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Everton 0-0 West Brom: Lively match but nothing in goal (Video)

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It was a lively first half…for Everton, at least. By the end of the first 45 minutes, the home side no undoubtedly were hoping for one of those infamous Ben Foster howlers, but the West Brom defense was determined to stand strong. That was about all the Baggies were able to do, however. With Everton controlling the majority of the possession and remaining patient in the build up, West Brom were unable to really threaten Tim Howard’s goal.

Everton were probably also wishing Nikica Jelavic had been properly taught the offside rule, as the forward found himself repeatedly the subject of the whistle as he went toward goal. In the dying minutes of the first half, Jelavic very nearly put his header in the back of the net, but found himself denied by Foster, just seconds after West Brom kept out another header by Leon Osman. The Baggies stayed strong, though, and went into the second half tied 0-0.

Nothing changed in the second half, except perhaps the expression on Roberto Martinez’s face. The new Everton boss was visibly frustrated as his side tried in vain to put the ball in the back of the net. In total the Toffees had 22 shots, including 8 on target, but some sort of voodoo magic had been cast on the West Brom goal — or perhaps the Baggies were simply putting forth a solid defense.

Even Martinez’s double switch, bringing on Steven Naismith and Arouna Kone for Kevin Mirallas and Jelavic for the final 20 minutes, couldn’t rescue a win for his side. Naismith almost immediately set up a shot for Steven Pinaar, but again, West Brom was up to the challenge.

With more than ten minutes left to play, the Baggies suffered a setback when man of the match Ben Foster went down with injury, forcing substitute keeper Luke Daniels to come on in his place. That gave Marouane Fellaini his best chance of the match, with the Belgian beating Daniels in the 82nd minute, but Fellaini’s shot hit the post rather than the back of the net. Again, that voodoo.

Everton have picked up two points from their first two matches, while this goalless draw gives West Brom their first point of the campaign.

Everton: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Osman, Fellaini, Mirallas (Naismith 73), Barkley, Pienaar, Jelavic (Kone 72)

Subs not used: Robles, Heitinga, Deulofeu, Stones, Anichebe

West Brom: Foster (Daniels 78), Billy Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Morrison, Mulumbu, Yacob, Dorrans, Long (Brunt 81), Rosenberg (Vydra 67)

Subs not used: Sinclair, Popov, Lugano,  Berahino

Goals: none

Premier League AT HALF: Arsenal fights back, Hull City on top

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10:  Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal (L) and Francis Coquelin of Arsenal (R) celebrate after Theo Walcott of Arsenal (not pictured) scored Arsenals first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Stoke City at the Emirates Stadium on December 10, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
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Goals and controversial penalty decisions are a big part of Saturday morning’s quartet of Premier League matches, all of which are at the break.

[ STREAM: Every PL game on NBC Sports ]

Arsenal 1-1 Stoke City

Joe Allen took an elbow from Granit Xhaka inside the 18, and Lee Mason awarded a PK that Charlie Adam converted to give the visitors an early lead. But Theo Walcott scored his 100th goal as a Gunner off a classy Hector Bellerin cross to make it 1-1 before the break.

Burnley 2-1 Bournemouth

The Cherries will have to dig out of another hole this week, and it all began with Jeff Hendrick‘s phenomenal opener. Fellow Irishman Steven Ward scored an economical to goal to double the lead.

But Ryan Fraser continued his fine December with an assist on Benik Afobe‘s goal before halftime.

Hull City 1-0 Crystal Palace

Robert Snodgrass drew a penalty with a pretty easy grass grab, and the Tigers have a

Swansea City 0-0 Sunderland

Not much cooking at the Liberty Stadium.

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Koeman: “Nervous” Everton has a problem after another loss

WATFORD, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10:  Ronald Koeman manager of Everton arrives prior to the Premier League match between Watford and Everton at Vicarage Road on December 10, 2016 in Watford, England.  (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images
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One win in 10 for Ronald Koeman‘s Everton has the Dutchman on the hot seat.

Koeman seems to be clawing for air after the Toffees’ latest setback, a 3-2 loss at Watford.

The loss puts the Hornets ahead of Everton on the PL table, and — while unlikely — it’s a mathematical possibility that the Toffees could be a bottom half team by the end of the weekend.

[ STREAM: Every PL game on NBC Sports ]

That’s a brutal development for a club expected to challenge for a European place this season.

Here’s Koeman:

“I see a lot of similar problems in the team. The team is too much reactive. Of course it’s maybe a lack of confidence, but if you start the game well, 1-0 up, you need a bigger belief in the team and not going back and defending, and nervous, and not enough ball possession. In my opinion that’s a problem.”

A big problem with that? It can be put down to the manager. Is Koeman in trouble already?

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VIDEO: Hendrick scores incredible volley from distance

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Jeff Hendrick, take a bow.

Burnley’s Republic of Ireland international midfielder pulled off a stunning piece of skill on Saturday to put the Clarets ahead against Bournemouth.

[ STREAM: Every PL game online ] 

A long ball forward was flicked on to Hendrick and he took a stunning first touch to tee himself and then settled himself before spanking a volley into the top corner.

Sensational goal from Burnley’s club-record signing.

Click play on the video above to watch it.

Messi’s latest goal dares you to count the touches (video)

PAMPLONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 10:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the La Liga match between CA Osasuna and FC Barcelona at Sadar stadium on December 10, 2016 in Pamplona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images
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There’s a danger in observing Lionel Messi on a week-by-week basis, and it has a lot to do with how he makes greatness look routine.

So while it’s easy to dismiss yet another mazy dribble through a defense, one of those “Frogger” style with calm-but-vicious cutbacks, try to consider everything that goes into Messi’s second goal against Osasuna early Saturday.

[ MORE: Watford 3-2 Everton ]

On first look, you might count 9 touches for Messi starting with his right-footed collection of the ball. But move to the slow motion replays, and recognize the truth: Often Messi is letting the ball do the work for him, essentially moving the duo closer to goal while he used his preferred left foot as a must-respect threat.

That he does it in such traffic and at full speed is incredible. It’s literally one of those goals in which a linguistic luminary like Ray Hudson would have trouble over-emphasizing the greatness.

Messi now has 11 La Liga goals in 12 matches, and 22 in 19 overall.

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