Iwobi Features, Calvert-Lewin Nets Hat-Trick As Everton Wallop West Brom

Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored the lone goal against Tottenham to inflict the first opening day managerial defeat on Jose Mourinho. Photo: [email protected]

 

Super Eagles star Alex Iwobi came on as a substitute Saturday in Everton’s 5-2 win over West Brom, a game that saw Dominic Calvert-Lewin bagging a hat trick for the Toffees.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side fell behind to Grady Diangana’s early goal at Goodison Park. But Calvert-Lewin equalised and James put them ahead before West Brom imploded. Kieran Gibbs was dismissed for pushing James in the face in first-half stoppage-time.

Then Albion boss Slaven Bilic was sent to the stands after storming onto the pitch for a furious rant at referee Mike Dean.

Matheus Pereira equalised for Albion after the interval, but Michael Keane restored Everton’s lead and Calvert-Lewin sealed the points with his second and third goals.

At 23, Calvert-Lewin is the youngest Englishman to score a Premier League hat-trick for Everton.

Everton’s English striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin scores their fifth goal during the English Premier League football match between Everton and West Bromwich Albion at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north-west England on September 19, 2020. / AFP / POOL / Michael Regan

 

 

After a summer spending spree, Ancelotti is under pressure to deliver a big improvement on last season’s 12th place finish and the early signs are promising.

Having beaten Tottenham in their opening game last weekend, Everton have started a Premier League season with consecutive victories for the first time since 2012-13.

Calvert-Lewin already has four goals and Colombia midfielder James, making his first home appearance since his £12 million from Real Madrid, looks a quality addition.

If West Brom are to avoid an immediate return to the Championship, they will have to improve their defence rapidly after shipping eight goals in successive defeats.

Diangana put West Brom ahead in the 10th minute when he advanced from inside his own half before drilling a long-range drive past Jordan Pickford.

Calvert-Lewin equalised in the 31st minute with a back-heel from virtually on the goalline after Albion defender Darnell Furlong inadvertently headed Seamus Coleman’s cross into his path.

The goal was initially disallowed for offside before a VAR review changed the decision in Everton’s favour.

James put Everton in front in the 45th minute when he took Richarlison’s pass and lashed a fine low finish into the far corner from 20 yards.

Gibbs added to West Brom’s woes when he was sent off for lashing out at James in retaliation for a challenge by the Colombian.

West Bromwich Albion’s English defender Kieran Gibbs (2R) is handed a red card during the English Premier League football match between Everton and West Bromwich Albion at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north-west England on September 19, 2020. / AFP / POOL / Alex Livesey /

 

Bilic lost his cool as well moments later, angrily telling Dean that his decisions could “kill” his team.Now watching from the stands after his dismissal, Bilic saw Pereira equalise with a superb free-kick in the 47th minute.But Keane poked Everton back in front after Richarlison’s header was pushed out by Sam Johnstone in the 54th minute.Calvert-Lewin struck again in the 62nd minute, the striker sliding in to meet Richarlison’s cross with a close-range finish.

And Calvert-Lewin’s red-hot start to the season continued four minutes later when he completed his hat-trick as the ball bounced off his back into the net.

AFP

Everton Inflict Defeat On Mourinho’s Tottenham As Calvert-Lewin Scores

Everton players celebrate after scoring against Spurs. Photo: [email protected]

 

Everton signalled their intent for Carlo Ancelotti’s first full season in charge as Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s towering header earned their first win over Tottenham since 2012 in a 1-0 victory on Sunday.

Ancelotti has been heavily backed with the signings of James Rodriguez, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Allan, and the Toffees looked a much-improved side on the one that finished 12th last season as they were thoroughly deserving winners at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Spurs are also hoping for an upturn in Jose Mourinho’s first full season as boss, but the hosts looked short on ideas as they slipped to a damaging home defeat for their aspirations of mounting a challenge to get back into the top four this season.

