Everton secure Premier League survival with victory over Brentford

Everton capped a season-defining week with a third successive home victory to secure their Premier League status as Idrissa Gueye scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Brentford.

For the second successive campaign it was a midfielder – a year ago Abdoulaye Doucoure had the honour on the final day – who stepped up to be the Toffees’ saviour and ensure their final season at Goodison Park will be in the top flight.

Last Saturday the Senegal international’s first goal at the ground since February 2017 paved the way for a crucial win over Nottingham Forest.

And, after a rare victory over Liverpool in midweek, Gueye, who before last weekend had scored just four times in 186 league appearances, made it two in three games when he fired home through a crowd of players to settle an uninspiring affair.

The quality of entertainment will matter little to Everton and their fans, however, as a win by any means took them out of the reach of 18th-placed Luton, beaten earlier in the day at Wolves, as it opened up an 11-point gap with only three matches remaining.

Celebrations were muted at the final whistle in the knowledge that, without two separate deductions totalling eight points for breaches of profitability and sustainability rules, life would have been a lot more comfortable for Sean Dyche’s side.

But, with Goodison now deservedly getting a farewell season in the Premier League – their 71st consecutive top-flight campaign – before the move to Bramley-Moore Dock, the club’s future now rests on 777 Partners’ takeover, which is about to drag into a 10th month.

After a first half without a shot on target the game sprang into life five minutes after the break when Mathias Jensen’s low pass behind the back four reached Ivan Toney at the far post, but goalkeeper Jordan Pickford threw himself in the way.

It was the wake-up call the hosts needed and, after Dwight McNeil’s rising 30-yard drive cannoned back off the crossbar, the breakthrough came from Everton’s new goal-scoring midfielder.

A corner was not properly cleared and, when Nathan Collins’ challenge diverted the ball into Gueye’s path, he drove home with great delight.

James Garner’s free-kick rebounded off the crossbar in additional time, but they did not need the safety net of a second goal.

Everton’s first-half statistics this season are both impressive and woeful depending on which end of the pitch they are at.

They are the best in the league at stopping the opposition scoring, keeping a clean sheet in 23 of their 35 games, but have failed to score themselves on 23 occasions, with only Luton and Sheffield United worse.

So it was perhaps no surprise the opening 45 minutes finished with a combined 16 shots but none on target.

Youssef Chermiti was handed his first Premier League start in the absence of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, still struggling with illness despite his man-of-the-match display in the midweek Merseyside derby win, and Beto, out due to concussion protocols.

The 19-year-old had played just 70 minutes previously, with all but one of his 15 substitute appearances coming in the last 10 minutes, with his longest 24-minute spell way back in August.

However, he almost had a dream start when his far-post lunge nearly connected with McNeil’s angled drive.

The chance fell to Abdoulaye Doucoure, from Chermiti’s flick, but he volleyed wide with his weaker left foot.

Aside from that the half appeared one for England auditions, with Jarrad Branthwaite enhancing his reputation and Toney, without a league goal since mid-February, doing the opposite as his season mirrors his club’s in drifting towards mediocrity.

Sourse: breakingnews.ie

No votes yet.
Please wait...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *