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Venue: Stadium, City
Premier League
Saturday 18 Month 2021; 3:00pm
West Brom
0 1
Everton
 
Half Time: 0 - 0 
Richarlison 65'
Attendance:
Fixture 26
Referee: Darren England

Match Preview
Match Summary
Match Report
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WEST BROMWICH ALBION
  Johnstone
  Furlong booked
  O'Shea booked
  Bartley
  Townsend
  Yokuslu booked
  Gallagher (Robson-Kanu 78')
  Maitland-Niles
  Pereira
  Philips (Snodgrass 78')
  Diagne
  Subs not used
  Button
  Grant
  Ajayi
  Sawyers
  Peltier
  Livermore

EVERTON
  Pickford
  Holgate booked
  Keane
  Godfrey
  Digne
  Iwobi (Allan 58')
  Doucoure (Sigurdsson 64')
  Gomes
  Bernard (King 84')
  Richarlison
  Calvert-Lewin
  Subs not used
  Virginia
  Tyrer
  Nkounkou
  Onyango
  Broadhead
  Unavailable
  Coleman (injured)
  Davies (injured)
  Gbamin (injured)
  Olsen (injured)
  Rodriguez (injured)
  Branthwaite (loan)
  Gibson (loan)
  Gordon (loan)
  Kean (loan)
  Simms (loan)
  Tosun (loan)
  Walcott (loan)

Match Stats

Everton
Possession
48%
52%
Shots
11
11
Shots on target
3
3
Corners
3
3

Premier League Scores
Tuesday
Man City 4-1 Wolves
Wednesday
Burnley 1-1 Leicester
C Palace 0-0 Man United
Sheff United 1-0 Aston Villa
Thursday
Fulham 0-1 Tottenham
West Brom 0-1 Everton
Liverpool 0-1 Chelsea


1 Manchester City 65
2 Manchester United 51
3 Leicester City 50
4 Chelsea 47
5 Everton 46
6 West Ham United 45
7 Liverpool 43
8 Tottenham Hotspur 42
9 Aston Villa 39
10 Arsenal 37
11 Leeds United 35
12 Wolverhampton Wanderers 34
13 Crystal Palace 34
14 Southampton 30
15 Burnley 29
16 Brighton & Hove Albion 26
17 Newcastle United 26
18 Fulham 23
19 West Bromwich Albion 17
20 Sheffield United 14

Match Report

They say that the ability to win ugly when it’s required is the sign of a good team. If that’s true then this Everton side under Carlo Ancelotti is turning into a very good one. It’s just that they look anything but at times and this hideous yet hugely gratefully received win over Sam Allardyce’s West Bromwich Albion was further evidence that whatever this is, it’s littered with talent, is confoundingly inconsistent, yet capable of grinding out results with maximum efficiency. It’s taking years off the life of it’s supporters in the process with these stressful, razors-edge matches but hopefully the pay-off will be worth it in the end!

In the final reckoning, these two sides had exactly the same number of shots (11), efforts on target (3) and corners (3) over 90 minutes and but for a stray foot in stoppage time, would have ended precisely even on goals scored as well. One team has its eyes on the Champions League and the other is desperately trying to drag itself to Premier League safety but the margins were disconcertingly fine on the night.

But ultimately, Everton briefly occupied fourth spot at the end of it, they currently sit five points off second place with a game in hand and travel to fourth-placed Chelsea on Monday knowing that they tend to perform better on the big occasions against the big teams. This evening at the Hawthorns, against Big Sam’s potential spoilers, was all about three points however they could be achieved so as to keep the club in and around the Champions League places.

In that sense, as was the case against Southampton on Monday when the Blues managed just one shot on target all game, it was job done; move on. For the third match in succession, a Richarlison goal proved decisive and at other end, Jordan Pickford’s tour of redemption continues with another fine display in which he was, perhaps, as instrumental in securing the points as his Brazilian team-mate.

The key to this victory, however, might well have been Ancelotti’s first two second-half substitutions and his insistence that Gylfi Sigurdsson take the all-important corner that led to the goal rather than Lucas Digne. Everton were visibly labouring when the decision was made to introduce Allan and Sigurdsson to the fray within six minutes of each other either side of the hour mark. The Brazil international midfielder had been withheld from the starting XI as a precaution following his return after three months out against Saints just three days ago but his ability to sit at the base of a diamond and patrol in front of the back four made an enormous difference.

Sigurdsson, meanwhile, replaced the tiring Abdoulaye Doucouré and not only made an almost immediate impact with an assist for the goal but provided plenty of cover dropping back to help out his defence as well. It was another important contribution from a player finally showing his importance to the squad on a consistent basis.

Ancelotti’s starting line-up had been a nod towards rotation and an opportunity to hand Bernard and Alex Iwobi rare starts while James Rodriguez, Tom Davies, and Seamus Coleman remained sidelined with the minor knocks that kept them out against Southampton. Iwobi was deployed as a wing-back opposite Lucas Digne ahead of back three of Michael Keane, Ben Godfrey and Mason Holgate but despite being a willing runner, the Nigerian struggled to impact the contest in the final third, guilty — but by no means alone — of poor end product.

Indeed, Everton’s delivery into the box was pretty awful, particularly in the first half and, as has become standard in recent weeks, the opposition were finding men in forward areas with a good deal more ease. Mbaye Diagne was the beneficiary of one chipped cross into the box from Conor Gallagher and the Senegalese striker’s header might well have found the top corner had Jordan Pickford not leapt brilliantly to bat it away with his opposite glove.

This was the first time Allardyce had come up against his former club and his new charges seemed determined to prove a point on his behalf with an enterprising opening. Diagne had another chance in 17th minute after André Gomes had become the latest Everton player to give the ball away in what was a sloppy opening from Ancelotti’s side but, thankfully, he hooked the ball over the bar.

The Toffees finally settled around the midway point in the first half and when Dominic Calvert-Lewin chested the ball off to Richarlison, the latter forced the first save from Sam Johnstone with a heavily deflected shot that was routine to gather.

Godfrey had a shot of his own deflected wide after a rampaging freight train-esque run from the back before a really nice move of rare penetration involving Bernard and Calvert-Lewin ended with Richarlison’s shot being blocked and sent spinning onto the roof of the net.

The best chance of the half came eight minutes before half-time, though, when a ricochet landed fortunately for Calvert-Lewin but, having seized on the loose ball, he could only shoot straight at Johnstone who stopped the effort with his leg. Richarlison then had the last chance before the interval when the keeper comfortably saved his scuffed shot from just inside the penalty area.

As they had done the first, West Brom started the second half in the ascendency with three early chances, the first for Matheus Pereira was saved low by Pickford, the second was squandered by Diagne when he nodded Darnell Furlong’s flick-on over from close range and the third was when Conor Gallagher flashed a shot dangerously across the face of goal from the angle.

Everton were struggling for tempo and fluidity and it wasn’t until the subs were made that they made the decisive breakthrough, albeit following a set-piece. Sigurdsson’s corner was cleared back to him by Diagne and the Icelandic international had time to curl a beautiful cross back into the six-yard box where Richarlison powered home a header.

A later chance for Calvert-Lewin provided by Lucas Digne from the left that the striker scooped over was really the only other opportunity that the Blues carved out as they dug in to resist a late assault from Allardyce’s team.

And with Godfrey racking up defensive blocks and clearances as the most visible bulwark against West Brom’s late charge, it that looked as though the home side’s efforts would be fruitless until a momentary lapse in concentration almost cost Everton in the dying moments. Keane lost Diagne as the ball came in from the Baggies’ right and the on-loan striker controlled it well before sweeping into the top corner and wheeling away in delight at a last-gasp equaliser.

Thankfully for Everton, the referee’s assistant had spotted that the forward was offside and a check by Video Assistant Referee, Michael Oliver, confirmed that Diagne’s foot had been ahead of the last defender and Everton escaped with all three points.

With every victory, the belief is clearly strengthening in this Everton side even if, again, the margins have been razor thin and the performances something of an examination of supporters’ psychological endurance. Even accounting for key injuries, you still feel the team is playing well within itself and that bodes well for when Ancelotti will need them to dig a little deeper in the coming weeks in order to achieve something truly remarkable.

With 12 games left and no one else, apart from Manchester City and Chelsea, showing much consistency in results, the door remains open for the Blues if they can just keep on winning. The trip to Stamford Bridge looks a challenging one given how well Thomas Tuchel has settled into life down there but Everton will fancy themselves against anyone at the moment. And that’s all you can ask for at this stage of the season.

Lyndon Lloyd

Matchday Updates

Everton ground out another low-key away win at West Brom thanks to a great header by Richarlison for his 4th goal in 4 games after Sigurdsson came on.

without long-term absentee Jean-Philippe Gbamin as well as Fabian Delph and Yerry Mina. James Rodriguez, Tom Davies, Seamus Coleman and Robin Olsen were assessed during training today. None of them play any part in this game, with Iwobi and Bernard given a run-out.

Ancelotti chose not to rotate in the forward area, where Josh King is still waiting to make his first start and has to bide his time on the substitute's bench once again, where we have gone back to the madness of naming two goalkeepers and are a man short.