Everton settled the quicker with their new midfield trio helping to control possession, but it was on the counter-attack they wasted by far the best chance of the game. Richarlison intercepted Ben Davies’s wayward pass and accelerated past Toby Alderweireld and Hugo Lloris before skewing high and wide with an open goal to aim at and Calvert-Lewin begging for a cut-back.

Son Heung-min was by far Spurs’ most dangerous attacking outlet in a performance otherwise lacking in inspiration going forward.

The South Korean’s teasing cross just evaded Harry Kane and the far post before he put Dele Alli in on goal and his shot forced a great save from fellow England international Jordan Pickford.

James curled his first sight of goal in an Everton shirt just wide, while at the other end Pickford stood up well again to deny Matt Doherty after Tottenham’s best move of the half saw the Irishman teed up by Kane’s dinked pass.

Everton surrendered meekly to a 1-0 defeat when they visited the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in July without mustering a meaningful shot on goal.

But the difference a few months and fresh faces can make was on show in the second half as they controlled the game to earn a first win over Spurs in 16 games.

Tottenham were given a few warnings before the only goal of the game arrived as James dragged a shot from inside the box wide before Richarlison mistimed his header at the back post from an inch-perfect James cross.

The opener arrived 10 minutes after the break as Calvert-Lewin rose highest to power Lucas Digne’s free-kick into the top corner.

Mourinho said on Friday he hopes to add another striker before the end of the transfer window to add some support to Kane, but any new arrival will need better service to work with as the England captain did not have an opportunity to get his side back on level terms.

Everton and Richarlison continued to enjoy all the chances as twice the Brazilian cut inside on his favoured right foot and curled efforts just beyond Lloris’s far post.

However, one goal was enough for a statement win for the visitors and the worst possible start for Tottenham ahead of a gruelling schedule as they face up to eight games in the Europa League, League Cup and Premier League in the next three weeks.

AFP

We Want To Reach Europe Next Season, Ancelotti Tells Everton Players

In this file photo taken on January 02, 2017 Fans shield their eyes from the Sun during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Southampton at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England. Paul ELLIS / AFP
In this file photo taken on January 02, 2017 Fans shield their eyes from the Sun during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Southampton at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north-west England. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

 

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti has set his players the minimum target of qualifying for Europe this season after they finished a lowly 12th in the Premier League in his first season in charge.

The Italian, a three-time Champions League winner, enjoyed a bright start to his reign after his appointment in December but their form fell away and they finished in their lowest position since 2004.

That was a disappointment for Ancelotti, who harboured hopes of sneaking into the European places despite taking over a team in a relegation battle.

“I think that the goal we want to achieve is to fight for the first positions of the Premier League to be able to reach Europe next season,” he said.

“The goal is quite clear. We have this desire, this ambition. I think we can.”

Ancelotti has strengthened his midfield with the signings of Napoli’s Brazil international Allan, Watford’s Abdoulaye Doucoure and high-profile Colombia playmaker James Rodriguez.

He still needs more cover at centre-back as Yerry Mina has been hampered by niggling injuries, while there are question marks over whether he has enough firepower with Richarlison, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Moise Kean.

But Ancelotti is satisfied with the club’s transfer activity so far, with all three new signings set to be given their debuts at Tottenham on Sunday.

“I think that we are happy to have these players,” he said. “The club did a fantastic job because these players — James, Doucoure and Allan — were the priority for us.

“We were able to sign them and so we’re really happy, I think the club did a fantastic job.

“Now we are working to have a good season. We would like to be competitive in all the competitions and I think with these players the squad has improved and I think we are going to compete.

“The market is going to be closed on October 5. If there is some opportunity I think we can look for this (more signings), but honestly I am satisfied with the squad in this moment.”

AFP

2014 W/Cup Top Scorer James Rodriguez Joins Everton, Reunites With Ancelotti

James Rodríguez was the top scorer at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. [email protected] Rodríguez.

