Burnley 0-2 Everton

Happy away day returns as Blues extend winning run.​

It was a very happy return to Turf Moor for Sean Dyche, Dwight McNeil, James Tarkowski and especially Michael Keane as first half goals from Amadou Onana and Keane settled the outcome in the Blues favour. Four straight wins and clean sheets have seen the Blues wipe out the cruel, harsh and inappropriate ten-point deduction and send a message to the Premier League that “We shall not be moved.”

An old-fashioned Lancashire derby match saw Everton travel to the foothills of the Pennines and Turf Moor to take on Vincent Kompany and his Burnley side.

The Clarets were head and shoulders the best team in the Championship last season but, as so many newly promoted sides find, the Premier League is an at times brutal, cruel and uncompromising environment. Manager Vincent Kompany is no stranger to the top flight having captained Manchester City to the title not too long ago however, playing and managing are two completely different scenarios and the Belgian is still seeking consistency from his side who, despite signs of improvement in the last couple of weeks started the game in the bottom three and five points adrift of the deduction affected Blues.

Kompany was eager to see his side try and reduce that deficit and named his starting line-up: Trafford, da Silva, O’Shea, Beyer, Delcroix, Bruun Larsen, Berge, Brownhill (c), Odobert, Rodriguez and Amdouni.

With successive clean sheets and victories in our last three outings, the Blues were in good form and with the usual massed ranks of fans packing into the Barnfield Stand to support them, even with two enforced changes to the side, Everton began as pre-match favourites to continue their winning ways.

With Idrissa Gana Gueye and Jarrad Branthwaite both having collected their fifth bookings against Chelsea, and in the process one match suspensions, Sean Dyche had a decision to make as who to pair with James Tarkowski in the heart of the defence… as Amadou Onana was the no-brainer midfield choice in place of IGG… before taking into account injury concerns over Ashley Young and Vitalii Mykolenko.

No doubt relishing his return to a ground where he spent over nine years as the manager, twice winning promotion into the top flight and guiding them to the Europa League, Sean Dyche was looking for a repeat of the Carabao Cup victory over the Clarets but with no fewer than four changes made necessary through injuries and suspensions, he entrusted the task to this starting eleven: Jordan Pickford, Nathan Patterson, Ben Godfrey, Michael Keane, James Tarkowski (c), Dwight McNeil Jack Harrison, James Garner Amadou Onana, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

After a pleasant sunny day in East Lancashire after a pleasant sunny day, our referee was Anthony Taylor.

Sean Dyche received a terrific reception from both sets of fans as he walked across the Turf Moor pitch to take up station in the touchline technical area. Ben Godfrey lined up on the right side of the defence inside Nathan Patterson and with Dwight McNeil taking up a more defensive position on the left in the early exchanges, the Blues had the look of a 5-4-1 formation about them, that saw DCL playing a lone striker role.

The hosts won the first corner in the sixth minute, a Bruun Larsen cross deflecting behind off James Tarkowski and Burnley failed to make anything of the set piece. Good work by the Blues saw Onana release McNeil down the left to cross but, too high for DCL… then regaining possession to allow Harrison to cross from the right and find McNeil who saw his header go wide across the face of goal.

Another cross from the right saw DCL head down for James Garner, the Burnley defence surrounding him quickly to deny him the chance to get a shot away. The Blues were coming on strong and their first corner saw Trafford in the home goal only get a partial punch to send the ball out for a second corner from the left. Garner sent it to the back post where Tarkowski rose but, play was halted for a foul on Trafford as DCL and Doucoure pressured the Burnley keeper.

Everton were pressing Burnley back and when Harrison fed Patterson into space, his cross was met well by DCL and bringing an excellent save out of Trafford at the expense of another corner. And again, it was McNeil sending it to the back post where Amadou Onana rose like a stag in the mating season to give the Blues a deserved 18th minute lead.

Doucoure with a good block denied Burnley the chance for an early response and the next Burnley raid saw Odobert get away from Patterson with Keane on his return to the side clearing from Rodriguez. Everton responded with a 50-yard run by McNeil only for his shot from 25 yards to clear the crossbar with Trafford untroubled. The Blues doubled their lead in the 25th minute as a free kick from Pickford was headed on by Tarkowski and with his second bite at the cherry, the much-maligned Michael Keane calmly side-footed home for nil-two.

