Carlo Ancelotti got off to a winning start as Everton’s manager as they ground out a 1-0 win against Burnley on Boxing Day.
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Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored the winner late on in a tight, physical battled at Goodison Park as both teams went close early but the Toffees just about deserved to take all three points.
With the win Everton move up to 13th on 22 points, while Burnley have 24 points and sit one place ahead of them.
3 things we learned
1. Ancelotti expectant on sidelines: Whenever the camera panned to Carlo Ancelotti, in the dugout for the first time as Everton’s manager, he didn’t look happy. That level of expectancy drove his side on as the Toffees clicked through the gears late on and finally scored to get the win they deserved. He has so much experience and has won so many trophies and with that comes a level of performance he will expect. That should help get Everton out of a relegation scrap this season and then kick on next season.
2. Toffees continue to improve defensively: It started under Duncan Ferguson during his spell as interim boss and Everton have now conceded just twice in their last four games, as they’ve won two and drawn two. Mason Holgate has come back in and helped shore things up and playing with three center backs certainly helped them out. Everton have enough attacking weapons to win games, as long as they keep solid at the back.
3. Burnley dig deep ahead of tough stretch: The Clarets dug deep, as they always do, and were denied by some brilliant Everton defending in the first half. Sean Dyche’s side didn’t force the issue enough and they now have a daunting run of games coming up as they play Man United (twice), Chelsea, Arsenal and Leicester City in their next six PL games. The Clarets are only six points above the drop zone, so they know they have to beat some of the big boys at home in the coming weeks. Turf Moor, especially at this time of the season, will be key in deciding how their season goes.
Man of the Match: Dominic Calvert-Lewin - Ran himself into the ground up top and scored the winner. He is still so young and has all of the tools to succeed in the Premier League.
Burnley almost took the lead early on as Yerry Mina headed Chris Wood’s header off his own line and Jack Cork then went close from the resulting corner.
At the other end Mason Holgate should have given Everton the lead from a set piece situation but Nick Pope saved superbly.
Lucas Digne had a free kick deflected wide as the home side grabbed a foothold in the game in the first half.
Richarlison had an effort before half time which caused Burnley problems but the visitors held their own.
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Bernard had a shot deflected wide in the second half as the Toffees clicked through the gears going forward. Djibril Sidibe almost bundled home after powering into the box as it was all Everton in the closing stages but Burnley remained a threat on the break.
Seamus Coleman flashed a shot just over from distance as the Toffees pushed for the opener but were frustrated by a stubborn Burnley defense.
Jordan Pickford then handled the ball outside the box but Burnley couldn’t make the most of a dangerous free kick.