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Sheffield United 0-1 Everton instant reaction - Four in a row

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The Toffees are up to second!

FBL-ENG-PR-SHEFFIELD UTD-EVERTON Photo by GEORGE WOOD/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The run continues!

Gylfi Sigurdsson’s strike with 10 minutes remaining settled a dour encounter against Sheffield United and lift Everton up to second.

That’s four in a row now and although this was arguably against the weakest opposition - according to the table - they had to work just as hard to grind this out as they did against Chelsea, Leicester and Arsenal.

The Blades have yet to win this season but were well organised defensively, while Everton were missing a host of key players and looked a little leggy after their Carabao Cup defeat against Manchester United.

The Toffees were dealt a blow before kick-off when it was confirmed Richarlison will have to follow concussion protocols following his head injury suffered against the Red Devils, ruling him out of this game and Monday’s clash with Manchester City.

Anthony Gordon came in to make his first start, satisfying a number of fans who have called for the youngster to be given a chance.

Frustratingly, the Toffees seemed to carry on where they left off against Manchester United. Slow and ponderous in possession, they allowed the Blades to have much of the ball early on.

They had an early opportunity when David McGoldrick was played in and saw an effort cleared off the line by Ben Godfrey - though he would have been offside anyway.

Everton’s first shot on target was a long range effort by Alex Iwobi after the 24 minutes that was easy for Aaron Ramsdale to collect.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin was isolated, again, but nearly scored a goal of season contender when he chested down Michael Keane’s long pass before fizzing a volley just wide.

Sheffield United v Everton - Premier League Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

That seemed to lift Everton, who belatedly began to get a grip on the game.

They were gifted an opportunity when Blades goalkeeper Ramsdale fumbled a Sigurdsson free-kick, but he did well to block Godfrey’s effort from point-blank range.

Sigurdsson then bent an effort from distance just wide of the post with Ramsdale sprawling.

Oliver Burke then managed to wriggle free from Doucoure before firing in an effort across goal with the last kick of the first half.

Gordon struggled to make an impact and was replaced early in the second half by Bernard, though the wild and wet conditions made it difficult for anyone to make much of an impression.

Seamus Coleman was introduced for Keane, with Mason Holgate switching to the centre. Andre Gomes then came on for Tom Davies, who had actually done ok in a deeper role.

The reason I’m listing substitutions is because there was precious little goalmouth action.

United forward Ollie McBurnie has a penalty shout rightly turned down while defender John Egan sent a header well over from a corner.

Everton had offered nothing in reply - until 80 minutes were on the clock.

Sheffield United v Everton - Premier League Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Sheffield United failed to properly clear Coleman’s chip into the box, with Bernard and Doucoure combining well to lay the ball into the path of Sigurdsson who stroked the ball into the corner.

Egan nearly responded when his cross drifted toward goal and needed to be tipped over the bar by Jordan Pickford. Enda Stevens then blasted over from the edge of the area after a corner had flown right across the box.

Chris Wilder’s side continued to pile on the pressure and win a flurry of corners in stoppage-time, with McBernie just failing to get enough on Oliver Norwood’s header.

The Scotland striker then fired just wide in the 96th minute (despite five being added on, cheers ref).

Thankfully the whistle went seconds later, as the Toffees go marching up the table.

They weren’t at their best, but this is what good teams do.

It was also their first win without Richarlison in the side since he joined the club over two years ago.

And given the circumstances, this has to go down as one of the most impressive victories of the campaign so far.