That was a terrific half of Premier League Football. Everton were really good, but Burnley will rue the chances they missed in the first half. Thanks for your company - ta-ra.
- 2nd Half
Everton - Burnley
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Full-time: Everton 3-1 Burnley
This win will be huge for Everton's confidence and will, I'm sure to Benitez no harm as he's shown the ability to adapt even if he's correcting his own mistake.
Sky gave Townsend man of the match, by the way.
Everton seek the exclamation mark of a fourth goal, the ball whizzing between Iwobi, Doucoure and Townsend, but can't find the right cross when they get the chance to, twice.
There'll be four additional minutes.
Burnley win a corner down the left which Rodriguez swerve in, and Pickford, who comes, gets just enough on it, the ball skidding across his knuckles and to safety.
Burnley will play worse than this and lose - I'm not worried for them - but they could do with getting some points.
- OffDemarai GrayEverton
- OnAlex IwobiEverton
Iwobi replaces Gray, who's had a very acceptable second half. But for man of the match, it's a toss-up between Docoure and Townsend; I'm going with the latter.
- OffChris WoodBurnley
- OnJay RodriguezBurnley
Rodriguez replaces Wood.
The standard in the Premier League is very, very serious now. I don't think the best teams are the best there's ever been, but there are four who are good - that's never been the case before - and behind them, Everton, Spurs, West Ham, Wolves, Arsenal and Leicester all have proper players.
I said earlier that Benitez is cautious, but he's also practical, and I'm sure he's got a better idea of his team's limitations and strengths than previously. Ultimately, Richarlison isn't a one-man forward-line so needs a man close to him, and the extra man in midfield is allowing Everton to dictate.
It's so great to see Gray getting it done - I remember watching him when he was much younger and thinking he had something - because there's little better than watching talent realise.
A displeased Richarlison is replaced by Rondon,
Burnley send on Lennon and Vydra for Gudmundsson and Barnes.
McNeil swings in a cross and Tarkowski nods him a livener, but someone, Wood I think, was offside.
Goodness me, here come Everton again, Richarlison poking to Gomes inside the box, but a slide from Mee robs him of the additional centimetre he needs to wrap his foot around the ball and curl far corner, so the shot goes wide.
Townsend is all over this now, nipping inside his man to work the ball onto his right foot, and with the yard he needs earned, he spanks a wobbler that Pope has to flying arm away.
Doucoure has been brilliant since Benitez liberated him. I doubt we see him compromised like this again.
I don't claim any great credit for saying this, but Everton are doing what they're doing because they've got better players than Burnley, so are able to pull them apart in the formation that most emphasises that discrepancy.
Everton are flying now, Coleman rinsing down the right and crossing low and hard for Doucoure to ease home ... but he got ahead of the ball, so the flag goes up.
GOAL! Everton 3-1 Burnley (Gray) This is another beauty, Doucoure on the right touchline seeing Gray slinking through the middle. He sticks a sensational pass into his stride and watches as his mate controls, steadies, sits the keeper down and passes inside the near post. Seven minutes, three goals, game over!
WHAT A GOAL WHAT A GOAL WHAT A GOAL! Everton 2-1 Burnley (Townsend) Oh my absolute days. Doucoure, again advanced, finds Townsend 30 yards out, and he advances, has a look, and arcs a screeching left-footer high over Pope that dips into the net!
Mee gives it away to Townsend who finds Doucoure, able to drive forward now there's another midfielder behind him. His pass for Richarlison is poor, but we can expect to see much more of this kind of behaviour in the remaining minutes.
Yup, here comes Gomes, with Godfrey making way. Everton will, presumably, switch from 3-4-3 to 4-3-3 and it looks we got ourselves a ball-game.
GOAL! Everton 1-1 Burnley (Keane) Keane scores against his former club! This is a terrific, simple goal, Coleman spreading to Townsend, who goes down the side of Mee, lured out wide, then nips inside, curls a fast, flat cross onto Keane's noddle, and he glances into the near bottom corner.
Everton have been a bit better since half-time though, and Digne goes down the left to win a corner off Gudmundsson.
Andre Gomes looks to be getting ready. He has very nice hair, but someone with legs and goal-threat might be more sensible.
Surely Benitez needs to alter his tea's formation now. An extra man in midfield and you'd expect them to dominate, but at the moment the game is out wide, right where Burnley want it to be.
Losing this would be a very bad look for Everton.
GOAL! Everton 0-1 Burnley (Mee) McNeil swings in the free-kick from way back and it's cleared ... but only as far as Gudmundsson, who's alive to the situation and quickly swerves a ball into the mixah from out on the right but far closer to goal, which allows Mee, who's anticipated the delivery, to nip in front of Mina and stoop to punch home the opener.