Odobert won a corner off Patterson as the home side looked to respond again and that was defended well by a packed Blues defence with a follow-up cross sailing out of touch on the far side. Television viewers would have been forgiven for thinking this games was at Goodison as all the noise was coming from the travelling Evertonians enjoying watching this resurgent Blues team. Burnley were clearly struggling against an Everton side hungry to pin them back and pressure them in possession and with Adrian Heath watching on from the stands, Everton were giving a text book exhibition of how to play with a minority of the possession statistics.

Pickford launched another free kick into the Burnley area with Trafford easily catching a header from Tarkowski. Odobert was left on the deck after a stiff challenge by James Garner, the referee stopping play so the Burnley play could receive some treatment for a bang on the head. Into the final five minutes of the half and the strong press was proving highly effective as the home side continued to struggle to make any real headway.

Patterson was lucky not to see a yellow card for scything down Odobert and then cleared the initial cross with Onana completing the clearance to set the Blues on a break to win another corner as four added minutes were announced, and Keane put his header high and wide at the near post from Garner. A superb sliding challenge by Ben Godfrey to deny Amdouni prevented Burnley clawing a goal back after Tarkowski was caught flat-footed by a ball over the top. Garner won a late free kick that McNeil played far too long and as the teams retired to the dressing rooms there were some boos from the home support. To be fair to Burnley, they hadn’t been allowed to play by a well-drilled Everton side making a mockery of the home side enjoying 63% of the first half possession.

Half Time: 0-2

Foster replaced Rodriguez for Burnley, and Lewis Dobbin for Abdoulaye Doucoure were changes by both sides for the start of the second half.

Keane blocked and cleared a shot by Berge as the home side tried to make a bright start and they won a corner on their left that Onana hooked clear after Amdouni failed to connect with the ball sent in by Bruun Larsen. Jordan Pickford made his first save of the game from Bruun Larsen and promptly berated his defence for allowing the shot to come in from a tight angle.

Da Silva impeded Harrison to concede a free kick left of the penalty area that Garner took with Trafford taking no chances and just pushing it out for a corner from the right that was cleared. A rather robust aerial challenge by DCL on O’Shea saw the Blues number nine very fortunate not to get a yellow card. Some slack passing saw Burnley win a free kick 25 yards and dead centre that Bruun Larsen took charge of and his shot hit the wall, cannoning out for a corner that failed to clear the first man and Everton cleared without too much trouble.

Approaching the hour mark, Everton were playing a bit more passively than they had through the first half, maybe thinking the two goal lead was enough and thinking ahead to a Carabao Cup quarterfinal game on Tuesday. Beyer on DCL gave Pickford the chance to launch another long ball that Keane got on the end of, Burnley failed to clear adequately and McNeil won a corner on the left that Garner sent to the back post where the ball hit the post twice off Keane as the home side struggled to cope again before eventually getting the ball away.

Burnley’s best effort of the game came on 64 minutes as Pickford dived full length to turn a powerful shot from Amdouni away for a corner that was defended easily enough. A Burnley break saw Amdouni pay a good Ball inside McNeil to release Bruun Larsen to cross, Keane back doing his defensive role headed clear under no pressure.

Burnley made a second change on 69 minutes with Iraqi-born Al Dakhil replacing Delcroix.

Into the final twenty minutes and Everton were still good value for their lead with the home side seemingly unable to find any way through the Blues midfield and five man defensive back line. Foster worked hard to win another Burnley corner but, again, it was Michael Keane first to the ball to clear deep into Burnley territory as the travelling fans sang the theme to Z-Cars. Everton got forward with Harrison just unable to get to a ball from Onana and we passed the 75-minute mark with McNeil conceding a free kick that led to da Silva crossing aimlessly and far too easy for Pickford to gather.

Berge saw a fierce shot cannon back off the crossbar but, it wouldn’t have counted as Bruun Larsen was offside and when Odobert skipped inside Patterson to feed Berge again, his second shot was blocked quickly by Garner. Tarkowski with a crunching tackle on Amdouni brought a stoppage which Everton used to replace DCL with Beto for the final eight minutes. James Garner picked up a needless yellow card for kicking the ball away after the challenge by Tarkowski.

Barring something calamitous, Everton were looking at a fourth straight win and clean sheet as Burnley made two more changes, Redmond and Tresor replacing Da Silva and Odobert respectively for the final four minutes plus any added-on time. McNeil blocked a cross out for a corner that Garner eventually cleared after Burnley took too long looking for a crossing opportunity.

Everton were in no mood to allow Burnley to get back into the game and went looking for a third with Garner threading a ball through for Beto and Trafford closing him down quickly. Three added minutes were announced and when Burnley did get forward, Tresor blazed their final effort high and wide.

Full Time: 0-2

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