 

Everton completed the signing of James Rodriguez from Real Madrid on Monday, reuniting the Colombian playmaker with manager Carlo Ancelotti for a third time.

The Premier League club are reported to have paid £22 million ($29 million) for the 29-year-old, who was top scorer at the 2014 World Cup.

 

James’s performances on the world stage earned him an 80 million euro ($95 million) move to Madrid six years ago and he shone in his first season in the Spanish capital under Ancelotti’s management.

However, he fell down the pecking order in Zinedine Zidane’s two spells in charge at the Bernabeu and failed to impress in a two-year loan spell at Bayern Munich between 2017 and 2019, where he also worked under Ancelotti.

James becomes Everton’s second signing of the transfer window after the arrival of Brazilian international Allan from Napoli and believes the future is bright for the Toffees despite a disappointing 12th place finish in the Premier League last season.

“I’m convinced, with Carlo and his technical staff, we can achieve big things and one of the big reasons (I signed) was the presence of Carlo Ancelotti.

“I have enjoyed some great times with him previously at two different clubs. That was a massive reason to come here.”

Everton have not won a major trophy since 1995, but James said that is his target after signing a two-year deal with the option of a club option for a third.

“I’m a winner, I’m a real winner,” he added. “I can see the plans here, the project here is very serious. Everyone means business.

“I think the seriousness and determination to win trophies can lead to silverware.”

Ancelotti was desperate for midfield reinforcements after a poor end to the season after the Premier League resumed in June.

A fee has reportedly also been agreed with Watford for French midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure.

“James, as everyone knows, is a fantastic player with a lot of quality and a lot of ability to make assists for the strikers,” said Ancelotti.

“He’s really excited about the project of the club and the fact we want to improve. He was really excited to sign and I didn’t spend time to convince him – he was already convinced.

“Players like James and Allan can help us to be better and we can help them to be better. This kind of connection can be helpful to improve the results, the team and results of this club.”

Everton begin their Premier League campaign away to Tottenham on Sunday.

 

Everton Boost Midfield Force, Sign Allan From Napoli

(FILES) In this file photo taken on October 1, 2019 Napoli’s Brazilian defender Allan controls the ball during a training session at the Fenix Stadium in Genk. JOHN THYS / AFP

 

Everton secured the first of an expected trio of midfield signings on Saturday with the arrival of Brazilian international Allan on a three-year deal from Napoli for a reported £22 million ($29 million).

The 29-year-old is reunited with Toffees boss Carlo Ancelotti, with whom he worked at the Serie A club.

Everton are also close to reuniting Ancelotti with Colombian star James Rodriguez for a third time after spells together at Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, while a fee has reportedly been agreed with Watford for Abdoulaye Doucoure.

Allan, who made more than 200 appearances in five years at Napoli, admitted he could not turn down the opportunity to work with Ancelotti again.

“It is a club with a rich history in the Premier League, has real ambition and then there is Professor Ancelotti. He has done everything possible to bring me here,” Allan told Everton TV.

“It is the size of the club and the name of the coach which means you don’t think twice about coming to Everton.

“I hope, like I have done in my entire career, I contribute with my performances together with my team-mates and that I put in some great games, great performances and win important things.”

Everton Defender Leighton Baines Retires

leighton-baines
Everton’s English defender Leighton Baines looks on during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Bournemouth at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on July 26, 2020. Tim Goode / POOL / AFP

 

 

Everton defender Leighton Baines announced his retirement after the Premier League club’s final day of the season on Sunday.

Former England international Baines, who spent 13 years with Everton, confirmed he will hang up his boots after making a 20-minute substitute appearance in a 3-1 defeat against Bournemouth at Goodison Park.

The 35-year-old left-back made 420 appearances for Everton after joining from Wigan in 2007.

He was capped by England 30 times and appeared at the 2014 World Cup.

Baines has played just 17 times in the last two seasons after Lucas Digne took over as Everton’s first-choice left-back.

