Ben Gibson

Everton brush aside Burnley with early flurry

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  • Everton bounce back from embarrassment
  • Three goals in 22 minutes does the job
  • Everton climb three spots to 8th
  • Burnley stuck in relegation zone

Well, that was one way for Everton to respond to suffering a 6-2 hammering on the weekend.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Marco Silva‘s Toffees jumped all over Burnley from the opening whistle on Boxing Day, scoring three goals in the opening 22 minutes, and routing the Clarets for just their second victory away from home this season.

Yerry Mina opened the scoring with 99 seconds on the clock, heading home Bernard‘s deftly floated cross to the back post. The chance came from Burnley’s inability to completely clear an Everton free-kick routine.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

It was 2-0 barely 10 minutes later, thanks to another sensational free kick from left back Lucas Digne. It was the Frenchman who snatched a point from Watford with a stoppage-time equalizer last week.

3-0 came eight minutes later, when Gylfi Sigurdsson beat Joe Hart from the penalty spot. Burnley struggled with yet another Everton set piece, Ben Mee handling the ball inside the box as Mina and Kurt Zouma caused all kinds of problems at the back post.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

Burnley pulled a goal back before halftime, but that’s as close as they would get. James Tarkowski‘s header hit the post and was narrowly kept out by Jordan Pickford and Co., but everyone in a white shirt appeared to stop after the ball caromed back into play, leaving Ben Gibson in perfect position for a relatively simple finish.

Following a rather nondescript opening 25 minutes of the second half, Digne restored the three goal lead and put the game away with a long-range strike in the 71st minute. No one closed him down from nearly 30 yards out, so he fired a low, bouncing ball through traffic. It just so happened to evade a sea of bodies, including an outstretched Hart.

Everton put the cherry on top and scored a few style points as Sigurdsson found Richarlison with a seeing-eye through ball in the 93rd minute. The Brazilian split two defenders and fired past Hart to make the final score 5-1.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

The victory sees Everton pick up three points and leapfrog three sides en route to eighth place in the league table (for the time being, as Watford play later on Wednesday). Burnley, meanwhile, remain in 18th, with the prospects of a tough relegation battle now realer than ever.

AT HALF: Digne scores another pearler; Man City on pace to drop points (again)

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We’ve had plenty of goals on Boxing Day, following the tune of Fulham’s 1-1 draw with Wolves to start the day.

[ MORE: Weah will go on loan ]

Reminder, Brighton hosts Arsenal at 12:15 p.m. ET, while Watford stages a “late” match with Chelsea at 2:30.


Burnley 1-3 Everton [STREAM]

The Toffees were due for a breakout, and Burnley’s continued suffering is the consequence. Yerry Mina scored in the second minute, then Lucas Digne and Gylfi Sigurdsson added markers within 20 minutes of the opener at Turf Moor. Ben Gibson had a late-half answer for the Clarets.

Leicester City 1-1 Manchester City [STREAM]

It looked to be business as usual when Aymeric Laporte and Sergio Aguero teamed up to spring Bernardo Silva for his opener inside of 15 minutes, but Marc Albrighton‘s picture-perfect header leapt inside the far post to have it level within minutes.

Liverpool 1-0 Newcastle United [STREAM]

The Reds are looking to make it 20 Premier League matches without a loss, and there’s only been a hint of Newcastle finding a goal here. Instead, the Reds are up via a Dejan Lovren rip, and it could well be 3- or 4-0 at Anfield.

Crystal Palace 0-0 Cardiff City [STREAM]

Nothing cooking yet at Selhurst Park.

Spurs 3-0 Bournemouth [STREAM]

Red-hot Heung-Min Son and equally-heated Christian Eriksen have the North London outfit easily out-gunning their South Coast visitors. Kyle Walker-Peters has hand a foot in all three goals, cueing up Lucas Moura for Tottenham’s third.

Manchester United 1-0 Huddersfield Town [STREAM]

Nemanja Matic has the opener in Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s first home match in charge of his beloved Red Devils.

PL Sunday preview: Chelsea, Arsenal chasing title pacers

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One half of the Premier League’s “big six” will be in action, spread across three games, on Sunday.

