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Venue: Gtech Stadium, London
Premier League
Saturday 23 September 2023; 5:30pm
1 3
Jensen 28'
HT: 1 - 1 
Doucouré 6
Tarkowski 67'
Calvert-Lewin 71'
Fixture 6
Referee: Michael Oliver

Match Reports
2023-24 Reports Index
« Previous Arsenal (H)
» Next Aston Villa (A)
  Roerslev (Ajer 61')
  Hickey (Ghoddos 73' booked)
  Janelt (Onyeka 62')
  Lewis-Potter (Olakigbe 89')
  Mbeumo booked
  Subs not used

  Young booked
  Branthwaite booked
  Onana (Danjuma 77')
  Beto (Calvert-Lewin 63')
  Subs not used
  Alli (injured)
  Coleman (injured)
  Gomes (injured)
  Harrison (unfit)
  Maupay (loan)

Match Stats

Shots on target

Premier League Scores
Brentford 1-3 Everton
Burnley 0-1 Man United
C Palace 0-0 Fulham
Luton 1-1 Wolves
Man City 2-0 Nott'm Forest
Arsenal 2-2 Tottenham
Brighton 3-1 Bournemouth
Chelsea 0-1 Aston Villa
Liverpool 3-1 West Ham
Sheffield Utd 0-8 Newcastle

1 Manchester City 18
2 Liverpool 16
3 Brighton & Hove Albion 15
4 Tottenham Hotspur 14
5 Arsenal 14
6 Aston Villa 12
7 West Ham United 10
8 Newcastle United 9
9 Manchester United 9
10 Crystal Palace 8
11 Fulham 8
12 Nottingham Forest 7
13 Brentford 6
14 Chelsea 5
15 Everton 4
16 Wolverhampton Wanderers 4
17 Bournemouth 3
18 Luton Town 1
19 Burnley 1
20 Sheffield United 1

Match Report

It was fleeting, ended by a wayward pass by the otherwise highly effective Dwight McNeil, but towards the end of this hugely satisfying performance against Brentford, Everton were treated to “Olés” from their travelling fans as they competently saw out a 3-1 victory at the Gtech Community Stadium.

Six days ago, this was a collection of players who, at times, seemed incapable of finding each other from five yards away and seemed paralysed when faced with the prospect of trying to play through Arsenal at Goodison Park. Thomas Frank’s Bees may not be of the Gunners’ title-chasing calibre but they’re a very competent team and came into this match week unbeaten, yet there were numerous times where the Toffees played neat triangles and advanced up the pitch in stark contrast to that last outing.

Such are the contradictions and vagaries of this Everton team that is now up and running in terms of picking up their first victory of the season and who finally found the cutting edge up front that was missing against the likes of Fulham and Wolves and, for the most part, the defensive solidity that was absent at Villa Park and Bramall Lane.

Indeed, there was much to admire and be confident about this display from Sean Dyche’s men and it established a blueprint for how the Blues can pick up the points they need this season to stay out of trouble at the bottom. Having two different but effective threats at centre-forward helps, as does having McNeil fit, Amadou Onana in the mood, James Tarkowski looking back to his best, Jarrad Branthwaite imperious at the back, Ashley Young being taken off set-piece duty, and James Garner offering all his versatility in midfield. Add in Seamus Coleman and Jack Harrison and not only does Dyche have options but he also has a very promising first XI if the majority of them can stay fit.

Today, he left the player that hitherto was his top scorer in all competitions, Arnaut Danjuma, on the bench, a decision that appeared, depending on your viewpoint, either questionably bold or nonsensical before the match but which was vindicated in the final reckoning.

Because this wasn’t the expected performance based on classic counter-attacking in the manner of Everton’s last win away from home, at Brighton in May. Instead, the Blues went toe-to-toe with a Brentford outfit visibly diminished by the loss of key personnel like Ivan Toney, Ben Mee, Rico Henry and Kevin Schade who was injured in the warm-up, and secured a win fashioned with domination in midfield, diligent pressing in the opposition half, aerial prowess and some lovely finishing.