Baines was out of contract and, despite the club offering him the chance to extend it by 12 months, he decided to retire.

“Leighton Baines has taken this decision to stop playing, every Evertonian must be grateful to him, he is a fantastic example and had a great career,” Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti said as he hinted there could be a future role for Baines with the Toffees.

“We want to keep him at the club, his knowledge is really important.”

Baines helped Everton finish as FA Cup runners-up in 2009 and was included in the PFA’s Premier League Team of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

He was also voted Everton’s Player of the Year in 2011 and 2013.

AFP

Van Dijk ‘Happy To Be Back’ Despite Derby Disappointment

File Photo of Liverpool’s Dutch defender Virgil Van Dijk.
Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk said the English champions-elect are just happy to be back on the field again despite seeing their title party delayed by a 0-0 draw at Everton on Sunday.

The Reds extended their advantage at the top of the table to 22 points but will need Manchester City to slip up against Burnley on Monday to have any chance of sealing the title when they host Crystal Palace at Anfield on Wednesday.

“I think everyone is just happy to be back, win or lose, and it is another step closer to our goal,” said Van Dijk, after Liverpool’s first game in 106 days due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The match was played behind closed doors and the unusual surroundings began before kick-off when Liverpool had to get changed in a Portakabin in the Goodison Park car park to keep players and staff socially distanced.

“Everyone didn’t know really what to expect. It was just good to be back out there. It is a fantastic game to be the first game.”

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp bemoaned his side’s inability to turn domination of possession into chances.

Indeed, it was Everton who had the best opportunity to secure a first derby win in 10 years when Tom Davies hit the post after Alisson Becker saved from Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

“Both teams showed it was a derby, even without a crowd,” said Klopp.

“We didn’t have enough chances for the possession we had.

“Most of the time we were dominant but then they had the biggest chance out of the blue, we were lucky in that moment.”

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti was glad his gameplan nearly worked to perfection.

“I think considering the fact there was a long break, there was no crowd, the intensity of the game was really high,” said the Italian, who also was unbeaten in two clashes against Liverpool with Napoli earlier in the season.

“It was not an open game because we didn’t want an open game against them. We didn’t give a lot of chances to them. It was a fair result.”

Premier League Returns After 100-day COVID-19 Exile

premier-league-this-week
The Premier League was put on hold since mid-March due to COVID-19 outbreak. Photo: Twitter/Premier League.

 

The Premier League makes its eagerly anticipated return on Wednesday after 100 days in lockdown, with Manchester City’s clash against Arsenal taking centre stage at the start of a frenetic dash to finish the season.

Coronavirus restrictions mean the drama will be played out with no fans in the stands but football-starved supporters will be able to feast on 92 televised games crammed into less than six weeks.

Liverpool could be just days away from winning their first English top-flight title for 30 years.

Jurgen Klopp’s men, who hold a 25-point lead at the top of the table, could be crowned champions as early as Sunday when they face local rivals Everton if City lose to Arsenal.

The battle for Champions League places next season and to avoid the drop are far more closely contested.

Relegation-threatened Aston Villa get the ball rolling on Wednesday when they host European hopefuls Sheffield United.

The matches will be preceded by a minute’s silence in memory of those who have died from COVID-19. The virus has claimed more than 41,000 lives in Britain.

Three of the four managers to lead their sides on Wednesday have been touched by the virus.

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith’s father died, while City manager Pep Guardiola lost his mother.

Guardiola’s former assistant Mikel Arteta returns to the Etihad for the first time as Arsenal manager three months after his positive test for coronavirus hastened the season shutdown.

“The night I had symptoms and how serious I was — I had to report it. I could have put people at risk and I wasn’t willing to do that,” said Arteta.

“We made the right call and the right decision and the authorities and the Premier League were really strong on that. It could have been much worse.”

All Premier League players will wear “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) on the back of their shirts where names are normally printed for the first 12 matches of the restart to support the global campaign against racial injustice following the killing of George Floyd in the United States.

