Gylfi Sigurdsson

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Everton’s potential meets ‘sense of urgency’ in win

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Everton again tantalized the league with a complete performance on Saturday, opening the door to the possibility that Marco Silva‘s side finally gets it.

[ RECAP: Everton 2-0 West Ham ]

Theo Walcott said his side was ready to go from Moment No. 1 at Goodison Park, where a 2-0 win over West Ham United could’ve been doubled on another day.

“The sense of urgency was what we needed,” Walcott said.

“The game felt like we need to start taking our chances, we had so many. It showed how good we can be going forwards. We know the quality in the team, we know what to expect from each other.”

That urgency needs to come each week, and Marco Silva has borne the brunt of the blame for his side’s inability to deliver on a weekly basis.

The manager said the win was not a matter of his men showing up in his defense.

“It’s not that the players delivered for me,” he said on NBCSN. “We are a group who are a team. I’m big proud of them that we played football. This is how we worked from the first day since I joined the club. When I see them express themselves on the pitch like I saw this afternoon, that’s the main thing for me. The quality we showed from the first minute, the intensity, the pace… Very good performance, and the crowd was really good as well.”

With another nice run of schedule the next few weeks, the Toffees will have a chance to prove themselves a contender.

The Toffees are away to Brighton before a winnable League Cup match versus Watford, and that competition is something that could help Silva put a feather in his cap. Spurs then visit before match-ups with Norwich City and Southampton. Surely there are points there if Everton is anywhere near its potential.

Of course, given Everton’s problems finding any semblance of consistency this season, that’s easier said than done.

“There was a real purpose to our game today,” said Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Now replicate it.

Everton dominate West Ham

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Everton dominated West Ham United and beat them 2-0 at Goodison Park on Saturday, as the pressure eased on Marco Silva.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

Bernard gave them an early lead and although the Toffees missed several glorious chances after that, Gylfi Sigurdsson sealed the win in stoppage time with a magnificent strike.

With the win Everton move on to 10 points for the season, while West Ham remain on 12 points.


3 things we learned

1. Everton dig deep and fight for Silva: The Toffees were told by Silva ahead of this match that it was a ‘must win’ in their season. My goodness, did they take those words to heart. Silva’s side fought hard from the start, tracking back and pressing West Ham out of the game. They should have won by three or four but a victory after four-straight PL defeats is exactly what Silva wanted. Great reaction after a tough few weeks as they set the tone and there was a renewed sense of urgency. With games against Brighton, Norwich, Saints, Tottenham and Leicester coming up, Everton need three wins from their next five, at least, to get themselves fully back on track. This was a good start.

2. Hammers attack lackluster: Sebastien Haller had an off-day and the way West Ham’s attack is set up around him, that was bad news for the Hammers. Felipe Anderson and Pablo Fornals were woeful and the introduction of Andriy Yarmolenko only improved things slightly. Back-to-back defeats to Crystal Palace and Everton has seen most of West Ham’s early-season optimism evaporate. Now it is Manuel Pellegrini who will be under pressure.

3. Neither team ready for top seven: Everton were wasteful and West Ham were shaky at the back, as neither team looks ready to push for a top seven finish this season. Leicester, Wolves and even Crystal Palace look better set, right now, to push for European qualification but there’s no doubt Everton and West Ham have the quality to be in the top 10. Taking that next step will be the toughest part.

Man of the Match: Theo Walcott – His energy on the flank epitomized this Everton display as he hit the bar and came close to scoring. Walcott was fired up and along with Bernard and Richarlison, Everton’s attack was dynamic and didn’t allow West Ham to settle.


The Hammers started slowly as Manuel Lanzini curled a free kick wide and Everton flew out of the traps.

Angelo Ogbonna deflected Theo Walcott’s curling shot wide as the Toffees attack looked lively, and Tom Davies was then denied in superb fashion. A corner to the back post found the Englishman but Roberto somehow clawed away his effort.

Moments later Roberto was beaten, as Bernard wriggled free in the box, looked to be going nowhere but somehow snuck home an audacious effort at the near post to put Everton 1-0 up.