They unsettled the Londoners and their fans with an early goal, weathered the setback of losing their lead with almost half an hour gone and with a bit more luck for Doucouré and more composure from Beto in the first half, Everton could have been out of sight by the halfway stage. As it was, they simply knuckled down, maintained the upper hand and got the job done in the second half.

Everton’s start was initially slightly ominous, though, with Ashley Young picking up a booking with just 40 seconds on the clock and Bryan Mbeumo drifting a free-kick wide of goal but the visitors were soon ahead when McNeil won a corner on the left.

Garner’s corner was cleared but Everton won the ball back and the midfielder curled it back in, Tarkowski rose to knock it down in the box to Doucouré. He had smartly rolled off his marker into space and then despatched a crisp half-volley across the goalkeeper and into the far corner to make it 1-0.

McNeil then latched onto Beto’s flick-on and missed the far post by inches with an early effort just before the quarter-hour mark but Everton would have two great chances to double their lead in the space of six minutes.

First, a poor clearance fell straight to Vitalii Mykolenko inside the penalty area but with his weaker right foot he could only shoot straight at Mark Flekken and then when Tarkowski picked Doucouré out with a raking pass into the box, the Mali international took it down and sliced a volley that agonisingly came back off the crossbar.

A minute after that, it was 1-1. The otherwise imperious Jarrad Branthwaite could only hack a loose ball to Vitaly Janelt just outside the Everton area and the German shaped to shoot before sliding it to Jensen whose drilled shot found the net via Jordan Pickford’s glove and the inside of the far post.

The Blues stuck to their task, however, and Dyche will feel as though his side should have gone into half-time ahead. The mercurial Idrissa Gueye slid Beto in with a slide-rule pass eight minutes before the break but the Portuguese scooped his right-foot shot wide of goal.

Then, after Gueye had given the ball away cheaply in his own half and Tarkowski had done well to prevent Keane Lewis-Potter from stealing in at the back post, the Senegalese played Beto in again but the move ended in familiar fashion with the striker’s cross-cum-shot sliding the wrong side of the upright.

Brentford had improved following a subdued and somewhat anxious start but it was Everton who looked the stronger of the two teams after the interval and McNeil had the first chance of the second period but shot at the keeper.

Beto then won a free-kick by touchline which Tarkowski met with another towering header but Amadou Onana couldn’t divert the ball inside the far post before the former Udinese striker dropped a header of his own a yard or so wide.

That would be Beto’s last significant involvement as he was withdrawn in the 63rd minute with the approval of the travelling fans ringing in his ears and four minutes later, it was 2-1 to Everton.

Young’s attempted cross was deflected behind for a corner, Garner swept the resulting set-piece to the edge of the six-yard box where Tarkowski had timed his run and leap to perfection to power it home.

The Bees might have hit back almost immediately were it not for an excellent rearguard action by Everton where first Calvert-Lewin blocked Ethan Pinnock’s shot from close range and then Tarkowski denied Christian Nørgaard amid a meleé of bodies in front of goal.

Then, with 19 minutes left, the visitors wrapped things up. Garner robbed Nathan Collins in a dangerous area from the defender’s perspective, looked up and threaded a beautifully-weighted ball between two other defenders with the outside of his boot for Calvert-Lewin to advance and slot in off Flekken’s leg to make it 3-1.

Pickford got away with an awful clearance when referee Michael Oliver got in the way of Saman Ghoddos as he looked to try and find the empty goal from distance but, otherwise, Brentford looked well beaten and the closing minutes were little more than a formality.

This was timely for Dyche because after such a barren start to the season and last week’s alarmingly poor showing, the knives were starting to come out for the manager. Many would have been eyeing the upcoming home games against Luton and Bournemouth as must-win fixtures that offered the best chance of the team picking up its first win of the Premier League campaign so to have done it on the road will serve as a huge tonic.

Regardless of what happens in midweek in the Cup back at Villa Park, those two home games now carry less pressure but they will also be approached with more optimism now that the players have shown what they’re capable of. Today will provide a shot in the arm to confidence and the return of Calvert-Lewin adds another reason to be optimistic that the Blues can keep their heads above water this season, again with some luck on the injury front.

Lyndon Lloyd

Matchday Updates

Everton outplayed Brentford this evening with Sean Dyche and his men securing their first win of the Premier League campaign.

