Sheffield United – Everton: Gylfi Sigurdsson finally found a way through the packed-in Blades as Everton moved back into second place with a 1-0 win over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Saturday.
Sigurdsson’s late goal moves Everton two points back of leaders Liverpool. Winners of four-straight in the Premier League, Everton has played one more match than their Merseyside rivals, the only club above it on the table.
Blades still have only two points on the season, the worst Premier League start in the history of the league, with 23 matches left in the season and a 10-point distance to 17th.
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Three things we learned from Sheffield United – Everton
1. Three touches undo Blades, who stay down: Seamus Coleman played a ball into the box for Dominic Calvert-Lewin and a headed clearance was one-touched square by Bernard. Abdoulaye Doucoure kept it moving right to Sigurdsson for a low drive past a diving Aaron Ramsdale. Chris Wilder’s men fought admirably to starve Everton of big chances but they came up 10 minutes short and, apart from a tepid Oli McBurnie penalty shout and later shot off the outside of the side netting, never looked to be set for anything but a point at the maximum.
2. Toffees win without key trio: Richarlison’s head injury kept him away from a team already missing Lucas Digne and James Rodriguez, and the Brazilian’s absence has often spelled doom for Everton. Richarlison was hurt in the loss to Manchester United, and Everton entered that match 10W-2D-1L when he plays and 1W-3L when he doesn’t. Sigurdsson was again strong in James’ place and will need to keep that up against City if the Toffees want to keep them in the rearview mirror because, honestly, the chances were at a minimum.
3. Blades look forward: The fact that a point looked possible was a boon to Wilder, but this period was all about Tuesday’s trip to Burnley and Saturday’s match at Crystal Palace. The goal was a point against Carlo Ancelotti’s Toffees but falling short wasn’t unexpected. Failing to take at least three points from the next two matches, though, might as well kickstart planning for life in the Championship (something that still feels stunning after last season’s outstanding campaign in the Premier League).
Man of the Match: Sigurdsson