Yannick Bolasie

Everton 2-0 Brighton and Hove Albion: Toffees rebound

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  • Bong o.g. opens scoring
  • Tosun makes it 2-0
  • Everton rises ninth

Cenk Tosun scored to help Everton arrest its slump with a 2-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion at Goodison Park on Saturday.

Gaetan Bong also recorded an own goal against Brighton and Hove Albion, which fails to pass Everton and sits 11th with 34 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Everton had a pair of penalty shouts, with Tom Davies taken down  in the box and Yannick Bolasie as well. Neither was clear-cut, but an award would not have been absurd.

The goal was coming, and the Toffees found it via a Yannick Bolasie cross for Theo Walcott which was turned into the goal by Walcott’s marker, Bong.

Tosun got Big Sam a goal off an Everton man, with Leighton Baines combining beautifully with the Turkish striker to give Everton a two-goal lead.

Mat Ryan stopped Wayne Rooney‘s late penalty to prevent an inflated score line.

Anthony Knockaert was sent off late for a studs-up tackle.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Top Storylines for Premier League Week 23

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With the Premier League back following a week of FA Cup action, let’s take a look at the top storylines heading into this weekend…

Can Liverpool end Man City’s unbeaten run

Manchester City faces another stiff test to its unbeaten run – and perhaps its title aspirations – with a trip to Liverpool to end the Premier League’s Sunday slate.

Sunday (Watch live, 11:00 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com) also marks the start of the post-Philippe Coutinho era, as the Brazilian was finally given his dream transfer to Barcelona last week. It’s a key moment for Liverpool, a team fighting for another top four position as well as this year’s UEFA Champions League knockout stage only to lose one of its top attackers. How will Jurgen Klopp‘s team respond. On the other side, Man City has rebounded well from its scoreless draw with Crystal Palace, with three straight wins as it looks to wrap up the Premier League title by March.

[MORE: JPW’s Premier League picks for Week 23]

Arsenal’s transfer saga continues

Arsenal is expected to sell Alexis Sanchez any day now, but there’s nothing yet pointing to the Chilean forward not being part of the first-team squad in the meantime. The Gunners hit the road to face Bournemouth and Eddie Howe, a man who has been touted as an eventual successor to Arsene Wenger, on Sunday (Watch live, 8:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com). The Gunners are winless in their last three, including a rough scoreless draw at Chelsea in the League Cup on Wednesday, and will be without Jack Wilshere for at least a game or two. And possibly Alexis Sanchez? Who knows.

Howe will be reminding his men of the repeat fixture last year: where Bournemouth ran riot and took a commanding 3-0 lead, only for Olivier Giroud to lead Arsenal’s comeback to earn a point with a 3-3 draw. Howe will be expecting a win this time around.

Mahrez vs. Hazard at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea and Leicester City have an interesting relationship. Chelsea’s wild 2-2 draw with Tottenham secured Leicester City’s improbable and incredible Premier League title, and with Leicester City’s midfield dynamo N'Golo Kante, the Blues won the title last year.

But perhaps the focus will be on another sought-after player who just passed his four-year mark in Leicester – Riyad Mahrez. With Coutinho – who basically plays a similar position to Mahrez – making a big-money move to Barcelona, the French-born Algerian international may want to show potential suitors that he can provide plenty to a future club, or perhaps he’ll turn these performances into a new contract. It will be fun to see Mahrez go up against former teammates Kante and Danny Drinkwater, as well as Premier League star Eden Hazard (Watch live, 10:00 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

Spurs look to break into Top 4

Despite all its talent, Tottenham is currently sitting on the outside of the top four and looking in. But perhaps not for long.

If Spurs can get past a more defensively-sound Everton side on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 .m. ET, on NBC and NBCSports.com) and Liverpool lose to Manchester City, depending on goal differential, Tottenham can jump past Liverpool into the top four, keeping its Champions League hopes alive for next season. It will be a tactical battle on Saturday, with Mauricio Pochettino‘s side looking to break down Sam Allardyce‘s Everton, which is playing somewhat better since he’s taken charge. With Yannick Bolasie back for Everton as well, it will inject more pace into the squad that has been lacking it.

Can Burnley break out of slump

Burnley has had a fantastic first half of the Premier League season. But can the club sustain it for the second half?

It’s now been five-straight games in the Premier League that Burnley has failed to win – six in total – and the team has lost all of the momentum it built up when it momentarily sat in the top four. Now down to seventh, Sean Dyche‘s side looks to arrest its slide with a trip to Roy Hodgson‘s Crystal Palace (Watch live, 10:00 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold). Palace are fighting tooth and nail to escape relegation and it will be a difficult road test for Burnley. It’s a time for the likes of Robbie Brady, Stevan Defour and others to step up, while Wilfried Zaha will look to use his past to dangerous effect at home.

