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Venue: Goodison Park
Premier League
Thursday 26 December 2019; 3:00pm
1 0
Calvert-Lewin 80'
Half Time: 0 - 0 
Attendance: 39,177
Fixture 19
Referee: Anthony Taylor

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Match Report
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  Sidibe (Walcott 90')
  Bernard (Kean 77')
  Richarlison (Davies 86')
  Subs not used
  Gbamin (injured)
  Gomes (injured)
  Iwobi (injured)
  Schneiderlin (injured)
  Bolasie (loan)
  Besic (loan)
  Dowell (loan)
  Garbutt (loan)
  Hornby (loan)
  Kenny (loan)
  Pennington (loan)
  Ramirez (loan)

  Brady (Gudmundsson 68')
  Cork (Long 88')
  Wood (Barnes 74')
  Subs not used

Match Stats

Shots on target

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

1 Liverpool 52
2 Leicester City 39
3 Manchester City 38
4 Chelsea 32
5 Wolves 30
6 Tottenham 29
7 Sheffield United 29
8 Manchester United 28
9 Crystal Palace 26
10 Newcastle United 25
11 Arsenal 24
12 Burnley 24
13 Everton 22
14 Southampton 21
15 Brighton 20
16 Bournemouth 20
17 West Ham 19
18 Aston Villa 18
19 Watford 13
20 Norwich City 12

Match Report

If Marco Silva was reclining somewhere watching this game with his slippers on he might have been nodding ruefully in the second half as Everton struggled to break down a Burnley side who had brought their most defensive of game plans to Goodison Park for Carlo Ancelotti’s first game in charge.

As the contest ticked towards the 80-minute mark, the visitors had failed to register a shot on target but the hosts, who would enjoy almost 70% of the possession overall, had still failed to break the deadlock. As was the case for so much of the Portuguese’s tenure, Everton were dominating the ball but struggling to find the inspiration and penetration in the final third and at times it was all very reminiscent of the previous regime.

There, was however, a fluidity to the Blues’ system today, one which alternated at times between 3-4-3 with Djibril Sidibe in a more advanced right-midfield role and Seamus Coleman tucking into the backline and a more conventional 4-4-2. In addition to an assurance about their possession of the ball overall, there was also greater positional dynamism in Everton’s midfield which allowed Bernard, in particular, to drift into the middle and Richarlison to drop back into the hole creating the space and opportunities for the Blues to quickly break Burnley’s lines in quick transition in a manner that wasn't always the case under Silva.

With a bit more decisiveness and composure in advanced areas, it might have yielded an earlier goal but there were embryonic signs of the flexibility and ideas that Ancelotti can bring to this team. As it was, just when it looked as though the Italian was realising first-hand the shortcomings of the side he has inherited, everything came together with 10 minutes to go for two players who have been shining lights for the Toffees in an otherwise disappointing season.

Sidibé was played in down the right flank and the Frenchman delivered another of his telling crosses that Dominic Calvert-Lewin met with a gloriously old-school diving header that bounced in off the far post to hand Ancelotti his first three points as the Toffees’ boss.

It was nothing more than Everton deserved and had it not been for Nick Pope in the Burnley goal and some tame finishing with headers from the likes of Calvert-Lewin and Yerry Mina, it might have been a more commanding margin of victory. As it was, Ancelotti’s men only needed to produce one moment of their superior quality and the 22-year-old striker supplied it.

Right from kick-off, it was clear that the direct, no-nonsense Everton that had stunned Chelsea so effectively three weeks ago had been replaced by one instructed to retain the ball and play out from the back once more. It made for a few uneasy moments in the early going, with Mason Holgate and Sigurdsson misplacing forward passes and it wasn’t until the fifth minute that the Blues made it out of their own half for any length of time.

They could have been a head shortly afterwards, though, when Yerry Mina won his header at a set-piece, the ball dropped invitingly to Holgate in front of goal but his instinctive prod goalwards was saved impressively from point-blank range by Pope.

With 20 minutes gone, the best interchange of the game thus far saw Richarlison slip Coleman through the defence but he eschewed the opportunity to shoot and the chance went begging before Calvert-Lewin headed another free-kick wide.

Burnley’s disciplined low block was proving an effective bulwark against Everton’s increasing attacking adventure but they were almost carved open by an excellent pass into space for the lively Bernard in a central position and Sidibé was the recipient of the Brazilian’s final pass but he was denied by the keeper who saved his shot with an out-stretched leg.

Chris Wood headed a rare chance for the visitors over at one end while Calvert-Lewin was similarly off target at the other as the first half came to a conclusion.

The second saw the same pattern continue, with Everton enjoying the lion’s share of possession but finding their path to goal blocked by a succession of Claret obstacles. Bernard’s turn and shot was deflected wide, the rampaging Sidibé almost bundled the ball home and Calvert-Lewin planted a header off Fabian Delph’s cross into Pope’s arms.