Chelsea seek to remain in the PL title race; Arsenal seek to extend their winning streak to 12 games; Manchester United seek to reassert themselves and turn their season around.

[ MORE: What did we learn in the Premier League, Week 10? ]

Crystal Palace vs. Arsenal — 9:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

It’s been a while since Arsenal last dropped points — let alone lost a game. You have to go back to the second week of the PL season to find the most recent blemish on Unai Emery‘s otherwise sparkling record. No side in Europe can claim a better ongoing run of results (11 straight wins, by a combined score of 31-9 – all competitions). The Gunners will look to make it a dozen wins in a row on Sunday, when they visit Selhurst Park. The club’s longest-ever winning streak is 14 games — achieved in the fall of 1987. Wins over Palace, Blackpool (League Cup) and Liverpool would see Emery and Co., match the record.

Things couldn’t be going much worse for Palace at the moment. Roy Hodgson‘s Eagles have lost three straight league games (winless in four) and slipped to 15th in the PL table, now just two points clear of the relegation zone, during the slide.

INJURIES: Crystal Palace — OUT: Christian Benteke (knee), Scott Dann (knee) | Arsenal — OUT: Laurent Koscielny (achilles); QUESTIONABLE: Sead Kolasinac (hamstring), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (fitness)


Burnley vs. Chelsea — 9:30 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Chelsea remain one of three unbeaten PL sides (Liverpool and Manchester City) ahead of Sunday’s trip to Turf Moor. Maurizio Sarri‘s side has, however, dropped points in three of their last four games (draws with West Ham United, Liverpool and Man United). That mini-skid has seen the Blues fall five points back of leaders Liverpool (and potentially City, who play on Monday, as well). Eden Hazard has been arguably the PL’s best player through nine games, but the Belgian superstar’s status is unknown due to a lingering back injury suffered during last week’s 2-2 draw with Man United.

Speaking of Belgian centerpieces, midfielder Steven Defour is back and available for the Clarets after nine months out following knee surgery. Likewise, winger Robbie Brady is expected to be available for selection for the first time in 10 months following a knee operation of his own. The two represent a different class of players capable of delivering Burnley back into the PL’s top-half to build upon last season’s seventh-place finish.

INJURIES: Burnley — OUT: Ben Gibson (fitness), Nick Pope (shoulder), Stephen Ward (knee) | Chelsea — QUESTIONABLE: Eden Hazard (back)


Manchester United vs. Everton — 12 p.m. ET, on NBC and NBCSports.com

Seven points — and five places in the table — currently separate Man United from the top-four, thanks to the Red Devils’ dreadful start to the season (just four wins, and three losses, in the first nine games). European competition hasn’t treated them much better, as they were completely outplayed and beaten by Juventus at Old Trafford this week. Jose Mourinho isn’t expected to have Alexis Sanchez or Jesse Lingard to pick from on Sunday, meaning Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford should start by default. Martial bagged a brace in the draw with Chelsea, while Rashford hasn’t scored a league goal since Sept. 29; it’s been even longer for Lukaku, whose last PL tally came on Sept. 15.

On the other side, Marco Silva has Everton playing some great soccer late: three straight wins, by a combined score of 7-1. Even better, six of the seven goals have been scored by Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Bernad, Theo Walcott or Cenk Tosun, the Toffees’ five most important attacking players. With summer signings Andre Gomes and Yerry Mina making the startling lineup and bench for last week’s victory over Palace, Silva has everyone around Goodison Park feeling exceedingly hopeful ahead of Sunday’s trip to Old Trafford.

INJURIES: Man United — OUT: Alexis Sanchez (groin), Marouane Fellaini (groin), Scott McTominay (knee), Jesse Lingard (groin) | Everton — OUT: None

PL Sunday preview: 19th hosts 17th when Cardiff, Burnley meet

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Only one game on the Premier League docket for Sunday, but it’s one that carries much weight in the 2018-19 relegation battle…

[ MORE: What did we learn in the Premier League, Week 7? ]

Cardiff City vs. Burnley — 11 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Cardiff came into the season as the overwhelming favorites to be relegated from — if not to finish dead last in — the PL, and the Bluebirds entered the weekend right where everyone expected them to be: bottom of the table, with just two points to show for their first six games. Then, a funny thing happened on Saturday: Neil Warnock‘s side rose to 19th without having yet played this weekend, thanks to Huddersfield Town’s 2-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur. Given Cardiff’s inability to score goals, they might have already experienced the highlight of their week.