Bernard kicked things off with the now customary hoof going up for Calvert-Lewin to contest. But Everton were very nearly caught out in West Brom's first real attack when a close-in header from Diagne was definitely goalbound and Pickford had to really stretch to touch the ball around the post.

Everton got some good movement going but Richarlison was offside. At the other end, Godfrey had to clear well with his head after Townsend rather easily stole the ball off Iwobi. But all the early pressure was from The Baggies. When Everton did play forward, Richarlison was offside again.

Phillips was invited to take a potshot on goal from distance, Pickford covering well enough. Bernard looked to release Digne but his ball was atrociously sloppy, out of play. On the other side, another sloppy Everton pass was picked up by the home side and led directly to another West Brom cross onto the Everton area.

When Everton did get close to an attack, Iwobi's cross was essentially hopeless and the Blues were reduced to passing it around the back while ostensibly looking for some sort of an opening but it was dreadful stuff that almost led to West Brom scoring.

Finally getting across the halfway line, Calvert-Lewin played his pass for Richarlison too far forward and he responded by passing it to the nearest Baggie player. Richarlison finally got a shot off of sorts but it had no power whatsoever.

Another Everton attack looked more fluid until Iwobi crossed to the feet of the nearest defender. Godfrey went on a super run and won a corner when his shot was deflected behind. Digne put in a dreadful low ball as Holgate committed a foul.

Iwobi danced around with the ball again and looked great except that he again passed it straight to a defender. Everton were on the back foot again from a long throw-in that ended up winning a West Brom corner that Everon cleared. Holgate was booked for a foul on Diagne.

Finally, some much better-attacking football from Everton provided Richarlison with a chance to shoot that was blocked up and over the goal for a corner, which came to nothing.

AA lucky deflection laid the ball perfectly into the path of Calvert-Lewin with only the goalkeeper to beat but Everton's star forward could only punt it straight at Johnstone with the whole goal to choose on either side. His body language was all wrong, totally lacking in conviction.

A first half completely unimpressive from Everton, a desperate lack of quality.

After a lively spell from the home side, continuing to press, Everton had another decent-looking attack that didn't really threaten, Digne's simple cross too easily repelled. At the other end, Pereira tried his luck from outside the area. Another long throw by West Brom was headed just over.

Everton tried to build and attack but ended up doing what Iwobi does. The home side gallops into attack and Gallagher fired a glorious ball across the face of the Everton goal... no takers! Ancelotti was sufficiently perturbed to mobilize Allan.

Gomes tried a low shot from distance, on target but easily stopped. Allan finally came on after waiting 5 minutes on the line for the utterly abysmal Iwobi. Everton suddenly looked better as Allan reorganised things, Bernard almost setting up Calvert-Lewin.

O'Shea fouled Richarlison and saw yellow, setting up a nice free-kick opportunity that West Brom defended well. Maitland-Niles flew into Digne but Calvert-Lewin had already fouled.

A deep cross from Allan led to a corner and Sigurdsson replaced Doucouré, took the corner, and then crossed back in for Richarlison to power home with a very strong header. Great goal!

As Everton attacked again, Digne bamboozled Furlong and was hacked down for his troubles. A dangerous free-kick just outside the area was spooned in hopefully by Sigurdsson trying to repeat the successful corner play but it did not fool Johnstone this time.

Calvert-Lewin came close to setting up Gomes with a nice pass from wide right that almost came off. A West Brom corner needed plenty of strong defending. Richarlison tried a clever play inside for Calvert-Lewin to run onto but the defender was alert to it.

A nice Everton move saw Digne cut the ball back beautifully for Calvert-Lewin and the Everton striker, in the right stance this time and with time to compose himself, indolently scoops the ball high over the goal instead of driving it powerfully into the top corner.

Everton came under some pressure, Richarlison having to head a decent West Brom cross behind for the corner that Calvert-Lewin headed away strongly. More resolute Everton defending was required as West Brom weren't rolling over without a fight.

King came on for the last 5 minutes or so and had no real idea what to do when he found himself attacking down the right with the ball at his feet. Holgate needed treatment but it was probably just to disrupt The tempo of the home side as the minutes ticked away yet again on another slender Everton lead.

It got pretty lively with Everton holding firm as 5 minutes of added time were signaled. And West Brom looked to have equalized through Diagne, flagged offside immediately and confirmed eventually by VAR... but oh so close to Everton losing 2 vital points.

After that heart-stopping moment, Everton looked to play out the game at the other end of the pitch but had to resist another Furlong long throw before the whistle blew on a vital if uninspiring Everton win.

