Branthwaite shines and Calvert-Lewin makes it two goals from two matches to give Everton their first three points in the Premier League since December. 

Sean Dyche made several changes to the Everton starting eleven following a last gasp point earned away at Newcastle, with some tactical decisions and some players missing out. James Garner and Andre Gomes made the start as Onana was not fit to play, and Idrissa Gueye away for personal reasons. Calvert-Lewin was given his spot back in the eleven following the penalty that gave Everton a point on Tuesday, and Seamus Coleman started in place of Ben Godfrey.

Everton controlled the flow of the match early, as Sean Dyche’s side set out to hold possession and make life difficult on the visitors. One of the few chances of the entire match came in the 8th minute following this constant pressure. Dwight McNeil swung in a very well-taken corner that flashed dangerously across the face of goal before going out for a goal kick. Branthwaite, the standout performer on the day, would fashion his own half-chance only seven minutes later. The defender did well to win the ball deep in Burnley’s own half, and he had his sights set for goal, but his shot from distance was pulled well wide of the target.

Burnley began to settle into the match later in the first half, and began to look dangerous down the wings. Branthwaite and Tarkowski made several key interventions during some dangerous play around the toffees’ box by Burnley, with the latter being shown a yellow card late on in the first half as Odobert beat him for pace going down the left-hand side. In what really was truly an abhorrently cagey affair at Goodison Park, it was only right that the one goal of the match came from the effort being put forward by the Everton press. In the second minute of first half extra time, Calvert-Lewin pressed Muric who was readying to clear the ball, and he managed to stick his boot up and redirect Muric’s clearance right back into the goal for 1-0. A great bit of effort from Calvert-Lewin and a much needed goal, as the blues went into the half with the lead in a massive match.

The second-half began just as the first half had been conducted, a rough around the edges affair with neither side able to truly dictate the flow of the match. Following a few more crucial Branthwaite interventions, a now extremely confident looking Calvert-Lewin nearly put the blues ahead 2-0. The striker took the ball off Assignon before driving around O’Shea and driving his effort towards goal, with Muric making a good save to deny the striker. Then just two minutes later, Everton broke again and probably should have scored their second. Ashley Young got down the wing and delivered a great ball into Doucoure, he directed his header towards goal but just wasn’t quite able to control his header with the ball narrowly missing the target from a tight angle.

The match was well and truly changed in the 67th minute, after both sides settled following several Everton chances. Dara O’Shea got beat in the midfield and made a lunging, diving tackle towards McNeil, it was an ugly studs-up challenge and he was awarded a straight red card for his efforts. Following the red card, Calvert-Lewin continued to have a huge influence on the match and had another chance in the 75th minute. McNeil played a ball through to Calvert-Lewin who held his run well, he got to the byline and had a go from a difficult angle and Muric was equal.

Beto and Jack Harrison were brought on as Everton looked to replace thin legs with an albeit slim bench, as Burnley began to put some pressure on. In the 88th minute, a seemingly stonewall penalty for Beto was not given, as Berge brought him down in the box when he was in a dangerous position. However, the missed penalty-shout would not end up costing the toffees, as Burnley’s heavy pressure late on did not find the visitors a goal.

In the end it was three important points for Everton, in a game that absolutely nobody will call a classic in the near future. However, there were plenty of positives for Dyche’s side to take moving forwards. Calvert-Lewin got his second goal in two matches, following a run of 23 without a goal. He looked extremely confident near goal following his goal in the match, and the striker in peak confidence could play a key part in Everton’s relegation fight. A special shoutout to Jarrad Branthwaite as well, as he continues to show that he is one of the brightest young talents in world football. The defender is seemingly everywhere on the pitch all at once, and put in a fantastic shift following a couple small errors in the match at Newcastle in the midweek.

The 4 points in a week for Everton will be a big boost, especially ahead of a run of fixtures that presents the toffees with plenty of opportunities to score points. Following the news on Monday that Everton have received another two-point deduction pending an appeal with the league, it is more important than ever for Sean Dyche and company to continue trying to find their footing as the battle against both the league and the teams around them at the bottom goes on.



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