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Venue: Bramall Lane, Sheffield
Premier League
Saturday 26 December 2020; 8:00pm
Sheff Utd
0 1
Half Time: 0 - 0 
Sigurdsson 80'
Attendance: BCD
Fixture 15
Referee: David Coote

Match Preview
Match Summary
Match Report
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  Robinson booked
  Baldock booked
  Burke (McBurnie 46')
  Brewster (Musset 76')
  McGoldrick (Norwood 63')
  Subs not used

  Pickford booked
  Keane (Coleman 66')
  Godfrey booked
  Davies (Gomes 74')
  Gordon (Bernard 55' booked)
  Calvert-Lewin booked
  Subs not used
  Allan (injured)
  Delph (injured)
  Digne (injured)
  Gbamin (injured)
  Gomes (injured)
  Richarlison (injured)
  Rodriguez (injured)
  Gibson (loan)
  Kean (loan)
  Walcott (loan)

Match Stats

Shots on target

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

1 Liverpool 32
2 Everton 29
3 Leicester City 28
4 Manchester United 27
5 Tottenham Hotspur 26
6 Manchester City 26
7 Aston Villa 25
8 Chelsea 25
9 Southampton 25
10 West Ham United 22
11 Wolverhampton Wanderers 21
12 Leeds United 20
13 Newcastle United 18
14 Crystal Palace 18
15 Arsenal 17
16 Brighton & Hove Albion 13
17 Burnley 13
18 Fulham 11
19 West Bromwich Albion 8
20 Sheffield United 2

Match Report

Everton produced the moment of quality they needed to edge their way past struggling Sheffield United and win their fourth Premier League match in a row thanks to Gylfi Sigurdsson's strike 10 minutes from time.

Carlo Ancelotti's injury-hit side had toiled in ugly conditions in South Yorkshire but looked destined to be frustrated in their hopes of moving into second place in the table until substitute Bernard helped create the opening for Sigurdsson to fire home the only goal of the game.

Richarlison was left out in line with the League's concussion protocol, joining James Rodriguez, Lucas Digne and Allan as absentees from Ancelotti's first-choice XI while skipper Seamus Coleman was named among the substitutes despite making his comeback from an injury of his own in the cup defeat to Manchester United on Wednesday.

And that missing creativity was painfully evident during a first half lacking in inspiration and goalscoring opportunities for either team. The Blades thought they were in for a clear-cut opening in the 16th minute as they counter-attacked and Ben Godfrey had to clear off his own goal line but David McGoldrick would have been declared offside had his effort gone in.

Alex Iwobi had a couple of really promising runs at the home defence, one of which worked Aaron Ramsdale in Sheffield's goal for the first time and Godfrey had a shot that hit his own man in Yerry Mina when the keeper fumbled a free-kick but Everton's best moment came from Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

The striker pulled a long pass out of the air with his chest and aimed a volley towards the far corner but just missed the far post with what would have been a quite brilliant piece of individual skill.

Sigurdsson curled an effort narrowly wide and Oliver Burke flashed an effort across goal on the stroke of half-time but the two sides would go into the half-time interval all square.

Everton's lack of coherent build-up play continued into the second period but began to improve once Bernard was introduced in the 55th minute for teenager Anthony Gordon, who had had a hard time getting into the match, and Coleman came on for Michael Keane 10 minutes later.

It didn't translate into clear-cut chances until Bernard knocked a headed half-clearance square to Abdoulaye Doucouré, the Frenchman laid it on again to Sigurdsson and he drilled it into the far corner to finally break the deadlock.

Chris Wilder's side pushed in vain for an equaliser over the remaining 10 minutes plus an additional five added for stoppages but the closest they came was a wayward John Egan cross that Jordan Pickford had to bat over his crossbar and a very late corner that substitute Ollie McBurnie only got a glancing touch on as he flew across goal.

With Everton's rivals for the top four behind leaders Liverpool all dropping points, the win means that the Toffees rise back to second place in the Premier League but now have to negotiate a resurgent Manchester City in less than 48 hours' time.

Lyndon Lloyd

Matchday Updates

Everton look to recover from the disappointment of Wednesday's cup defeat to Manchester United by advancing their claims for European qualification with victory at Sheffield United.

With the available members of his first-team squad further reduced by the enforced absence of Coleman and Richarlison, along with James, Allan and Digne, Carlo Ancelotti finally has to start Anthony Gordon along with the more experienced players who consistently fail to deliver the required end product. Will tonight be any different?

Ancelotti also again wastes a seat on the bench by naming two substitute goalkeepers. For the home side, former Everton captain Phil Jagielka, who once famously played in goal for Sheffield United, is named on the bench. John Lundstram is suspended.

Everton, playing in a rather nice blue and white strip, got things started in wet and blustery conditions at Calvert-Lewin's former home. But the home side won an early corner that needed to be repulsed.

Some intricate Blues passing broke down at Iwobi, but they were trying to get their passing game together, Doucouré next to give it up cheaply.

Davies tried a probing forward pass that was blocked. Iwobi put in what looked like a decent cross for Calvert-Lewin, who ran underneath it, with nothing from Sigurdsson's first corner delivered without challenge to Ramsdale. Brewster almost embarrassed Pickford, blocking a clearance.

A very sloppy giveaway by Sigurdsson saw The Blades almost score, Godfrey clearing it off the line with the linesman flagging for offside. Davies again could only find a red-and-white shirt with his otherwise tempting forward pass.

A decent counter saw Calvert-Lewin on the wing picked up the ball but showed too much of it to the defender. Iwobi then took the chance for a shot that Ramsdale had well covered.

