Everton strike late to snatch all three points against Palace

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  • Zaha wins PK; Pickford denies Milivojevic
  • Calvert-Lewin wins it in 87′
  • Tosun adds on the insurance in 89′

Everton received — and responded to — a wake-up call on Sunday, as Marco Silva‘s side struck twice in the final minutes of their 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace at Goodison Park to extend their ongoing winning streak to three games.

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Neither side offered much of anything in the first half, as the best scoring chances were confined to speculative efforts from long-range free kicks and botched headers on set pieces.

Gylfi Sigurdsson entered Sunday’s game in a purple patch of goal-scoring form (four goals in his last four games), but could conjure up very little with his four first-half shots (juts one on target).

James Tomkins had Palace’s best chance of the opening period, as he rose above the crowd to get a head on Andros Townsend‘s floated ball toward an unmarked Tomkins at the back post. Unfortunately for Tomkins, his contact wasn’t solid and the ball sailed five feet wide of the post.

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Finally, in the 59th minute, a moment of real consequence, but still not a goal.

Wilfried Zaha went down in the penalty area after contact from Seamus Coleman and won a penalty kick. Luka Milivojevic stepped up with a sterling record from the spot, but the Serb hit his effort straight down the middle and Jordan Pickford was able to stretch his trailing right leg to make the kick-save and keep the score 0-0.

Minutes later, the game appeared to have opened up a bit, thus came Everton’s best chance thus far. Sigurdsson played Theo Walcott in behind for a one-on-one chance against Wayne Hennessey, but the pacy winger fired straight at the Welsh goalkeeper and came away empty-handed.

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There was still plenty of time left for some late drama — and a pair of goals — though. Following a sleepy start to the game, Everton had finally awoken and seized the three points the deserved.

First came Dominic Calvert-Lewin‘s header to send Ademola Lookman‘s cross into the back of the net in the 87th minute, followed in short order by Cenk Tosun‘s cool finish past Hennessey two minutes later.

The result sees Everton (15 points) climb from 11th to 8th in the Premier League table, while Palace (7 points) sink to 15th.

Everton 3-0 Fulham: Toffees dominate second half

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  • Everton wins its 2nd of the year
  • Fulham concedes two again
  • The Whites remain without a win at Goodison Park

The two sides traded small blows in the first 45 minutes, but a dominating second half saw Everton skate past a missed penalty and defend home field against Fulham for a 2-0 win on goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Cenk Tosun.

Sigurdsson missed a spot-kick soon after the break, but he would atone with the game’s first goal minutes later, while the Fulham defense broke down to allow Everton in for a second.

As both teams looked to feel out the game, Fulham was forced into a very early change as Timothy Fosu-Mensah went down holding his right arm, in lots of pain, and the Manchester United loanee was withdrawn for Cyrus Christie just seven minutes in.

Despite the early change, Fulham had the game’s first half-chance with Alexander Mitrovic blazing over from long-range. Everton responded with a set-piece opportunity on 15 minutes, but Marcus Bettinelli was there to parry a short-range pop and the offside flag went up. Theo Walcott had a long-range effort deflected on 19 minutes but Bettinelli ranged to his right to make the stop.

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Fulham struggled to produce its usual brand of possessional play early on, and the frustration manifested in persistent fouling. The home fans at Goodison Park begged for a yellow card to be shown, and it eventually came for substitute Christie in the 29th minute.

The visitors finally began to build onto the ball as halftime neared, and they had a monstrous chance on 41 minutes. Jean-Michael Seri found an opening through the middle and poked it left for young Ryan Sessegnon with the Whites suddenly seeing three attackers free on net. Sessegnon took the shot from a tight angle, and it rang off the crossbar and deflected back out to the other side of the pitch.

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After the break, Everton came close to its first goal of the season from a corner, but with Richarlison at the far post, the ball bounced a bit high in front of him, and the Brazilian missed with his awkwardly acrobatic attempt to make contact. Everton’s chance came minutes later on a breakaway for Sigurdsson, and despite Bettinelli coming to collect under little pressure, a penalty was given by the assistant referee for a slight shove in the back from Denis Odoi chasing. The referee had initially waved away the penalty claims, but sheepishly gave it once the assistant waved his flag. Unfortunately for the Toffees, the Icelandic playmaker looped a poor penalty effort off the crossbar and the scoreline remained unblemished.

Sigurdsson would atone minutes later, however, as he unlocked the back line with a ball for Jonjoe Kenny, and while his cross was blocked out by Odoi, Sigurdsson was there to collect the loose ball and curl a fabulous effort into the far corner past a helpless Bettinelli.

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Fulham had a glorious chance to get back level on a three-on-one break, but a horrid first touch from Luciano Vietto ruined the opportunity, allowing Jordan Pickford to collect despite acres of space. That would loom large as the home side doubled its lead on 65 minutes, all too easily. Theo Walcott whipped in a cross past Americand defender Tim Ream, and Cenk Tosun somehow managed to earn 10 yards of separation from the rest of the Fulham defense for the easiest backdoor header of his life.

Sigurdsson added his second and Everton’s third with just a minute left in regulation as substitute Bernard had no trouble marauding down the left, and he cut back for Sigurdsson in all kinds of space at the top of the box for a powerful low finish.

