Stylish early goals push Everton past Fulham

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Fulham – Everton: Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored his ninth and 10th goals of the Premier League season as Everton cruised to a 3-2 win over Fulham on Sunday at Craven Cottage.

Lucas Digne had two assists, the second to Abdoulaye Doucoure, as Everton built a 3-1 lead by halftime.

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Richarlison returned from red card suspension to set up Calvert-Lewin’s first, as Everton rose fifth on 16 points. That’s four points off leaders Tottenham.

Bobby Decordova-Reid had briefly leveled the score at 1 but that was the only moment of real hope for the hosts, whose four points remain just one above the drop zone with two of three chasers holding matches-in-hand.

Fulham – Everton went about how you’d expect, and that will be a comfort to Carlo Ancelotti and a frustrating sign for Scott Parker.

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Three things we learned from Fulham – Everton

1. Richarlison the tonic: The 23-year-old Brazilian took a red card in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool, drawing a three-match suspension. Everton’s record went from 4W-1D to 4W-1D-3L without the Brazilian. He returned and had the Toffees back on top of things in less than a minute, going on to win six-of-nine duels before running out of gas. James Rodriguez is a dream playmaker, but Richarlison is the gasoline.

2. Parker pushes the buttons too late: Fulham boss Scott Parker isn’t much to blame for these early season woes, but we’re sure that keeping three difference makers on the bench at home was a big error on Sunday. Credit for amending the error, but Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s entry in the game led to a penalty won within 10 minutes. Cavaleiro missed that, but Loftus-Cheek got his goal because Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa entered the fray, promptly won the ball in his own end, and made a field-switching decision that led to Lookman cueing up the scorer. There’s was plenty of time to play, but you wonder what might’ve been over 90 minutes.

3. Fulham’s penalty woes continue: Aleksandar Mitrovic probably feels like penalties are half-court shots, as his Cottagers have won four penalties this season and scored once and Serbian missed the decisive effort as his national team bowed out of EURO qualification at the international break. Mitrovic converted against Leeds in September but missed versus Sheffield United in October. Lookman’s messed-up panenka cost Fulham a point before the break, and Cavaleiro’s Sunday slip made it a 25 percent success rate this season. In the three matches with misses, Fulham has lost two by one goal and drawn a third. Do the table math.

Man of the Match: Lucas Digne

With respect to Calvert-Lewin, who’s lived in this space this season, Digne’s pair of delightful invitations highlight his amazing import to the Toffees.

The nearly-mirror image nature of Digne’s assists does ask what in the world Fulham’s backs were thinking, though.


Fulham – Everton recap

Everton had a lead within a minute of kick, 45 seconds to be clear, as Richarlison drove the Fulham defense and gave Dominic Calvert-Lewin a fairly straight-forward goal.

Fulham might’ve had it level a dozen minutes later when a cross meandered to the Decordova-Reid, but the striker scuffed his shot wide of the far post.

He’d score moments later, pushing a Tom Cairney pass into the box and shooting to the left of a cautious Jordan Pickford.

At the other end of the spectrum is Fulham keeper Alphonso Areola, who got low quickly to thwart what would’ve a dynamic dribble and shot by Richarlison in the 21st.

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Calvert-Lewin had a goal pulled back for offside before he got his 10th of the season, James Rodriguez playing Lucas Digne out wide for a pass to the doorstep that withstood VAR review.

The Toffees tore Fulham apart again, Digne again with service from the left for Doucoure to head home centrally.

It was beginning to feel academic when Fulham got back in the equation off a Loftus-Cheek won penalty. Ivan Cavaleiro’s plan foot slipped and his shot sailed over the bar.

But wait: Zambo Anguissa subbed on and almost immediately took the ball in his own end to start a move that ended with Lookman setting up Loftus-Cheek for a goal and 3-2 with 25 minutes to go in London.