A BLM logo will feature on shirts for the remainder of the season along with a badge thanking Britain’s health workers for their efforts.

Players will also be supported if they choose to take a knee before or during matches as a sign of protest.

“To give them that much power is a line in the sand for the Premier League about where they are going and on what side of history they want to stand,” former Arsenal striker Ian Wright told the BBC.

– ‘Odd experience’ –

With all games being played behind closed doors, players will have to get used to the eerie silence in the usually raucous stands.

Piping crowd chants into stadiums, cardboard cut-outs of supporters and live video fan walls will add colour but the Premier League’s chief executive Richard Masters admitted there would be something missing without fans.

“It is going to be an odd experience without fans at the stadia,” he said. “We are going to start to witness it from tomorrow evening and the Premier League won’t be back with a capital ‘B’ until fans are back.”

About 300 people will be allowed in stadiums for each match, with strict health protocols in place.

There will be widespread disinfection of changing facilities, dugouts, matchballs, goalposts, corner flags and substitution boards.

People other than players and coaching staff on team benches must wear face coverings.

Players have been told to maintain social-distancing during goal celebrations and banned from spitting.

– Stay at home –

Despite concerns over fans congregating around stadiums, clubs won the battle to host matches in their home grounds.

Liverpool can win a long-awaited title in their own city, either at Goodison on Sunday, or when they host Crystal Palace at Anfield on Wednesday.

But Klopp stressed the need for supporters to stay at home.

“Stay safe, support us from home. We are still with you and you’ll never walk alone.”

AFP

Chelsea Crush Everton To Cement Top Four Place

 

Frank Lampard warned Chelsea not to get complacent after they took control of the race to qualify for the Champions League with a 4-0 demolition of Everton on Sunday.

Lampard’s side won for just the second time in seven league games thanks to goals from Mason Mount, Pedro, Willian and Olivier Giroud in a masterful display at Stamford Bridge.

Fourth-placed Chelsea are in pole position to qualify for the Champions League with nine games to play.

But Lampard doesn’t want his stars to rest on their laurels just yet.

Aware that inconsistency has been the Achilles heel of his promising young team, Lampard said: “We can’t get ahead of ourselves. I’m experienced enough to know we go to Aston Villa next week, they are fighting for their lives and we have to replicate this performance.

“There’s still a long way to go. It’s still close. Even if it looks like a cushion as I sit here now, it doesn’t feel that way.

“It’s in our hands, but I’m certainly not going to jump in and say we are favourites. We have had inconsistency at times this season.”

While Lampard struck a cautious note about Chelsea’s Champions League ambitions, the Blues boss was quick to praise his players for delivering their biggest league win of the season.

It was exactly what Lampard demanded after Chelsea got back on track with their FA Cup fifth round win over Liverpool on Tuesday.

“At home yes, it was our best performance, because of the goals and the clean sheet,” Lampard said.

“In terms of performance we have been close to that a lot. We haven’t got the hard bit, the goals. Today we reached that.

“The finishing, the energy in the team, the speed of the pass, getting after the ball. We saw some really good stuff.

“It’s encouraging. You will always need your squad. We have a lot of injuries. The only way to tackle that is to work hard, play with energy and trust either other.

“I thought the whole attitude and focus of the team felt strong after Liverpool.”

Gilmour shines

Too often this term, Chelsea have dominated possession without killing off defensive opponents at Stamford Bridge.

But they tore into Everton from the start, with Mount and Pedro especially lively as they built on the platform provided by 18-year-old midfielder Billy Gilmour.

Gilmour was making his first Premier League start after a fine display against Liverpool and the Scot did everything Lampard asked of him.

“In the position where he plays, receiving the ball under pressure, he has to show balls. He’s done that, then when he played further up the field later in the game, he immediately took that on as well,” Lampard said.

Everton’s revival under Carlo Ancelotti has hit the buffers, with a run of three games without a win exposing them as frauds in the Champions League battle.

“Everything went wrong. We were too open defensively. We lost a lot of duels and with the ball we did a lot of mistakes,” Ancelotti said.

“It is not difficult to analyse this game. It is the first game when we did not compete. We have to learn from this.”

Defeats against Arsenal and Chelsea, along with a draw against Manchester United, have left Everton to focus on a Europa League berth instead.

“We never said we could qualify for the Champions League, but we can fight for the Europa League,” Ancelotti said.

Asked if he was satisfied with Everton’s commitment, Ancelotti gave a pointed pause before saying: “There are things I can analyse with you, and things I can analyse with my players.”

AFP

Ancelotti Sees Red As Man Utd Draw Everton 

Manchester United’s French striker Anthony Martial (L) and Everton’s English midfielder Tom Davies vie to header the ball during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park in Manchester United, north west England on March 1, 2020.
Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti was sent off after approaching the referee as yet more VAR controversy contributed to a fiery finish in a 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Sunday.

Goalkeeping errors by both United’s David De Gea and Everton’s Jordan Pickford were central to the outcome at Goodison Park.

But Everton thought they had won the game in stoppage time when a shot from Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who had opened the scoring, deflected off United’s Harry Maguire and into the net.

The goal, however, was ruled out by the video assistant referee with the offside Gylfi Sigurdsson, lying in the path of De Gea, deemed to have obstructed the view of the keeper.

READ ALSO: Jimenez Late Strike Seal Wolves Win Against Tottenham

Veteran Italian manager Ancelotti was as unhappy as the home crowd on Merseyside, with the Toffees boss sent off after approaching referee Chris Kavanagh on the field.

The draw saw fifth-placed United miss the chance to cut the gap to Chelsea in fourth to a single point in the Premier League table as Everton stayed in 11th position.

Anthony Martial returned to the United line-up in one of five changes to the side made by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following the Europa League victory over Club Brugge in midweek.

Ancelotti made five changes as well, with Andre Gomes starting in midfield for the first time since early November following a severe ankle injury.

It took Everton just three minutes to break the deadlock with a bizarre goal that delighted the Goodison Park faithful.

There seemed little danger as De Gea dwelt on a clearance.

But his eventual kick downfield was blocked by the charging Calvert-Lewin, with the rebound flying into the unguarded United net.

De Gea did make amends in part by denying Calvert-Lewin a second goal by tipping a shot wide while, at the other end of the pitch, Nemanja Matic hit the crossbar as United sought an equaliser.

Another goalkeeping error helped United draw level in the 31st minute when England number one Pickford, with national manager Gareth Southgate watching from the stands, failed to cover Bruno Fernandes’ speculative, if well-struck, effort from long range.

Everton midfielder Sigurdsson went close to making it 2-1 to the Toffees early in the second half.

United’s Victor Lindelof carelessly gave away a free-kick on the edge of the box and Sigurdsson saw his curling strike come back off the post, with Richarlison unable to get the rebound on target as he followed up.

Pickford, as De Gea had done earlier in the game, then atoned for a costly mistake to keep his side in the match.

In the closing moments of normal time, he blocked Fernandes’ initial shot and then acrobatically dashed across his goal to keep out Odion Ighalo’s follow-up.

AFP

Richarlison Fires Everton Into Premier League Win Against Palace

Everton’s Brazilian striker Richarlison (3rd L) celebrates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Crystal Palace at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north-west England on February 8, 2020. Everton won the game 3-1. AFP

 

Everton moved up to seventh and within five points of the Premier League top four as their resurgence under Carlo Ancelotti continued with a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Bernard, Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored the goals for the Toffees, who have won five and drawn two of eight league games since the Italian took charge in December.

At the other end of the table, Palace are looking over their shoulders at the relegation zone.

Roy Hodgson’s men still have a six-point lead over the bottom three but have not won in eight games and just once in the league since early December.