Scorer: Richarlison

West Bromwich Albion: Johnstone; Furlong [Y:68'], O'Shea [Y:60'], Bartley, Townsend; Yokuslu [Y:82'], Phillips, Gallagher (78'Robson-Kanu), Maitland-Niles; Phillips (78' Snodgrass), Diagne, Pereira.
Subs not Used: Button, Peltier, Ajayi, Livermore, Sawyers, Robinson, Grant

Everton: Pickford, Holgate [Y:37'], Keane, Godfrey, Digne, Iwobi (59' Allan), Doucoure (64' Sigurdsson), Gomes, Bernard (84' King), Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin.
Subs not Used: Virginia, Tyrer, Nkounkou, Broadhead, Onyango.

Referee: Darren England
VAR: Michael Oliver

Michael Kenrick

Match Preview

Everton press on with their quest for European qualification with a trip to relegation-threatened West Bromwich Albion on Thursday.

The Toffees can claim fourth place with a victory, perhaps only briefly unless Liverpool and Chelsea draw at Anfield, but it would lay down another marker to further their prospects as dark horses for a Champions League place.

Although they finally got back to winning ways at home on Monday with a narrow win over Southampton, it's Everton's away form that has held them in the upper echelons of the Premier League this season and Carlo Ancelotti will be keen to make it seven away wins out of nine since this side's current unbeaten run on their travels started at Fulham in November.

While the Italian has always maintained that finishing in the top four is more a dream than a realistic goal this season, he is keen not to play down the club's ambition and has embraced the level of long-term expectation that exists among the fanbase.

“We are pleased to be in the fight,” he said. “We have to use our expectations as a motivation. If expectations are high, it is absolutely normal at a club with fantastic history. We want to be back there as they were in the past.

“Expectation is not a bad word in my opinion. It is a good word. It keeps you motivated. I think it's important to have ambition.

“I'm sure this situation with the European positions will be decided in the last game and we want to be there until the last game.”

Ancelotti will definitely be without long-term absentee Jean-Philippe Gbamin as well as Fabian Delph and Yerry Mina but he wasn't able to provide definitive updates on any of the players that missed the win over Saints because of minor knocks.

He explained that James Rodriguez, Tom Davies, Seamus Coleman and Robin Olsen would be assessed during training today before any decision is made, although he is no doubt hopeful that Davies, in particular, can play so as not to overwork Allan after three months on the sidelines himself with a torn hamstring.

Ancelotti might also rotate in the forward areas as well, where Josh King has been waiting to make his first start and Alex Iwobi will also be pressing for more action having had to bide his time on the substitute's bench as well in recent matches.

The game pits Everton against West Brom at the Hawthorns for the first time since Boxing Day 2017 when their current boss, Sam Allardyce, was fulfilling a brief interim spell as manager at Goodison Park before he was let go in favour of Marco Silva. The Premier League's renowned “fire fighter” was brought on board by the Birmingham side earlier this season after it was felt that Slaven Bilic would not be able to keep them in the top flight.

The Baggies are still mired in the relegation zone, nine points from safety and, as such, Allardyce faces arguably his toughest assignment yet in trying to keep a club from dropping out of the division. However, they have shown signs in recent weeks that they are becoming harder to beat, even if goals have been hard to come by.

Since losing at home 5-0 to Leeds and 4-0 to Arsenal in successive games, they have won at Wolves, drawn with fellow strugglers Fulham, held Manchester United and edged Brighton. Having shipped 18 goals between Christmas and the end of January, they conceded just five in February which suggests that they could be a harder nut to crack now than they were for Manchester City when they thumped them 5-0 at The Hawthorns on 26 January.

Allardyce is expected to welcome back Robert Snodgrass who has recovered from injury while Semi Ajayi is available again after serving a suspension. Those could be two of a few changes the West Brom boss makes having moaned that he will need to rotate players in view of the packed fixture schedule.

The Baggies will set up to make life difficult for Everton and Ancelotti's side can expect a physical encounter where they will need to be vigilant defending set-pieces and deep crosses. But on current form, the Toffees should go into this one expecting to win and just go in and do a professional job to get the job done. If they can get amongst them early and grab another early goal, they could well be able to prey on the insecurities and doubts of what can be a suspect defence.

Kick-off: 6pm, Thursday 4 March 2021 on Sky Sports
Referee: Darren England
VAR: Michael Oliver
Last Time: West Bromwich Albion 0 - 0 Everton


Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Holgate, Keane, Godfrey, Digne, Davies, Doucouré, Sigurdsson, Iwobi, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin

Lyndon Lloyd

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