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1718 burnley turf moor 02 1000x500Everton are the visitors to the Turf as the Premier League season reaches its half way stage and it is over half a century since we last played the Toffees on the day after Christmas.

They beat us 2-0 at Goodison Park on 26th December 1967 with goals from Alan Ball and Joe Royle but four days later we were 2-1 winners in the return at the Turf with Willie Morgan and Les Latcham scoring either side of a Jimmy Husband goal.

The last time we met on Boxing Day at home was in 1960. Everton won 3-1 that day with goals scored by Billy Bingham, Bobby Collins and Brian Harris. Ray Pointer scored our goal in front of a crowd of 44,232 but we exacted revenge 24 hours later when Jimmy Robson scored twice to add to one from John Connelly, giving us a 3-0 win in front of a staggering 74,867.

There won’t be attendances anything like that now but I’d expect a 21,000 plus crowd for a game we really do need to get some points from if we are to push ourselves away from the bottom three. The performances recently have, undoubtedly, been better but they have coincided with three of the last four games coming against Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal and all three ended in defeat. Thankfully, last time out at home, we did beat Brighton and we need more of those results having gone into Christmas in 18th place, some way away from where we were a year ago.

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Jack Cork, who has missed just one Premier League game since signing from Swansea in the summer of 2017, said ahead of the game: “We’ve played Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal in three of the last four games and in all of them we’ve put in a good performance and nearly got something from them.” He added: “We’ve got a lot to be optimistic about and we’re looking forward to Christmas and the New Year. We’ve got a good run of games coming up.”

What about the team news? Both Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson and Robbie Brady were ruled out at Arsenal. JGB had missed the previous game at Spurs too when both Aaron Lennon both played. It brought a change of system with all three wide players missing and it wouldn’t surprise me, barring any other injuries, to see Dyche stick with the same formation and team today.

If so, we would line up: Joe Hart, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Ashley Westwood, Jeff Hendrick, Jack Cork, Ashley Barnes, Chris Wood. Subs from: Tom Heaton, Matt Lowton, Ben Gibson, Ali Koiki, Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson, Robbie Brady, Dwight McNeil, Matěj Vydra, Sam Vokes.

Everton come into today’s game having dropped to 11th in the table although a win against Spurs last Sunday would have seen them enjoying Boxing Day in 7th place. They were sixth until recently but they’ve now gone five games without a win since their last victory against Cardiff back in November.

That’s a run of two draws and three defeats although, in fairness, those losses have come against Liverpool, Manchester City and Spurs while they’ve earned home draws against Newcastle and Watford. Incredibly, despite their perceived poor first half to last season, they have one point less this year than was the case in 2017/18.

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There is no doubt where the goal threat might come from. They’ve scored 26 Premier League goals this season with fifteen of those from two players. Richarlison, last summer’s big signing, has scored eight while Gylfi Sigurdsson (pictured), who was the biggest signing a year earlier, has netted seven.

Everton have injury doubts over both André Gomes and Idrissa Gueye for a game when Marco Silva is expected to make some changes with Yerry Mina being tipped for a defensive return. It appears unlikely that there will be a change in goal despite Jordan Pickford coming in for some recent criticism.

Their team against Spurs was: Jordan Pickford, Seamus Coleman, Kurt Zouma, Michael Keane, Lucas Digne, Tom Davies, André Gomes (Morgan Schneiderlin), Theo Walcott, Gylfi Sigurdsson (Cenk Tosun), Richarlison (Bernard), Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Subs not used: Maarten Stekelenburg, Leighton Baines, Yerry Mina, Oumar Niasse.

Last season Burnley recorded a first win at Goodison Park since 1976 and the home win, reported below, gave us a double against Everton for the first time since the title winning 1959/60 season.

 

LAST TIME THEY WERE HERE

 

Burnley finally broke a duck when we played Everton at home last season. Behind to a Cenk Tosun goal in the first half, we came back to win with goals from Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood and in doing so came from behind to win a Premier League game for the first time under Sean Dyche’s management. It was something we’d done only twice previously, at Hull and at home to Spurs as Brian Laws’ team suffered relegation.

It was a win that finally ended a long run without success. Having beaten Stoke 1-0 in mid-December, we’d been on a run of 11 Premier League games without getting a victory but this result triggered a run of five successive wins that took us right to the edge of winning that European place.

Despite the match being played in March, it was a bitterly cold afternoon and there was frustration to add to the cold when Everton went in at half time with a hardly deserved 1-0 lead. We had been by far the better side with Everton thankful to goalkeeper Jordan Pickford for keeping us out.

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With Michael Keane struggling to cope with Ashley Barnes in the first half and having to play alongside the woeful Ashley Williams, Sean Dyche changed things at half time with Chris Wood joining Barnes up front.

Just over ten minutes we were level when James Tarkowski kept the ball in play and got it forward to Matt Lowton. His ball in, which dissected the two Everton central defenders, was one that would have had Match of the Day enthusing had it come from Kevin de Bruyne. It found Barnes who took it forward before beating Pickford on his near post.

We won a couple of corners. Pickford and Williams played their part and that allowed Wood to get up at the far post to head home. There was just time for Williams to get himself sent off but there was no doubt that the points were won by the much better team on the day.

The teams were;

Burnley: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Stephen Ward, Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson, Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Aaron Lennon, Jeff Hendrick (Chris Wood ht), Ashley Barnes. Subs not used: Anders Lindegaard, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Dean Marney, Georges-Kévin NKoudou, Sam Vokes.

Everton: Jordan Pickford, Seamus Coleman, Ashley Williams, Michael Keane, Martina, Theo Walcott, Tom Davies (Wayne Rooney 59), Idrissa Gueye, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Gylfi Sigurdsson (Yannick Bolasie 83), Cenk Tosun (Oumar Niasse 68). Subs not used: Joel Robles, Mason Holgate, Leighton Baines, Morgan Schneiderlin.

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