All told, Everton finished with 19 shots, six of them on target, while Fulham failed to register even a single effort on net to trouble Pickford. The win pushes Everton up to 11th with nine points, while Fulham drops to 16th in a crowd with five points. Fulham also sports the league’s worst goals conceded total, up to 16 now with the trio from Everton.

Jordan Pickford signs long-term contract at Everton

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Jordan Pickford has been rewarded for his superb recent form with a new six-year contract at Everton.

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The England international goalkeeper, 24, signed his new deal on Wednesday as the former Sunderland star was named Player of the Season at Goodison Park in his debut campaign with the Toffees in 2017-18.

Pickford took his fine form in the Premier League with him to Russia over the summer as he starred for England in their run to the 2018 World Cup semifinals.

Speaking about his new deal, Pickford was delighted to commit his future to Marco Silva‘s team.

“When I made the move last year I thought Everton would be a great club to come to and the right step in my career,” Pickford said. “Getting the opportunity to become England’s No. 1 was down to being at Everton, I believe, and being able to put in solid performances week in and week out. Coming to Everton, a massive club with a massive history and seeing how passionate and determined the fans are, it’s inspired me to perform week in and week out and it’s moved my career on, without question. I want to play as many games as I can for the club, that’s my goal now.”

Pickford was pretty busy last season under Ronald Koeman and then Sam Allardyce and it is safe to say he was the best signing Everton made in the summer of 2017 as they spent big but drew plenty of blanks with other new additions.

His shot-stopping ability and presence in the box is undoubted and his penchant for starting attacks with his pinpoint passing is also a key reason why he was linked with a move to the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United over the summer.

Instead he has remained at Everton and much like Harry Maguire at Leicester and Kieran Trippier at Tottenham, his stock and confidence levels have gone through the roof after a fine World Cup. His performances against Colombia and Sweden in the knockout rounds were key to the Three Lions advancing to the final four.

Other than David De Gea, Hugo Lloris, Ederson and Alisson, can you name a better goalkeeper in the Premier League than Pickford? I’ll wait.

Quick strike Arsenal tops Everton

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  • Scoreless at halftime
  • Lacazette smashes opener
  • Aubameyang makes it 2-0

Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a pair of goals in under four minutes as Arsenal overcame a sloppy first half to beat Everton 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Petr Cech and Jordan Pickford both made fine saves in the effort, but Cech had more and Everton struggled to find much threat outside of Richarlison and Theo Walcott.

Arsenal moves sixth with 12 points. Everton is 12th with six. Flipped.

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Everton had a pair of good chances go wanting, the first an ungiven penalty to Dominic Calvert-Lewin and the second a ball bounding through the six.

Jordan Pickford made a palm stop on Nacho Monreal‘s bouncing shot as the hosts finally got into the match after the first 10 minutes.

Richarlison was lively in his return from a red card suspension, forcing Cech into a two-palmed save in the 21st minute.

Ex-Arsenal man Theo Walcott won a dangerous free kick with a clever dribble into the box, and Gylfi Sigurdssson hoped his 30th minute effort would punish the Gunners.

Lucas Digne took the kick instead, and Cech popped it over the goal for a corner kick. No luck.

Richarlison played Walcott through on Cech with a 38th minute pass, but the goalkeeper reacted quickly to deny Walcott.

Alexandre Lacazette took one touch too many on the doorstep before halftime.

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Arsenal broke through in the second half.

Aaron Ramsey played a part in both goals, the first an assist on Lacazette’s outstanding strike in the 56th minute.

Then Aubameyang wrong-footed Pickford with an in-tight shot to the back post.

Cech made a fine save on a free kick in the 71st to deny Everton a way back into the match.

Could Joe Hart return to the England squad?

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Gareth Southgate is planning a trip to Turf Moor this Saturday, and that could mean big things for 31-year-old goalkeeper Joe Hart.

The former Manchester City starter and longtime England #1 has fallen out of the setup after a dip in form that led to not only his fall down the England depth chart, but also his exit from the Etihad. After losing his starting spot at City in 2016, a loan move to Italian club Torino was the beginning of the end for Hart’s international job.

Or was it?

Jordan Pickford, who was one of the best goalkeepers at the World Cup this summer, is firmly entrenched in the starting spot. However, there are murky waters surrounding the backup job, and that’s where Hart could find himself back in the mix.

England boss Gareth Southgate has insisted publicly that the position is open for the taking. Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy is expected to be the man Southgate calls upon during the October international break, but that’s nowhere near set in stone. Burnely’s Nick Pope, who served as backup at the World Cup without seeing game action, is out injured for a significant amount of time with a dislocated shoulder. Jack Butland‘s stock has dropped after Stoke City was relegated, and now the Potters toil in the bottom third of the Championship standings. Fulham shot-stopper Marcus Bettinelli was called up in early September, but he did not feature, and the 26-year-old hardly even has the confidence of his own club manager.

So, could Hart earn himself a spot in the rotation? With Pope injured, the 31-year-old has stepped in at Burnley and performed at a decent level despite just a single point for the club through the first five Premier League matches. With few concrete options, it’s possible a familiar face could be back in the England squad.