Townsend shoves Taylor, who skirts around him, and that is apparently card-worthy. I don't expect consistency between games, but in a game it's a bare minimum.
Out on the left touchline, Tarkowski sees a chance to power through the ball in order to rattle Richarlison in the follow-through and does just that. I'm not sure that can be justified according to the laws, but Martin Atkinson contents himself with a free-kick and no card. I wonder if Richarlison, who's ticking, will avenge.
Back to this Everton formation, Benitez should, in my opinion, trust his better players to impose themselves on Burnley's in their preferred formation, but he's naturlaly cautious so.
I'm surprised it's Digne with this one, as it's the wrong side, and he clatters into the wall and Burnley work it clear following an Everton throw.
Pickford sends a nice ball downfield for Coleman and Townsend drives forward so Brownhill wrestles him to the ground and is booked; I wonder if he'd have done likewise had he been shown a card for that early hack. Anyway, free-kick Everton from just outside the box, just left of centre.
I'd wondered whether Everton would stick with their 3-4-3 and the answer is yes, for the now. But I'd not be surprised to see Iwobi or Davies replace one of the centre-backs at some point.
We go again.
Burnley played fairly well for a bit but missed the two presentable chances they created; if Everton play to even 60% of their capability, they may live to regret those.
Half-time: Everton 0-0 Burnley
There'll be one additional minute. Everton have Rondon on the bench, and there's every chance he comes off it to not score.
Now Everton counter and Digne's cross is blocked at source. We've barely seen him as an attacking force, something Benitez will want sorted I'm sure.
McNeil breaks through centrefield and finds Lowton, but his cross is fractionally too high for Wood.
Everton have been better the last 10 minutes, but they'll be getting a telling at half-time I shouldn't wonder.
The corner goes back stick and Godfrey heads wide.
Richarlison is coming into this now, pulling into the inside-right channel before crossing into Taylor and earning a corner.
And there he is! Not starting a row, but coming short to Coleman, taking his throw, turning, and laying him back in. The cross is decent too and this should be goal ... but Gray shoots wide, then the flag goes up because Coleman was offside.
This has got dull, I'm afraid. Rcharlison is on a rolling boil, though, so there's hope something fun might happen.
Ruckus on the pitch - minor, I'm afraid - as Richarlison catches Mee and Tarkowski gets all sad.
Everton have been absolutely wack so far.
...and they take it short. Why? Eventually, Keane up-and-unders a loose ball towards Mina at the back post, and he can't get anything on it.
Better from Everton, Richarlison coming off the front to link the play and allow Digne to cross, which is sent behind for Everton's first corner...
Better from Everton, Townsend sticking a ball into the box for Doucoure, making that third-man run. He opts to go across Pope, but the air on the strike makes the save easier than it might've been - it's harder to get down than up.
Huge chance for Burnley! Westwood tosses a ball into the box which Barnes pursues to the by-line, knocking back for Wood who finds Brownhill just inside the box. He's got time to measure this, but can only drag straight at Pickford. That could be a huge miss.
Goodison is very quiet tonight, which is surprising - most grounds have been much louder since lockdown robbed us of a year's worth of support.
Doucoure is so late on Westwood he's almost posthumous, but no booking, again.
We see that corner again, Hinchcliffe pointing out that Tarkowski was hauled about by Doucoure. He thinks it was a penalty and the laws probably bear him out, but I can see why the officials don't want to get involved with incidents of that ilk; if they did, we'd have many, many penalties.
Burnley are much the better side at the moment, and Everton could do with that extra man in midfield.
Now Lowton crosses from the left and an overs from Barnes creates a decent chance for Wood ... but Mina deflects it wide and the corner comes to nowt, though there's a bit of a flap from Pickford.
Taylor wriggles down the left and crosses, but Wood can only plop a header into Pickford's arms.
Doucoure picks up a poor McNeil pass and for a moment it looks like he can stick Richarlison in. But his pass is equally poor and easily intercepted.
That ball from McNeil was so so good. In co-comms, Andy Hinchcliffe reckons Wood pulled out of the header because he was worried about getting clattered by Pickford, but I don't think it's that - I think he thought he could administer a light touch because that was what the cross needed.
Burnley are playing nicely so far, moving the ball well as they seek to work crossing opportunities.
Burnley force a corner that yields another but opt for a back-post delivery towards Tarkowski, and by the time the ball reaches him it's lost all pace and two defenders smother his attempted knock-back.