Richarlison then struck the foot of the post after Alex Iwobi‘s perfect through ball as the Toffees were rampant in the first half. West Ham were reduced to long balls over the top as Pablo Fornals almost got on the end of one of those.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Andriy Yarmolenko came on at half time to try and give the Hammers some momentum in attack.

Yerry Mina‘s tame header was saved by Roberto, while at the other end Fornals volleyed wide after a poor clearance from Jordan Pickford.

Lucas Digne sent a free kick wide then Roberto denied another Mina header as Everton pushed for a second. Walcott smashed an effort from distance off the crossbar and Yarmolenko’s free kick was saved by Pickford as the Hammers barely threatened.

Iwobi then missed a glorious chance to seal the victory as Djibril Sidibe played him in but the Nigerian forward hit his shot right at Roberto as the home fans couldn’t believe it. Moments later Mina headed home a corner but the referee blew his whistle for a foul in the box, and then Walcott’s cross was somehow deflected over by a combination of Issa Diop and Roberto.

Pickford came up big for Everton with a fine save late on as Ogbonna’s shot deflected off Mina and the England goalkeeper somehow pushed the ball away.

Then substitute Sigurdsson fired home a fine strike from distance to cap off a fine performance from Everton.

Premier League preview: Everton v. West Ham

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  • West Ham is unbeaten in 6 away PL games, 1 off club record
  • Everton has scored just 1 second half goal this season
  • West Ham has not scored in 4 of past 6 PL meetings with Everton

Everton manager Marco Silva looks to cool his scorching hot seat and pull the Toffees out of the relegation zone as they host West Ham on Saturday morning, live on NBCSN at 7:30 a.m. ET or live online at NBCSports.com.

[ WATCH LIVE: Everton v. West Ham ]

With just seven points through the first eight matches of the season, Everton sits 18th in the Premier League table and has a hard choice to make about Silva’s job status should they continue to stumble. The club has scored just six goals thus far, third-worst tally in the league. Silva’s biggest job is to shore up the defense, but not far behind is returning Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson to their peak attacking form. The pair have just two goals and two assists in Premier League play between them, and none in their last three games. Sigurdsson especially has been a complete disaster, leaving Moise Kean completely on an island up front, still yet to open his goalscoring account. Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been more willing to chip in with his two goals, but it still hasn’t been enough.

They match up against an in-form West Ham side that lost before the international break to Crystal Palace but before that had gone six matches unbeaten, including three straight clean sheets against Norwich City, Aston Villa, and Manchester United. The Hammers sit eighth in the table with 12 points, just two points off the top four.

The purchase of striker Sebastian Haller was highly praised over the summer, and he has already paid dividends with four goals in league play. With Felipe Anderson in good form supporting the attack, the Hammers are a danger up front, especially for an Everton defense left without protection after the departure of Idrissa Gueye. Still, the loss of in-form goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski hurts, and they’ve given up three goals in three halves of play without him so far.

Injuries/suspensions

Everton: OUT – Seamus Coleman (suspended), Jean-Philippe Gbamin (thigh), Cenk Tosun (groin). QUESTIONABLE – Fabian Delph (hamstring).
West Ham: OUT – Lukasz Fabianski (thigh), Winston Reid (knee), Michail Antonio (hamstring).


Projected lineups

Everton: Pickford; Digne, Mina, Keane, Sidibe; Schneiderlin, Delph, Iwobi, Sigurdsson, Richarlison; Calvert-Lewin.
West HamRoberto; Fredricks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Rice, Noble, Anderson, Lanzini, Yarmolenko; Haller.


What they’re saying

Everton manager Silva on not panicking: “We are together in this situation. One month ago, before the first international break, we were in sixth position and in a good moment. I am the first one to take responsibility but it is good to see the players take it as well.”

West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini on attacking mentality: “I think that we are where we deserve to be. I am very pleased with the style of football. We scored a beautiful goal against Crystal Palace, we are making chances and trying to score, we play the most amount of time in the opposite half, we have more shots on target. The fans deserve to have our style of football and we will not change that whether we are winning or losing.”


