting the game, which was unlikely anyway given his lack of involvement so far this season, and it remains to be seen if James plays any part on Monday evening even though there will be thousands of fans hoping to see a glimpse of him at some stage off the bench.

His manager explained that Rodriguez will need to fit in with the system and ethos of the team now that it is confirmed that he will remain with the club until January at least.

For his part, James says he is ready if called upon with comments that will sound encouraging to Evertonian ears.

“I've been coming in for a couple of days now, I had four days off,” he was quoted as saying by AS. “I'm preparing myself in case I have to play, I'm ready to do well if I have to play. I'm getting in good shape physically, I'm fine. I'm calm.

“Everton play on Monday, if they want to take me I'm ready, I'm looking forward to playing if it's my turn.

“I'm very happy because the Everton fans have shown me a lot of affection. if I get to play I'll play well as always.”

The clash with Burnley is an intriguing one given how easily Sean Dyche's men won this fixture back in March. It was a game that crystallised once more Everton's struggles playing at home under Ancelotti and the Toffees found themselves 2-0 down before they had even had time to realise they were in a game.

Dyche had primed his charges to come flying out of the proverbial traps and hit Everton hard, knowing that they would find it difficult to work their way back into the contest based on the evidence of the defeats to Fulham, Newcastle and West Ham that had preceded it after the turn of the year.

Ancelotti proved singularly unable to coax a strong performance out of his charges at Goodison — let alone recover from adversity — but Benitez has already overseen one come-from-behind win over Southampton, a potentially significant mental hurdle that has already been cleared.

Preferring to hit teams on the counter or using the space in transition, his team hasn't yet had to break down a stubborn low block of the kind that Burnley usually employ, though, so it will be interesting to see how the sides approach each other in the early going.

New signings Nathan Collins and Maxwel Cornet will undergo late fitness tests but are expected to be involved so Dyche doesn't have any major injury concerns for this one apart from Connor Roberts who is ruled out.

For Everton, Benitez should be able to field his strongest XI, although it remains to be seen what he considers that to be, especially where the centre-halves are concerned. It is anticipated that Ben Godfrey will be fully ready to return after recovering from a suspected Covid-19 infection and Yerry Mina is also fit. Many supporters regard those two as the Blues' best combination in central defence but it's not one that the new manager has been able to deploy as yet.

In midfield, it should be as you were from the win at Brighton with the possible exception of Alex Iwobi coming in for Andros Townsend while Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin should start together up front despite the latter's struggles with a broken toe before the break. Salomon Rondon will wait in the wings hoping to make his bow following his move back to England from China.

Though Burnley are always a handful and difficult to play against, Everton should have too much for them on paper if they can keep Dwight McNeil quiet on the flank and remain vigilant to the aerial threats posed by Chris Wood and at set-pieces. If the Blues' players can get the ball moving between the lines and get wide players behind the full-backs, there will be scope to create enough chances to get the job done.

A win would set things up nicely for a tricky away assignment at Aston Villa before the team heads out on the road again to face QPR in the Carabao Cup in just over a week's time.

Kick-off: 8pm, Monday 13 September 2021 on Sky Sports
Referee: Andre Marriner

VAR: Kevin Friend
Last Time: Everton 1 - 2 Burnley

Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Coleman, Mina, Keane, Digne, Allan, Doucouré, Iwobi, Gray, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin

Lyndon Lloyd

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