A Gylfi Sigurdsson brace made amends for an earlier missed penalty, affirming Fulham’s 22nd league loss at Goodison- a record dating back to 1959.
The cliche “a game of two halves” rang true, Slavisa Jokanovic’s side saw the majority of the ball in the first half. Other than a Theo Walcott effort from range, which Fulham keeper Marcus Bettinelli scrambled away, the visitors produced the better goalscoring opportunities in the first-half: Andre Schurrle firing a golden opportunity over the bar and into the Gwladys Street End and Ryan Sessegnon failing to give Fulham’s performance the merit it deserved, smacking the crossbar with just Jordan Pickford to beat just before the half-time whistle.
Marco Silva is no stranger to having to provide inspiring half-time team talks and he seemed to do just that, as Everton ramped up the intensity in the second-half. Playing the majority of their football in Fulham’s half as opposed to their own, Everton were epitomised by the work ethic of Idrissa Gueye- who completed 88% of his passes and completed more tackles that anyone on the pitch (10).
Despite no tangible impact during the game, Dominic Calvert-Lewin won Everton a penalty on 51 minutes as he was bundled over by Denis Odoi. History would repeat itself as just like against Nigeria in the 2018 World Cup, Sigurdsson hit the bar with his one step penalty.
This would give the Icelandic international the chip on the shoulder needed to respond with his best performance so far this season. Four minutes later, Sigurdsson followed up a defensive clearance by a wonderful first time shot on the edge of the box, which curled beyond an onlooking Bettenelli and into the bottom corner.
Passionate celebrations ensued and such passion was translated into Everton’s on field performance. On for Calvert-Lewin, Cenk Tosun headed in his first goal in five, duly obliging to Walcott’s looped cross doubling the Toffees lead on 65 minutes.
Silva’s substitutions paid dividend as Bernard would come off the bench to provide almost immediate impact. Set free down the left hand side, the Brazilian sped away, killed the ball to misguide an oncoming defender, waited, then rolled the path into Sigurdsson to prod home his second of the afternoon and his teams third.
Most definitely atoning for his spot kick miss, man of the match Sigurdsson commented on his mental fortitude to crack on and work harder: “For a minute, I did think it was going to be one of those days. But something inside of me just said to forget about it and move on, I had to be strong enough mentally to go on and score to set something up. Thankfully, I have gone on to score four minutes later.”
The emphatic home win sees Everton overturn two consecutive loses, with the Carabao Cup tie v Southampton awaiting midweek.