Allardyce: We better get a scorer, or we’ll have to grind out points

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Sam Allardyce is dealing with his first difficult run as Everton boss, the Toffees now winless in four matches following a 2-0 home loss to Manchester United.

His side has scored once in those four matches, two against relegation battlers, and Big Sam’s putting it down to Everton’s lack of a top class striker.

[ MORE: Match recap | Mourinho reacts ]

“No shot on target? That’s normal for us,” he said. “We know where our problems are, the club knew before I got here that was the problem. We’re trying to cure that in this window by getting a frontline that can threaten and score goals. Until then we have to be a team who can only win if we get a clean sheet, for me.”

Everton was in 13th place when Allardyce first hit the dugout for a 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town. The Toffees have since, in no order, drawn Liverpool, Chelsea, and West Brom, beating Newcastle and Swansea, while losing to Bournemouth and Manchester United.

They’re still ninth, nine points clear of the drop zone, and have Spurs, West Brom, and Leicester next, the latter two at home. If form follows and Allardyce sees his men lose to Spurs but beat West Brom, that visit from Leicester City will be huge in separating the two sides (as well as 10th place Watford, who has a match-in-hand and will play the Foxes in that span.

Allardyce has done a very good job at shoring up what was a porous defensive unit, but hasn’t found a way to manufacture goals. Winger Yannick Bolasie agreed:

“It’s been known we probably need a striker,” he said. “It’s a difficult job for any club to replace Romelu Lukaku. It’s obvious but I’m not the manager.”

He says he’ll know within 24 hours whether the club’s big Cenk Tosun recruiting push comes through for him.

The latter is going to be enough to keep Everton up, but the latter may put Alladyce in the same position he was at West Ham: unable to make an ambitious side into a top performer.

Premier League Preview: Everton vs. Chelsea

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  • Alvaro Morata is suspended for Chelsea but the club has a clean bill of health.
  • Chelsea has won their last three Premier League matches against Everton by an aggregate score of 10-0.
  • Sam Allardyce has won his last two PL matches versus Chelsea and will become the first manager to win against them with five different clubs if Everton are victorious.
  • Wayne Rooney has scored 10 goals in 16 PL appearances this season; the fewest amount of matches it’s taken him to reach 10 goals in a season since 2011/12.

Everton has seen its fortunes change spectacularly since Sam Allardyce has taken over as manager but the Toffees will be put to the test on Saturday when they host Chelsea. (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

[MORE: Top Premier League storylines — Week 19]

Since being named manager on November 30, Allardyce has led Everton to Premier League wins over Huddersfield Town and Swansea City at home and Newcastle United on the road, as well as a 1-1 draw at Liverpool in the derby and a 3-0 win on the road in the Europa League.

It’s been an up-and-down last few weeks meanwhile for the defending Premier League champions, which were on a low after a draw at Atletico Madrid and defeat to West Ham before consecutive wins over Chelsea, Southampton and then Bourmenouth in the Carabao Cup.

The big question looking ahead for Chelsea will be how they deal with the loss to suspension of Alvaro Morata, with Michy Batshuayi likely stepping in.

What they’re saying

Everton boss Sam Allardyce on Yannick Bolasie, who is making his comeback from a torn ACL: “Physically he is ready, technically he’s a little rusty but we have to think about throwing him in at some stage. He could be on the bench tomorrow”

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte on being without Morata: “Now I have to prepare a different plan and I have different options. I have another day to make the best decision and looking at the training today, every single player is in good form.”

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Prediction: Everton has shown a much-improved defense since Allardyce joined the club but facing Chelsea is another challenge that may be a step too far for the fragile Everton squad. Chelsea should take care of business on the road. Chelsea 2-1 Everton

Premier League notes: Wanyama, Bolasie return after long layoffs, Sakho injured

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Two Premier League clubs saw a pair of players return to the field after long spells on the sidelines.

Tottenham revealed that Victor Wanyama took part in training on Monday for the first time since suffering a knee injury in late August, which has kept him off the field since then. Wanyama started in both of Tottenham’s first two fixtures of the season before the injury.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

At the same time in the northwest of England, Yannick Bolasie returned to the field for Everton’s reserves for the first time since suffering a torn ACL last December against Manchester United. Everton manager Sam Allardyce hinted recently that Bolasie could even make the first team subs bench before the end of the calendar year as he continues his rehab.