Seamus Coleman, Andre Gomes and Dele Alli were still out injured with Jack Harrison, having played 45 minutes for the U21s last night in their first win of the season, not quite ready yet for his Premier League debut.

Patterson, Keane, Calvert-Lewin and Danjuma were on the bench, while the Terrible Trio continue in midfield, with Garner starting, hopefully ahead of them but possibly on the wing.

For the home side, Neal Maupay sits this one out because he is on loan from Everton. Schade was injured in the warm-up.

It was a very lively start with Beto almost getting in for a chance before Brentford's first attack was met with a heavy challenge by Young and a very early yellow card.  Doucouré tried to advance with the ball but was lumbering, but at least he won a corner. and from the second or third phase ball, Garner found Trakowski who delivered a brilliant ball forward and a lovely half-volley by Doucoure gave Everton the lead. 

Everton were looking for the ball and trying to attack with Doucoure down the left getting well involved and Onana doing well to intercept but Beto was double-teamed. Brentford looked to build but their possession was a bit laborious and Everton again stole the ball to hold onto it a little bit longer this time before it was lost by Mykolenko.

Beto produced a great headed layoff to McNeil who drove ahead but screwed his shot inches wide of the far post. Garner was caught by what looked like a high tackle but, as Brentford were the home side, he only got a talking to. Everton tried a move through the middle but the ref stopped play when he should have played advantage.   A cross came in off the free-kick but Onana could only head wide. Brentford tried to play out but Everton were good with the high press.

Everton were working hard to force turnovers, but a little too slow and tentative when it came to forward play but a ball did fall to Mykolenko, however, he couldn't fashion a shot.  McNeil tries to advance but his cross evaded both Beto and Garner.

Everton did well to get a decent spell of forward pressure but couldn't fashion a chance despite some good play around the Brentford area. From a long ball, Doucouré got into almost the same spot from where he scored only this time his shot smacked into the bar.

Brentford went up the other end though and Jensen fired past Pickford and in off the the post. The VAR looked long and hard at the moment the ball was played to Wissa, who definitely looked offside, but that was ignored, probably because Brainthwaite's poor clearance meant a different phase and the goal was allowed to stand!

The goal gave the home side a massive lift while it was a huge kick in the teeth for Everton and they rocked back on their heels as Brentford now attacked with force and power. But Everton found Beto and got forward again, although the attack stalled and that allowed the Brentford defence to reform. 

A tremendous drive forward with the ball by Gueye laid on the perfect through ball to Beto who had a fantastic chance to beat Flekken but he mishit it terribly and the ball bobbled harmlessly wide. But Brentford were threatening more and more as they drove forward with shots from Janelt and Hickey.

Beto drove forward again down the left and crossed behind Onana who bizarrely tripped himself up.  At the other end it looked like a second with Mbeumo free and crossing to the far post for Lewis-Potter but a brilliant interception by Tarkowski prevented the shot.  

Everton built up another good-looking attack only for the Gueye to decide it was time for him to make yet another ridiculous attempt at striking the ball goalward. In the next attack, he did better to play in Beto instead, who assumed he would have runners inside the 6-yard area to convert his excellent cross… Nope! 

Another giveaway by Gueye almost caused havoc in the Everton defence with Mbuemo running into Branthwaite. Everton responded with another forward move but Doucouré's header did not find a blue shirt and that ended a half in which Everton had played fairly well but, with better quality, could have gotten three or four goals. 

The second half got underway in somewhat disjointed fashion, neither side able to retain possession. Beto tried a shot from a ridiculous distance. McNeil tried from a bit closer, but straight at Flekken. 

As the hour-mark approached, Calvert-Lewin was readied as Onana tried a difficult header at the far post. Tarkowski planted a great cross on Beto's head but he was too far out and it bounced wide. McNeil did well steal the ball but then shot tamely well wide. And finally Beto was withdrawn for Calvert-Lewin.

Onana showed good spirit to steal the ball off Mbuemo but Everton could not fashion a strike at goal. But they eventually won a corner, McNeil to take but Doucloure getting a talking to as Tarkowski ghosted in with a very fine header to give Everton the lead once again.  