That was followed by a Coleman shot that sailed narrowly over the bar from distance and a Mina header that was also guided straight at the keeper before Ancelotti finally made his first change, replacing Bernard with Moise Kean with 13 minutes left.

The Italian wasn’t involved in the goal three minutes later but he joined Calvert-Lewin in the celebratory dance, a sign perhaps that he is feeling a little more at home with a countryman in the dugout.

Though the lead was a narrow one, Everton never really looked to be in any danger of giving up the points in the closing stages and they comfortably held out for the win that lifts them into 13th place and within three points of Saturday’s opponents Newcastle in 10th place.

Ancelotti described it as the perfect first game and while it was short on genuine thrills and entertainment, few Blues would argue given the wider context of the season and the key absentees in the squad, particularly in midfield.

Lyndon Lloyd

Matchday Updates

Carlo Ancelotti takes charge of his first match as Everton's manager with Burnley the visitors to Goodison Park in this Boxing Day clash.

Ancelotti provides a full understanding of his new appointment in his effusive programme notes at the official website.

And he has made two changes to the Everton side for his first game in charge of the Blues. The Italian has brought Seamus Coleman and Bernard into the starting line-up. The injured Alex Iwobi and Tom Davies, named on the bench, are the ones to make way following the 0-0 draw with Arsenal.

Ancelotti was given a fine Goodison welcome before the game, Everton kicking off attacking the Gwladys Street end. Noticeably, there was no wild aimless hoof upfield, Everton trying to play it out from the back and down the flank. But head tennis the scrappy physicality led to a Burnley free-kick well delivered they came so close to scoring, Mina heading off the line.

Everton continued to try and play it out from the back, eventually finding space down the right, Richarlison advancing and seeing his shot blocked when Digne was open on his left. Everton won a free-kick that Sigurdsson put on Mina's head that fell nicely for Holgate but he messed up his chance and the chance was gone.

Another fast-paced forward movement was cleared by Burnley for an Everton corner that was defended away. Passing was a lot crisper and more purposeful from Everton, determined to keep possession. Richarlison got another run and was barged over by Brady, for a very tempting set-piece. Digne's left-foot strike spun away off the top of the wall for a corner that was caught by Pope with Bernard incongruously trying to block him.

Everton were trying their best to pass the ball into attacking positions but the close pressing from Burnley defenders denied them the space until Coleman lost his man with a nice turn but then he passed it back into the massed Br=urnley defence rather than lashing a shot at Pope.

Calvert-Lewin was bowled over, and Sigurdsson put the free-kick right on Calvert-Lewin's head but his body position was all wrong and another glorious chance was gone. With a quarter of the game gone, it had been mostly Everton but without the clinical finishing needed to make it count.

Some nice Brazilian play between Richharlison and Bernard was rewarded with a corner but Burnely seemed to have the measure of the best Sigurdsson deliveries. Another chance came from a free-kick, again delivered superbly but defensive header away again.

Some great movement and pace down the middle saw Bernard play in Sidibe who's shot was saved with a desperate lunge by Pope that almost bounced in off a defender but was cleared again.

Digne gave away a free-kick wide right that was delivered perfectly for Wood but it came off the top of his head and well over the Everton bar. Everton's passing was crisp, but Burnley's defensive structure was well-organized and strong, effectively neutralizing whatever the stylish Blues could muster.

Calvert-Lewin brought down a long ball well but was then fouled by Tarkowski, but again it was blocked away, the corner gathered with too much ease by Pope. Everton were clearly under instructions to play out from the back, inviting Burnley to press them.

A great delivery from Digne was perfect for Calvert-Lewin to power hoe a free header but his hopeless technique saw the ball bounce weakly off the top of his head and over the bar, now concept of powering the ball goalward with his neck muscles.

A couple more corners were kept away from Pope but still defended well enough by Burnley who had done their job of keeping a clean sheet against Ancelotti's new charges. Would anything change in the second half as Anthony Taylor blew the whistle before Burnley could take a corner?

Bzurnley restarted the match, the ball spending moSigurdsson was deemed to have fouled, and a deep free-kick from Burnley was headed behind.

Better passing nearly paid off for Bernard, but Sigurdsson and then Sidibe were blocked as the Burnley defense adjusted. But Bernard got a chance to run forward, his shot deflected for a corner that was again headed away by a Burnley man.

Everton were once again turning the screw, but it just wasn't tight enough and they were pushed back. Sidibe got inside his marker but his heavy touch gave Pope the advantage. Burnley finally broke out, Wood free but laying it back for Digne to pick off and deny the chance.

Burnley were getting more adventurous, requiring some strong defending from Everton, who went forward again, Delph clipping a nice ball in to Calvert-Lewin whose weak header was far too soft to beat Pope. An hour gone, when conventional mangers chose to make changes, but Ancelotti had been no different resisting any temptation so far, Everton winning yet another corner that Burnley yet again won in the air.