A long ball up to Calvert-Lewin from Keane saw a brilliant chest trap, the paintbrush volley too straight and flying the wrong side of the angle. A free-kick after Holgate was caught saw Ramsdale fumble and it needed a Pinball Wizard to finish amidst the mayhem that ensued, The Blades finally saved by getting a free-kick.

Gordon played his part in trying to create an opening with some nice triangular play but Doucouré lost the ball. Iwobi and Davies were getting a lot of the ball but finding it hard to get a decent ball into the Blades area.

Iowbi danced through 5 defenders with some nifty footwork but could not fashion a shot, neither could Gordon. Sigurdsson lashed a shot from outside the area wide of the far post. Mina's long ball asked too much of Anthony Gordon.

Davies lost a 50/50 decision and Burke, with the final kick of the half, shot across the Everton goal from a very narrow angle that may have taken a fingertip from Pickford to keep it out.

The game was pretty open after the resumption, Sheffield United trying something different with long throw-ins for the Everton defence to deal with. But Everton were not really being challenged, yet seemed unable to ratchet up the tempo to the degree needed to force a result.

It appeared that Gordon had not done enough for Carl Ancelotti, Bernard replacing him just 10 mins into the second half, but would he provide the spark that was so obviously missing?

Everton finally built an attack and won a corner, Holgate glancing it on, beyond Calvert-Lewin's stretching reach. When they finally worked the ball goalward again, Holgate unleashed a wild shot miles off target.

Sigurdsson wasted another set-piece with a lazy over-hit ball, and Coleman strangely replaced Michael Keane. The home side then won a corner that fortunately was directed well over the Everton goal.

Sigurdsson fired his next set-piece direct to Ramsdale, the Blues strangely reluctant to really press their advantage in terms of player value and apparent superiority. Would Gomes be the man? Carl having a laugh, obviously, as he replaced Davies.

Amazingly, something like a flowing attack materialized... and then just as quickly evaporated with Bernard's poor ball, after Calvert-Lewin should have powered through on his own.

Finally an almost fluid movement looked to break through but it was recycled back to Coleman and then played through Bernard and Doucouré to Sigurdsson who fired a perfect strike just inside the far post to finally show the ambition needed to win this game.

The Blades tried to respond but Everton's defence held firm. They did win a corner that was driven across and then blazed over by Stevens. Godfrey decided to waste some time and got himself a silly booking. Iwobi won a late corner as 5 mins were added but they decided to fart around with the ball in the corner, leading to pressure for the Blades.

There were plenty of danger moments as the final minutes were played out, Pickford also getting booked for time-wasting, McBernie firing wide at the death, but the Blues stuck it out to take home all the Boxing Days spoils.

Scorer: Sigurdsson (80')

Sheffield United: Ramsdale, Baldock [Y:71'], Basham, Egan(c), Robinson, Stevens, McGoldrick (63' Norwood), Ampadu, Osborn, Brewster (76' Mousset), Burke (46' McBurnie).
Subs not Used: Jagielka, Bogle, Lowe, Fleck Verrips, Sharp

Everton: Pickford [Y:90+3], Holgate, Keane (67' Coleman), Mina, Godfrey [Y:89'], Iwobi, Doucouré, Davies (74' Gomes), Gordon (55' Bernard [Y:81']), Sigurdsson (c), Calvert-Lewin [Y:51'].
Subs not Used: Olsen, Lössl, Kenny, Tosun, Nkounkou, Branthwaite.

Referee: David Coote

VAR: Chris Kavanagh<

Michael Kenrick

Match Preview

Everton look to recover from the disappointment of Wednesday's cup defeat to Manchester United by advancing their claims for European qualification with victory at Sheffield United.

In stark contrast to their impressive 2019-20 campaign, one which ended with a ninth-place finish and plaudits from across the game for Chris wilder, the Blades went into this Christmas sitting at bottom of the Premier league table and without a win in 14 matches.

That makes this Boxing Day clash prime “banana skin” territory for Everton who have an annoying propensity to hand first victories to winless teams and goals to strikers struggling through barren runs. Hopefully that has changed under Carlo Ancelotti because three points for the Toffees would make it four league wins on the bounce and keep them right up amongst the leaders.

The Italian will again be without James Rodriguez whom he has ruled out of the last two games of the year and possibly into early 2021. Also missing could be Richarlison if it was decided by the club's medical team that the Brazilian suffered a concussion in his collision with Eric Bailly in Wednesday's Carabao Cup defeat to Manchester United.

Ancelotti said that Everton would abide by concussion protocols and leave Richarlison out of the trip to Bramall Lane and suggested that it would present an opportunity for “the players that did not play a lot. For this game, they can show their qualities.”

The manager has hinted as such before, particularly in reference to Niels Nkounkou, only for the Frenchman to continue to be left out of the squad, but if he intends to give game time to some more fringe players, the likes of Anthony Gordon, Bernard and Cenk Tosun could benefit, particularly if Ancelotti intends to give a rest to Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Sheffield United, who be without a key man of their own in Sander Berge, have struggled for goals this season but scored twice against Man United nine days ago and almost claimed their first win of the season at Brighton last Sunday, only for the Seagulls to deny them with a very late equaliser.

That modest improvement will give Wilder's men encouragement and it means they will be no light touch, especially on their own turf.

Kick-off: 8pm, Saturday 26 December, 2020
Referee: David Coote

VAR: Chris Kavanagh
Last Time: Sheffield United 0 - 1 Everton

Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Holgate, Godfrey, Davies, Doucouré, Bernard, Iwobi, Gordon, Calvert-Lewin

Lyndon Lloyd

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