Everton came out 3-1 victors against Burnley after an exciting Monday night affair.
The main factor that stood out to fans when first looking at the lineup was the absence of English talisman Dominic Calvert-Lewin who had broken his toe earlier this week in training as confirmed by Rafa. The other thing taht was apparent was the use of a five back, showing that despite being the home team, the Blues were looking to be compact and solid defensively.
The first five minutes served as a sparring match between the two teams, with neither able to create any clear cut chance to take an early lead.
It was in fact the visitors who had the first opportunity of the game as Dwight McNeil delivered a sumptuous cross from deep right onto the head of Chris Wood but the striker failed to get any meaningful contact on it.
There was a scrappy feel about the game which would suit Burnley more as they looked to bring physicality aiming to disrupt our more technical players in Richarlison and Demarai Gray.
Burnley were definitely the more positive, attacking down the flanks with a clear game plan to fire crosses into the area for the likes of Wood and Barnes to feed on.
Dyche’s team were dictating past the 20 minute mark, putting constant pressure on the Everton back three and limiting and outlet for a counter attack.
Despite the opposing pressure, the Toffees grew into the game resulting in a Doucoure shot that was well saved well by Nick Pope but gave the home crowd something to get behind and build momentum.
The best chance that the Blues had in the first half fell to Gray in the box after some neat link up play between Coleman and Richarlison fed the newly signed winger but he could only divert his shot wayward.
A slight tactical change to the lineup was Michael Keane moving to the centre of the back three allowing Godfrey to move out wide and hopefully provide an injection of pace that would allow the home side to get further up the pitch.
The visitors began to lose their temper at the start of teh second half, committing a series of card worthy challenges but no yellows being brandished by the referee.
It was Burnley who made the breakthrough after Ben Mee, who on in 200th appearance, planted a strong header into the back of the net after a good delivery from Gudmundsson.
Despite the deflated goodison after the goal went in, the Blues pushed on and got an equaliser five minutes later through Keane.
Andros Townsend was afforded too much time and space on the right wing and planted a pin point cross where Keane met it with venom and dispatched his header brilliantly.
The Toffees took the lead not long after with Doucoure winning the ball in midfield and feeding Townsend who skipped past his defender and unleashed what might be our goal of the season in the form of a wicked strike into the top left corner from 25 yards.
The lead went from 2 to 3 almost instantly as Burnley were opened up yet again by Doucoure who sent a magnificent ball into the path of Gray who found himself in acres of space where he could slotted past the onrushing Pope to make it three in three games.
Everton had now fully taken control of the game, winning every ball off Burnley and playing at a quick tempo which led to shot after shot resulting in an electric Goodison atmosphere.
The substitute of Andre Gomes really helped to calm the game down with the midfielder acting composed in possession therefore subduing any Burnley comeback.
Abdoulaye Doucoure was the stand out player as the French powerhouse put in an all round performance, laying on two great assists as well as generally being a force in the centre of the park. Last season’s signing from Watford has really pushed on this season cementing himself as a certified starter.
Andros Townsend also had a great performance proving to be vital in two of the three goals and showing how he and Gray might be the bargains of the summer.
Overall the performance was good, despite a lack lustre nervy first half that saw the visitors dominate the ball, Everton had the firepower to claim all three points and continue our bright start.
Jordan Pickford – 6/10
Seamus Coleman – 6.5/10
Ben Godfrey – 6/10
Yerry Mina – 7/10
Michael Keane – 7.5/10
Lucas Digne – 6.5/10
Allan – 7.5/10
Abdoulaye Doucoure – 9/10 MOTM
Demarai Gray – 8/10
Andros Townsend – 9/10
Richarlison – 6/10