Bernard gave the hosts a deserved first-half lead with a thumping finish from Theo Walcott’s cross to the back post.

However, Palace were gifted a route back into the game six minutes into the second half thanks to another error from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

The England number one’s place at Euro 2020 is under debate and he let Christian Benteke’s shot slip underneath his body as the Belgian striker registered his first goal of the season.

Just as Everton were wobbling, though, a moment of magic from Richarlison swung the game back in their favour seven minutes later.

The Brazilian stormed onto Calvert-Lewin’s flick-on to carry the ball from just inside the Palace half and past Gary Cahill before placing his shot into the far corner.

The same two players were involved when Everton sealed the points two minutes from time as Richarlison’s header from a corner came off the bar and Calvert-Lewin turned home his 13th goal of the season.

AFP

Gabriel Jesus Stars As Man City Beat Everton

Manchester City’s Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus (C) celebrates after scoring their second goal of the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Everton at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north-west England, on January 1, 2020.
Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Gabriel Jesus extended his remarkable record against Everton as the Manchester City striker’s second-half brace sealed a 2-1 win on Wednesday.

Jesus was handed the start as City manager Pep Guardiola rested Sergio Aguero, but the decision to select the Brazilian ahead of the club’s record goalscorer could easily have been inspired by his mastery of Everton.

Repaying his manager’s faith, Jesus feasted on the Everton defence once again.

He has now scored seven times in his last five appearances against the Merseyside club, who must be sick of the sight of him.

City remain third in the Premier League after a second successive win left them 11 points behind runaway leaders Liverpool, who have two games in hand on the champions.

READ ALSO: Leicester Keep Title Hope Alive After Newcastle Win

Richarlison got one back for Everton, but it was a first defeat for new boss Carlo Ancelotti, who had masterminded wins over Burnley and Newcastle in his first two matches since replacing the sacked Marco Silva.

The former Chelsea chief got the better of Guardiola in their previous meeting — two Real Madrid wins against Bayern Munich in the 2014 Champions League semi-finals.

There would be no repeat against a City side with a point to prove after a spluttering end to 2019.

City won 10 trophies, including four Premier League titles, in the decade just closed, but Liverpool’s remarkable form over the last 18 months is a serious threat to that dominance.

Guardiola has already conceded City have no chance of catching Liverpool this season, instead setting his sights on a more sustained challenge next term by admitting they need to “play better and pray”.

There was no need for divine intervention against Everton, although with Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Kyle Walker among those left out by Guardiola, the visitors nearly snatched a shock lead when Seamus Coleman’s volley forced a one-handed save from Claudio Bravo.

Nervous Finale

City thought they had taken the lead when Phil Foden met Joao Cancelo’s cross with a close-range finish in the 13th minute.

But the hosts’ celebrations were curtailed by VAR as the goal was ruled out for a tight offside against Riyad Mahrez, who had supplied the pass to Cancelo.

It was the latest VAR decision to go against City this season and Mahrez responded with a stinging drive that forced a good save from Pickford.

City should have been in front just before half-time when Jesus picked out Mahrez in space in the area, yet the Algerian dragged his shot wide.

Guardiola’s team have failed to score a first-half goal in six of their last eight home league games.

But they only needed six minutes to take the lead after the break.

Ilkay Gundogan’s pass split the Everton defence and Jesus took a touch inside before a curling a fine finish into the far corner.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin had five goals in his last five appearances and the Everton forward nearly grabbed an instant equaliser with a close-range header that flashed wide.

It was a crucial moment as Jesus struck again in the 58th minute.

Kevin De Bruyne teed up Foden and he found Mahrez as City carved opened the Everton defence before Jesus applied the finishing touch with a powerful low drive for his 13th goal of the season.

City went to sleep in the 71st minute, allowing Richarlison to slot home after Claudio Bravo made a hash of passing to Fernandinho.

Jesus wasted a chance to kill off Everton when his close-range shot smacked the post in a nervous finale, but City held on.

AFP