Prediction

Everton is in a bad place, but there’s too much talent on that squad to continue like this…right? West Ham is in good form but lost before the international break and isn’t impenetrable. Everton will score a goal (surprise!) and secure a 1-1 draw that’s enough to postpone Marco Silva’s departure at least another week.

Chelsea youngster Mason Mount set for first England start

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According to a number of reports from England, young Chelsea talent Mason Mount is readying for his first international start as England gets set to face the Czech Republic in Euro 2020 qualification on Friday.

Mount has two international caps to his name, having come off the bench against Bulgaria and Kosovo in the last international break. He will now make his full debut, a well-earned reward for a stellar Premier League season thus far. The 20-year-old has scored four goals and assisted another through the first eight games of the season and has been one of the most positive attacking influences at Stanford Bridge alongside fellow academy graduate Tammy Abraham.

“Nothing I’ve seen surprises me at all,” England manager Gareth Southgate said of Mount’s play during his pre-match press conference on Thursday. “We’ve had him marked as a player from the first time I saw him at St. George’s [Park]. Chelsea would be the same on that, I think, but of course he’s now been able to have the opportunity to play in the Premier League and display that against top teams. I think you saw his penalty in the Super Cup, [that] was a nice cameo of what he’s about, really.”

Mount is the beneficiary of the withdrawal of James Maddison, who departed the England squad due to an illness, still unable to make his international debut. He will start ahead of Chelsea teammate Ross Barkley, whom Mount has supplanted as the starting attacking midfielder at Stamford Bridge. “I don’t think it matters what our starting three is [in attack],” Southgate said at the press conference while discussing the importance of having depth. “Clearly, at the moment Raheem [Sterling] and Harry [Kane], their numbers are incredible and the consistency of their performance is, but the rest can be down to performance at any given time.”

Mount’s 7.40 WhoScored rating so far through the first eight games of the Premier League season puts him in the top 20 of players in the league and third among English talents behind Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling and his Blues teammate Abraham. His 2.1 key passes per game ranks 13th in the league behind high-volume players like Kevin De Bruyne, Gylfi Sigurdsson, and Jack Grealish.

The 20-year-old is set to start alongside fellow youngster Jadon Sancho who is reportedly readying for another spot in the lineup after scoring a brace against Kosovo his last time out to mark his first international goals. Sancho also started against the Czech Republic in the reverse fixture back in March, a 5-0 rout that saw him assist Sterling’s 24th minute opener.

Guardiola: ‘We want to go for this league and try to win it again’

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It never hurts for Pep Guardiola to be candid about Manchester City’s ambitions this season, especially after a hard-fought 3-1 win at Goodison Park in which Riyad Mahrez oozed class.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Guardiola – the defending champion and serial title winner that he is – used his time in front of cameras, microphones and voice recorders on Saturday night to praise Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson nous, Mahrez’s quality and to send a clear message to his dressing room and Liverpool, who are forecasted to make it difficult for City to reach the podium for a third consecutive year. From the BBC:

“It’s always difficult here. First half we started incredible the first 20-25 minutes, then we had problems to control Gylfi Sigurdsson in that position.

“But we created from wide areas in the second half and we had the quality of Riyad Mahrez for the goal.

“Everton have fast players, they caused a lot of problems at the back, so I’m delighted because we want to go for this league and try to win it again,” he added.

Sure, Guardiola and company suffered a pair of setbacks earlier this season – with the historic loss against Norwich City headlining the bunch – but these type of nested comments are nothing short of advanced managerial strategy. With the tough feat of trying to surpass Liverpool – who are six points up on City after seven matches this campaign – ahead of them, the Spaniard was left with no choice than to start drilling “the champion mindset”  in his player’s minds.

But it’s not all about hitting the button, however. It’s about knowing when to hit it and why. A convincing victory in late September was the appropriate time for Guardiola to do so, apparently. But it makes sense – the pressure and anxiety levels are still relatively low at the Etihad, Saturday night’s match wasn’t a marquee matchup, City are in true winning form after loosing to Norwich, and the list goes on.

Will the likes of Mahrez, Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, etc. listen and execute his message? Or will Guardiola have to repeat himself time and time again? Surely, that will be the grey cloud following City for as long as “leaders” doesn’t get referenced before the name of the club.