Brentford got into the Everton area for the first time in the second half and absolute chaos followed in a classic goalmouth scramble that Everton incredibly survived. They went up the other end and won another corner that flew inches over Tarkowski's head. 

Garner forced a turnover and powered a great ball through to Calvert-Lewin who shot far too close to Flekken but somehow it spun off Flekken's heel and into the net for Everton's third.

A great moment when a dreadful clearance by Pickford fell to a Brentford player but Micheal Oliver got in his way with Pickford well out of his goal.  Everton still had a lot of work to do despite the unprecedented luxury of a 2-goal lead as the game entered the final 10 minutes.

And it was pretty good game management by the Blues to keep Brentford largely at bay as the clock ticked away 6 more added minutes.  Branthwaite had to come across smartly to stop Olakigbe from scoring and enable a fine if very rare Everton away win.

Brentford: Flekken, Hickey (73' Ghoddos [Y:82']), Collins, Pinnock, Roerslev (61' Ajer), Jensen, Norgaard, Janelt (62' Onyeka), Schade Lewis-Potter, Mbeumo [Y:77'], Wissa.

Subs: Strakosha, Zanka, Yarmolyuk, ( Olakigbe) Brierley.

Everton: Pickford, Young [Y:1'], Tarkowski, Branthwaite [Y:90+1'], Mykolenko, Onana (77' Danjuma), Gana, Doucouré, Garner, McNeil, Beto (64' Calvert-Lewin).

Subs: Virginia, Patterson, Keane, Godfrey, Chermiti, Hunt, Dobbin. 

Michael Kenrick

Match Preview

Everton travel to the Capital for the first time this season to take on Brentford with Sean Dyche and his men still looking for their first win of the Premier League campaign.

The Blues were beaten at home for the third time last week when they went down 1-0 to title-chasing Arsenal and thus far, the only point they have picked up has been on the road at Sheffield United.

There were plenty of positive aspects about Everton's attacking display at Bramall Lane and Dyche will be hoping to build on those at the Gtech Community Stadium in the televised Saturday evening game.

The manager finally has two fit centre-forward options from which to choose now that Dominic Calvert-Lewin is fit again and though Beto started last weekend against the Gunners, Dyche has the option of rotating his strikers or even deploying them together in a 4-4-2.

In his press conference at Finch Farm yesterday, Dyche hinted that he might not have the midfield personnel to pull off a twin-striker formation and Beto's pace on the counter-attack might give him the edge over Calvert-Lewin who looked a little ring rusty coming off the bench last Sunday.

In terms of other attacking outlets, the trip to London comes too soon for Jack Harrison who isn't quite fit enough to make his debut but turned out for the Under-21s this evening to get some minutes under his belt which means Dwight McNeil, Arnaut Danjuma and Abdoulaye Doucouré are likely to round out the forward four ahead of Amadou Onana and Idrissa Gueye.

Seamus Coleman remains some way off being available and André Gomes, who failed to secure a move away during the summer transfer window, has been struggling with injury and is also ruled out.

Brentford, meanwhile, will be without one of their more effective players in Rico Henry who is expected to be out for the remainder of the season after suffering a serious knee injury. Ivan Toney is still working through his long suspension, midfielder Mikkel Damsgaard is doubtful while Neal Maupay is ineligible to face his parent club.

Thomas Frank is able to welcome back Kristoffer Ajer, though, following his recovery from injury as the 11th-place Bees look to win for the first time since their 3-0 triumph at Fulham 19th August, with two home draws and a narrow defeat at Newcastle since. 

The last time these two sides met in this fixture, Everton will have felt as though they could have won under Frank Lampard took but home a valuable point. This time, if they can go one step farther and collect all three points, they could significantly lighten the mood at the club and relieve the enormous pressure that would be on the two upcoming home games against Luton and Bournemouth. 

Kick-off: 5:30pm, Saturday 23 September, 2023
Referee: Michael Oliver
VAR: Graham Scott
Last Time:
Brentford 1 - 1 Everton

Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Young, Tarkowski, Branthwaite, Mykolenko, Gueye, Onana, McNeil, Danjuma, Doucouré, Beto

Lyndon Lloyd

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