Two Premier League games take center stage early on New Year’s Day as Brighton host Chelsea and Aston Villa travel to Burnley.
As both Everton and Tottenham Hotspur come to grips with the gruesome injury suffered by Andre Gomes, it’s worth noting that Toffees player Seamus Coleman made a huge gesture after the 1-1 draw.
Spurs forward Heung-Min Son badly missed with a slide tackle that sent Gomes airborne, the Everton man breaking his ankle on an awkward landing.
[ RECAP: Everton 1-1 Spurs ]
Son was given a yellow card — later turned to red — but went pale as a ghost after he saw Gomes’ injury. Dele Alli said Son was crying in the locker room well after the incident.
It wasn’t too long ago that Coleman broke his leg on international duty with the Republic of Ireland, with Wales defender Neil Taylor’s reckless challenge costing him a long spell on the sidelines.
Coleman will remember learning that Taylor wanted to visit him in the hospital, and sought out Son after Sunday’s events.
Toffees midfielder Fabian Delph summed up the feeling in the Everton team room.
“We feel just as you can imagine,” he said. “It’s difficult time for us. He is one of our brothers, someone we care about. It is difficult to put into words how we feel. As soon as we could get in touch we will send him our best. It’s difficult to see. It’s hard to talk now.”
Obviously, everyone’s minds are with Gomes right now, and Son as well. It was a reckless slide but not a malicious tackle.
Everton has a chance to break out of an early-season slump offensively with a trip to newly-promoted Aston Villa on Friday at Villa Park. (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
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The Toffees have scored just one goal through the first two games of the season, thanks to the tricky winger Bernard, but Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and new signing Moise Kean off the bench haven’t delivered just yet. That could change though against a the defensive pair of Bjorn Engels and Tyrone Mings, which are still gaining chemistry.
Morgan Schneiderlin could make his return after missing last week with suspension and could partner with Andre Gomes in midfield. However, new signing Jean-Philippe Gbamin performed admirably for Marco Silva, and he could have some selection headaches already this early in the season.
For Dean Smith and Aston Villa, it’s another night game at home in Villa Park, and a chance to get the side’s first win. After a strong finish against Bournemouth, maybe it can take that momentum into Friday’s match against Everton.
Everton: Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne; Schneiderlin, Gomes; Richarlison, Sigurdsson, Iwobi; Calvert-Lewin.
What they’re saying
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith on his side’s attack so far: “Our most likely scorer at the moment looks like John McGinn, who has made some really deep runs into the opposition half. Saying that, Jack Grealish had a really good chance last weekend. Wesley has teed up Trezeguet for a good chance. Even Neil Taylor has had two chances. So we’re creating chances and we just have to start taking them now. I am sure they will come.”
Everton manager Marco Silva on his team’s defensive resiliency: “The feeling is really good when we finish a match and haven’t conceded a goal. It means we have worked together and are understanding the plans and our way of defending. It starts up front and all of them have to be proud because of the work they are doing. I am really proud of what we are achieving with our defensive organisation.”
Both teams have spent heavily in the offseason to upgrade their squad, but Aston Villa is still finding life difficult back in the Premier League. Everton, at least, still have a strong defensive core, and should be able to hold off the likes of Wesley and McGinn with his late runs into the box.
With another week of fitness in Richarlison and a chance for Alex Iwobi to play, either starting or off the bench, Everton has a chance to really brush past Aston Villa and make a statement. However, they’re clearly still a work in progress, so it will probably be another tight game. Everton 2-1 Aston Villa
- Dubravka gets 2nd straight clean sheet
- Longstaff bags first PL goal
- Burnley unbeaten run ends
- Magpies sweep Clarets
Newcastle United leapfrogged Burnley with its latest home win, a 2-0 triumph at St. James’ Park on Tuesday.
Sean Longstaff scored his first Premier League goal and Fabian Schar nailed a Goal of the Month contender as Newcastle moved to 31 points and 13th place in the Premier League.
Burnley’s eight-match unbeaten league run is over, the Clarets suffering a first loss since Boxing Day versus Everton. Burnley is 14th with 30 points.
The Magpies won for the fourth time in six matches, the lone loss a 1-0 setback to Spurs. They’ve allowed just three goals in that span.
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Matt Ritchie continued a fine run of form by sending a left-footed cross around the Clarets defense, only for the ball to just evade the reach of Salomon Rondon.
Schar put Newcastle ahead when he hammered a shot Upper 90, kissing the top of the left post on its way into the goal.
Newcastle doubled its lead before the break after Ritchie’s cross was tipped into the path of Longstaff, who took a touch before slotting across goal.
Burnley should have pulled within one before the break, but James Tarkowski very much looked like a center back in volleying over the frame from a half-dozen yards.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
21y 119d – Aged 21 years and 119 days, Sean Longstaff is the youngest player to score for Newcastle in the Premier League since Rolando Aarons in May 2016 (20y 181d v Spurs). Talent. pic.twitter.com/3dinaQSG9e
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 26, 2019
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Almiron blazed past Neil Taylor to get 1v1 with Heaton, but the goalkeeper stopped the nutmeg shot attempt.
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Friday’s matches mark the midway point of the main round of qualifying in UEFA, and the tables remain tight near the top of Groups D and G.
[ MORE: Smalling hurt, Gibson called up ]
Group I, however, is seeing some distance between first and second thanks to Croatia’s result versus Ukraine.
Republic of Ireland 0-0 Wales
Neil Taylor was sent off in the 69th minute for Wales, whose World Cup hopes are in trouble.
Seamus Coleman was stretchered off after the tackle, with a scary-looking injury that will leave Everton fans sick in more ways than one. Coleman’s leg was broken, and left dangling by the challenge.
Ireland couldn’t take advantage of the sending off, and failed in a bid to overtake Serbia for first in Group D. The Irish trail on goal differential, and will host Serbia on Sept. 5.
But Wales will rue the result more, remaining four points back of second-place Ireland. Chris Coleman’s side drops a point behind Austria as well, and will not have Taylor or Gareth Bale (card accumulation) in its next match. That comes against leaders Serbia.
Italy 2-0 Albania
Daniele De Rossi scored a 12th minute penalty kick won by Andrea Belotti, and Ciro Immobile scored late to provided the goals in Gianluigi Buffon’s 1000th appearance for club and country. Fittingly, it ended in a clean sheet. The match was briefly delayed after flares were thrown onto the field.
Spain 4-1 Israel
Spain remains atop Group G on goal differential, eight better than second place Italy. Israel is four points behind both.
Croatia 1-0 Ukraine
Fiorentina’s Nikola Kalinic’s 38th minute goal was enough for the hosts, and Croatia is now five points clear of Ukraine and three above Iceland midway through qualifying.
Austria 2-0 Moldova — RB Leipzig’s Sabitzer nabs winner
Liechtenstein 0-3 Macedonia — Ilija Nestorovski bags brace
Kosovo 1-2 Iceland — Sigurdsson PK the match winner
Georgia 1-3 Serbia — Mitrovic, Tadic lead the way
Turkey 2-0 Finland — Brace for Cenk Tosun