Under pressure, Everton broke through Bernard thanks to a keen interception and fine pass from Calvert-Lewin but the final ball back deep to Sigurdsson had allowed the Burnley defence to regain its shape and the struggle to break them down resumed.

Bernard was showing some lovely touches and turns but Sigurdsson let him down with an adventurous forward pass straight to a defender. In the next attack, Sigurdsson launched his shot well over the Burnley goal, with still no changes from Ancelotti,

Everton tried another fast break, ut he passing this time was less slick, Coleman's shot came close, just a foot above Pope's bar as the atmosphere became increasingly tense, the crowd agitated but trying to be patient, with only Davies warming up while Burnley made their second change.

Another free-kick, another great delivery from Sigurdsson, another unconvincing header, this time form Mina. At the other end, Pickford was called for supposedly carrying the ball out of the area (he didn't, but no VAR). A free-kick awarded, but no yellow or red card for Pickford.

Moise Kean finally came on but was it too late, with barely 13 minutes left? Sidibe got down the right and delivered a good ball in too close to Pope with Richarlison poaching. Tarkowski was too clever for Kean, whose bulk seemed to lack the required strength.

In the next attack, it finally clicked! A great ball in fro, Sidibe after a very fine ball forward from Sigurdsson, and Calvert-Lewin threw his entire body at this one, just catching enough of it with the top of his head to hit the inside of the far post and bounce along the line, and inside the near post. What a fine goal from Everton and the much-maligned (by me!) Calvert-Lewin.

Richarlison ran in on Pope for a 50-50 ball, that was called as a foul, much to everyone's annoyance. Kean had landed heavily in midfield and needed some treatment. Everton won another corner and Calvert-Lewin leapt higher than anyone else, but his header did not have enough, and flew past the far post.

Richarlison was reluctantly withdrawn for Tom Davies with 5 minutes left as Everton looked to lock the game down. Kean did well to play the ball back for Calvert-Lewin but his awful technique reappeared with a hopeless shot, completely lacking any confidence or commitment.

Everton played out the 4 minutes of added time with some nervous moments to consolidate a very, very important win and 3 vital points in Ancelotti's first and highly significant game of the new era.

Scorer: Calvert-Lewin (80')

Everton: Pickford, Sidibe (90' Walcott), Holgate, Mina, Digne, Coleman, Delph, Bernard (77' Kean), Sigurdsson, Richarlison (85' Davies), Calvert-Lewin.
Subs not Used: Stekelenburg, Baines, Keane, Tosun.

Burnley: Pope, Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Westwood, Cork (88' Long), Brady (67' Gudmundsson), McNeil, Rodriguez, Wood (73' Barnes).
Subs not Used: Hart, Lowton, Drinkwater, Pieters.

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Attendance: 39,177

Michael Kenrick

Match Preview

Carlo Ancelotti takes charge of his first match as Everton's manager with Burnley the visitors to Goodison Park in this Boxing Day clash.

The Italian has had just a few days to instill his preliminary ideas into his new charges since being appointed as Marco Silva's permanent successor last Saturday but it's unlikely he will be making many sweeping changes in terms of tactics or team selection.

Gylfi Sigurdsson and Djibril Sidibé may have returned from illness prior to the goalless draw with Arsenal but Alex Iwobi had to be withdrawn with a hamstring strain and he is likely to be ruled out until the New Year.

He joins Morgan Schneiderlin and Theo Walcott (both calf problems) on the sidelines, restricting the options in central midfield once more to Sigurdsson, Tom Davies and Fabian Delph.

Ancelotti has become renowned for being adapting his strategies to the players in his squad but he was also faithful to a consistent 4-4-2 formation earlier in his managerial career and, seeing how successful it has been under Duncan Ferguson over the past three weeks, he could opt for that setup against the Clarets.

Much might depend on the fitness of Bernard, arguably the only available natural wide player apart from Richarlison. If both Brazilians are fit, Ancelotti could deploy the latter up front with Dominic Calvert-Lewin but even then it would mean playing someone like Davies or Moise Kean out of position wide on the right.

Burnley, who come into the game sitting five places and five points better off than Everton, could have former Blue Aaron Lennon available following illness and Johann Berg Gudmundsson who has recovered from a hamstring injury but Jeff Hendrick, scorer of the only goal the last time these two sides met at Turf Moor in September, is suspended after accruing five yellow cards for the season.

Everton looked dead on their feet last time against the Gunners but hopefully, with a few days' rest over the Christmas period, they will be able to summon a bit more energy and attacking penetration than was the case on Saturday.

Kick-off: 3pm, Thursday 26 December, 2019
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Last Time: Everton 2 - 0 Burnley

Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Sidibé, Holgate, Mina, Delph, Sigurdsson, Davies, Bernard, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin

Lyndon Lloyd

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