Everton are waking up now, a poor header from Mee falling to Gray, but as he looks to slide in Richarlison the line steps up and the flag is raised.
Gray sashays infield and has Coleman free down the right, but in ther form he's in he fancies a shot, dragging a scoosher just wide of the near post.
Everton haven't got going yet.
It's been a quiet start, but as I type that McNeil is given time to mosey infield, take a touch, have a look, pick his nose, and swing a tremendous cross just over Keane onto Wood's middle brow, and he's going to get there before Pickford ... but he watches it onto the wrinkle, then drops the head fractionally early, missing the ball entirely! That was an exceedingly presentable opportunity.
Doucoure punches a clever pass in behind Taylor, but he turns smartly to get in front of Townsend and see the ball into touch.
Here's Gray again, trying a low cross that Mee wafts away.
McNeil weaves infield and looks to spread the play right, but Gray chases back to intercept, then Coleman hammers a diag from touchline to touchline and Gudmundsson intercepts via header.
Benitez is nauseated because Richarlison is down following Brownhill's early reducer. No doubt he'll be equally outraged by Allan's inevitable riposte - though, in fairness, I've no idea what no card was shown.
Almost immediately, Gudmundsson swings in a cross from the right, which is headed away easily enough.
Away we go!
The players take the knee. All black lives matter people.
I didn't bother relating the details of the Neville-Carragher Messi/Ronaldo "debate" because it was crap, but if you don't believe me here it is.
Here come the teams!
We've just seen stats of Everton's home record, which is much better with fans than without. There was a general levelling out of things, but Goodison is one of the tighter, louder grounds so it's no great surprise to see that. I'd be very surprised if Burnley got anything out of tonight.
Goodness me, the state of this gear.
I wonder how Everton will get around Richarlison tonight, because if the wide players stay wide, that's asking a lot of a midfield two. I'm sure Doucoure will try a few third-man runs, but perhaps a winger will come inside when the ball's on the other flank.
Ah, there you go - Carragher says against teams like Burnley, Benitez sometimes went 3-4-3, as it's a good way of nullifying the strengths of a direct 4-4-2. Like me, he thinks the absence of Calvert-Lewin was the key factor, but there are other reasons too.
Benitez tells Sky the team spirit is good and winning the first game in front of a crowd really helped the team's confidence. Dyche, meanwhile, says his team have played ok but errors in the boxes have cost them. are they the new Brighton?
Ben Mee makes his 200th Premier League appearance for Burnley tonight, and that's a great effort. He's a top bloke, who told idiot fans what was what.
I really like this lad - who scored a jazzer at Goodison last season - and hope he can keep improving. Obviously there's more to football and more to his game than numbers, but ultimately he needs to score and create more goals than he has done so far.
Ahahahah, Neville has just said arguing with Carragher is like arguing with a five-year-old. He's not wrong.
Bad news for Everton.
On Sky, Carragher and Neville are arguing about the best player of all time, Carragher for Messi and Neville for Ronaldo. I agree with Carragher at least in terms of which of the two is better, but he's arguing his point like an infant.
The 3-4-3 Everton are deploying tonight looks a smart move against Burnley, because it gives them three centre-backs against two strikers and they won't be outnumbered in the middle of midfield or out wide.
Burnley, I imagine, will want to get it to their wingers and stick balls into the box. Analysis like that is why they pay me the big bucks.
This fixture last season:
Ah, I should've noted, Maxwell Cornet, Burnley's new signing from Lyon, is on the bench tonight. He can play at full-back or on the wing, but I imagine Sean Dyche wants him on the left of his back four.
I'm looking forward to seeing how Richarlison does tonight. I'm sure that he enjoys playing with Calvert-Lewin, but I sense he also wants to be the main man, and tonight that's the case. He's got the raw materials to be a serious player but hasn't quite got there yet, and at 24, it's time. His time is now.
Burnley, meanwhile are as unchanged as you'd expect them to be following the late Patrick Bamford goal that deprived them of victory against Leeds. They'll line up in 4-4-2 formation, of course they will.
By the looks of things, it's a change of formation for Everton tonight - most likely because Dominic Calvert-Lewin is out injured. Instead of the 4-4-1-1 that won so well at Brighton before the break, it's a 3-4-3; Holgate drops out with Mina coming in.
Let's have some teams...
I'm looking forward to this one. Everton have started the season nicely under Rafael Benitez, with Demarai Gray looking like an inspired signing; if they win here, they join Man United, Chelsea and Liverpool on 10 points. Burnley, on the other hand, have begun poorly - again - but have more than enough to cause Everton grief in the kind of game that always causes them grief. And it's live!
Evening all, and welcome to Everton v Burnley!