Burnley put a dent in Everton’s Champions League ambitions on Saturday night, beating the hosts 2-1 at Goodison Park thanks to a sublime strike from Dwight McNeil.
The Clarets edged in front on 13 minutes, taking advantage of Tom Davies’ dallying on the ball to catch the Toffees on the counter, and Chris Wood did the rest, curling a stunning shot into Jordan Pickford’s far post.
Everton were left completely stunned 12 minutes later, when McNeil ghosted past Allan on the edge of the hosts’ box, before bending an unstoppable arcing finish into the top corner that again left Pickford with no chance.
Moments later things almost went from bad to worse for Carlo Ancelotti’s men after Johann Berg Gudmundsson bore down on goal, but he hit could only hit the post with his effort – one that forced Pickford to go off injured after he appeared to strain a muscle in his side trying to save it.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who else, got Everton back into the game when he crashed a header past Nick Pope from close range, but despite the hosts pushing forward after the break, they were unable to make another breakthrough – largely thanks to the heroics of James Tarkowski and Ben Mee, who both put in imperious displays.
Enough of all that waffle, eh, let’s rate the players!
Jordan Pickford (GK) – 6/10 – Could only watch as Wood’s curler nestled inside the far post, and it was very much copy and paste when McNeil scored a snorter. Went off with a side strain not long after.
Mason Holgate (CB) – 6/10 – A mis-kicked clearance stroked the ball perfectly into Wood’s path for the first goal of the game, and the England Under-21 international failed to regain his composure thereafter.
Michael Keane (CB) – 6/10 – Not at fault for either goal, but didn’t inspire confidence throughout the backline.
Ben Godfrey (CB) – 7/10 – Had a difficult evening attempting to combat the power of Wood and guile of Vydra. The best of the trio who was never afraid to put his head in.
Alex Iwobi (RWB) – 6/10 – Almost fed Calvert-Lewin with a lovely through ball, but he couldn’t quite take it in his stride. Still getting used to this new role.
Tom Davies (CM) – 6/10 – Shrugged off the ball far too easily by Brownhill in the buildup to the opener. Redeemed himself with a brilliant cross to set up Calvert-Lewin.
Allan (CM) – 5/10 – Sent back to Naples by McNeil in the buildup to Burnley’s second, and lost out when Gudmundsson should have added a third. A poor display.
Andre Gomes (CM) – 5/10 – Bombed into areas where he was never going to receive the ball, and was extremely unadventurous with possession at his feet. Abdoulaye Doucoure was sorely missed.
Lucas Digne (LWB) – 6/10 – Couldn’t get in the game and struggled to push up the pitch in support of Calvert-Lewin.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (ST) – 7/10 – Sprung into life after half an hour, poaching to bang home a superb header. Will be disappointed not to have added to the scoring in the second half.
Richarlison (ST) – 6/10 – Stung Pope’s palms early on but couldn’t stretch such a deep defence. Ended up dropping deep to try and get involved.
Joao Virginia (GK) – 6/10 – Everton’s third choice keeper did well and may be rewarded with a spell in the side.
Josh King (ST) – 6/10
Seamus Coleman (RWB) – 6/10
Nick Pope (GK) – 8/10 – Produced a nice early save to tip Richarlison’s strike around the post. Made a great stop from Gomes at the beginning of the second half, sticking out a vital hand.
Matt Lowton (RB) – 7/10 – Booked for an insanely late challenge on Davies in the dying minutes of the first half. Did a good job locking down the left flank.
James Tarkowski (CB) – 8/10 – Commanding display and more than up to the task of battling the aerial master Calvert-Lewin. Didn’t give Richarlison room to cause major harm.
Ben Mee (CB) – 8/10 – Was beaten in the air for Calvert-Lewin’s goal, but was a blocking machine. Also hit the crossbar with a looping header,
Erik Pieters (LB) – 7/10 – Allowed the cross in from his flank to supply Everton’s route back into the game, but was typically steady.
Johann Gudmundsson (RM) – 7/10 – Rattled the post with a great strike from outside the box, unfortunate for it not to sneak inside. Worked so hard for his teammates.
Josh Brownhill (CM) – 8/10 – Showed great hustle and urgency to win the ball back in the Everton half to spring the all-important counter-attack for the first goal.
Ashley Westwood (CM) – 8/10 – Handed a yellow card for an extremely professional foul to deny Everton a run at the back four. Got about the pitch efficiently and picked out some nice passes over the top or out wide.
Dwight McNeil (LM) – 8/10 – Showed great energy down the left, and it was his cross that found its way to Wood on the edge of the box to give Burnley the lead. Produced a moment of genuine, unbelievable quality to double the advantage.
Chris Wood (ST) – 8/10 – What a cultured finish! Delicate and composed, and beautifully placed into the far corner. Held up play and caused problems all afternoon.
Matej Vydra (ST) – 7/10 – Did his bit in the first half, even if he couldn’t add to his goal tally. Terrorised a frightened Everton backline and looked to feed Wood and McNeil at every given opportunity.
Robbie Brady (LM) – 6/10
Jay Rodriguez (ST) – 6/10