For all of Burnley’s struggles to start the season — and there have been plenty, as the Clarets collected just one point from their first five games before picking up their first win last weekend — Sean Dyche‘s side has still put together a defensive record which ranks in the top half of the PL (10 goals conceded in six games, 9th-fewest). That likely spells trouble for Cardiff, who have scored a PL-low three goals thus far.

The only possible silver lining for Cardiff — one that Warnock will be desperately hoping to realize — is that while they conceded a dozen goals in their last three games, they did so against Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City. They’re hardly the only side that’ll ship a large number in consecutive games against top-four hopefuls, and perhaps that challenge will have prepared Warnock’s men for the more realistic challenge that is a fellow relegation battler.

INJURIES: Cardiff — OUT: Aron Gunnarsson (knee), Peltier (shoulder) | Burnley — OUT: Ben Gibson (abdomen), Nick Pope (shoulder), Robbie Brady (fitness)

PL Sunday preview: West Ham chasing first point, visiting Everton

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Sunday’s slate of Premier League fixtures is all about place 11 through 20 in the league table, as a pair of early-season relegation battlers are in action against sides occupying placed they presently dream of making their own: mid-table.

[ MORE: What did we learn from PL Saturday, Week 5? ]

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Burnley — 8:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Burnley finished last season seventh in the PL table, while Wolves were busy winning the Championship and securing their place in the top flight this season. Based solely on their places in the football world five months ago, Burnley should be the mid-table side while Wolves battle every second to leave the relegation zone behind. Fortunately for the Clarets — and regrettably for Wolves — we’re barely 10 percent of the way through the 2018-19 season, so there’s plenty of time to right the early-season wrongs — or, to wrong the rights.

When the two sides meet at Molineux Stadium on Sunday, Sean Dyche‘s side — no longer dealing with the possible distraction of the Europa League — will be seeking its first win of the season, and first point(s) since their opening-day draw with Southampton. Dyche isn’t panicking yet, though, because he’s been through plenty or periods just like this one before.

“When you are good you are never that good and when you are bad you are never that bad, and we have to bear that in mind. The players are close to something, but we have to tidy up at both ends.”

INJURIES: Wolves — OUT: Raul Jimenez (knock), Ivan Cavaleiro (back) | Burnley — OUT: Ben Gibson (abdomen), Steven Defour (calf), Nick Pop (shoulder), Robbie Brady (hamstring)

Everton vs. West Ham United — 11 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Things could actually be worse for Burnley, though: they could be West Ham, who are without a single point after four games and face the typically tough task of an away trip to take on ninth-place Everton. The arrival of Manuel Pellegrini was supposed to stabilize the Hammers and turn them into a force to be reckoned with sooner than later — at least, that was the place. So far, not a single thing has gone right: just two goals scored while conceding 10. After spending well over $100 million during the summer transfer window — including a club-record fee of $45 million on mercurial attacker Felipe Anderson — the expectation was that a manager with Pellegrini’s pedigree, a Premier League winner himself, would finally lift the east London club out of years of mid-to-lower-table mediocrity.

Perhaps the climb begins on Sunday, with Everton missing a number of key figures due to injuries and suspension. With Michael Keane, Seamus Colemand and Phil Jagielka suffering from various injuries, Marco Silva will have to piece together a makeshift defensive unit. Further up the field, Richarlison is serving the second of his three-game ban for head-butting Bournemouth’s Adam Smith.

INJURIES: Everton — OUT: Richarlison (suspension), Seamus Coleman (foot), Phil Jagielka (knee), Michael Keane (head), Andre Gomes (hamstring), James McCarthy (leg) | West Ham — OUT: Manuel Lanzini (knee), Winston Reid (knee), Andy Carroll (ankle)