Everton continued the quest for the one domestic trophy that does not have a place in their trophy cabinet. This was the first time the two teams had faced each other in the League Cup with their last cup meeting way back in January 1967 when Everton won their third round FA Cup tie after a replay.
Today, Sean Dyche faced his former club for the first time and Farhad Moshiri made the trip to Merseyside on a poignant night as the club paid an emotional tribute to chairman Bill Kenwright.
Sean Dyche made just two changes from the side that beat West Ham United on Sunday. Ashley Young and Arnaut Danjuma were back in the starting lineup for Nathan Patterson and Abdoulaye Doucoure.
Vincent Kompany made wholesale changes for the match after their weekend loss to Bournemouth.
The Goodison crowd rose to their feet to pay their respects for Bill Kenwright. The ghosts of the Boys Pen joined in the respectful salute to Blue Bill. His seat was vacant, but a blue and white Everton scarf was draped over the back.
The game kicked off with Everton attacking the Park End. It was clear that Burnley were wanting to build from the back and Everton were willing to put pressure on them from the front. Everton were getting some joy down the right side with Ashley Young trying to get balls into the box but the 6’5” tall Burnley keeper Arijanet Muric was preventing any chances.
The first shot on target came courtesy of Onana but the ball deflected into the path of Muric. A quick outlet from Pickford to Calvert Lewin was matched by Muric who charged out and cut off the pass. The deadlock was broken as Dwight McNeil delivered a perfect cross to the head of James Tarkowski who buried it into the back of the old onion bag. The former Burnley boys had stepped up to put their former team under more pressure.
Dyche’s side were turning the screw in search of their second and Danjuma did well to find McNeil in space on the edge of the box but the shot was well wide. Burnley broke forward for the first time but Jarrad Branthwaite was there to block the shot. “Come on Burnley” rang down from the travelling supporters.
Everton was counter attacking and Amadou Onana should have done better when the ball ended up at his feet with the goalkeeper out of position but he was leaning back and the ball went into the Park End. Moments later it was Burnley’s best chance but a cross from Jay Rodriguez was cut out by James Garner which prevented a tap in at the back post.
The half ebbed and flowed but Burnley was definitely in the ascendency as the first half was coming to an end. The control that the Blues had early in the match had dissipated and Sean Dyche was going to have to get them back into the game. Nathan Redmond almost brought the teams level but his shot from a tight angle hit the post.
Burnley ended the half with 61% of the ball possession but had not really troubled Pickford with only two shots and none on target. Everton needed to assert themselves and more was needed going forward.
The second half kicked off with no changes to either team. Everton started fast and the high press was back on display. Calvert Lewin had the ball in the back of the Burnley net but he was called offside. Burnley could not keep the ball and a quick pass from Garner and a lovely touch from Calvert Lewin had the Burnley defenders scrambling but his shot was deflected wide. The resulting corner from McNeil was headed back into the box from Tarkowski and it was Amadou Onana directing the ball home to double the lead.
Onana was clearly lifted by the goal and it took a yellow card tackle from behind by Vitinho to stop Onana from breaking into the box. Everton were content enough with the two goal lead to defend solidly as Burnley looked to get back into the match. A counter attack by Calvert Lewin almost gave Danjuma a chance to get on the scoresheet but Burnley held firm.
Changes were made by both teams as the match reached the 65th minute. Burnley made three changes and Everton took off Calvert Lewin and Danjuma with Beto and Doucoure replacing them. The game lost most of its vim and vigor as Everton started to get more of the ball and kill the game off. Beto only had one thought on his mind as he drove forward but his shot was always swerving away from the Burnley goal.
Sean Dyche took the opportunity to make more changes with Patterson and Gueye coming on for Onana and Harrison. Burnley knew that the game was slipping away so two more changes were made which looked more like a chance for his starters to get rest rather than throwing the kitchen sink at the Everton goal.
Beto was almost on the scoresheet when Patterson whipped in a ball but he couldn’t get enough on it to redirect it into the net. It was then Young who forced Muric into a save. Everton were all over Burnley as the game faded into history. Beto put the icing on the cake with a lovely move on the touchline and a pass into the box that was met by Ashley Young to make it three.
The final whistle was blown and the Quarter Finals were the next stop for the Blues in the League Cup.
From the sky above, a smile from Bill Kenwright.
Everton Man of the Match: James Tarkowski - The captain got the opening goal and set up the second. He was solid at the back but it was his impact on set pieces that put him ahead of his teammates. Onana was excellent, McNeil was huge and Young grew into the match.
Tonight was a solid all round effort for Everton. Dyche is getting his message through and the team is starting to play in a more consistent manner at the same time that they are finally taking their chances. In this game the Blues had an expected goal rate of 1.94 with three real goals in the oppositions net. Against West Ham, the xG was 0.8 and they scored two. This result was a fifth win in 7 which has to be commended and celebrated. Bring on Brighton at Goodison on Saturday for a traditional 3pm kickoff!
Everton started well and their fine work was rewarded with a great goal which was crafted on the training pitch at Burnley. Dwight McNeil provided a lovely cross which was met with power and accuracy by James Tarkowski. The goal was well received by the Goodison faithful but the springboard did not lead to more success, rather, the rest of the first half was mostly dominated by Burnley. Everton have had to grind out games in the past few weeks and the early goal was followed by them becoming second best and Burnley were allowed back into the game. Today, no damage was done in the first half and the second goal showed that we need to have more of a killer instinct and push for more so that the game is out of reach for the opposition. Dyche got them back on track at half time and the second goal was the result.
Arnaut Danjuma was given the chance to show Dyche what he could do out wide and it was not very successful. In a game where the left side of the team led the way, the right side was rarely in the game. Darnaut had zero shots, zero dribbles, only 71% pass accuracy and he lost possession 5 times with no tackles, interceptions, ground or aerial duels won. His heat map showed little in the attacking half of the pitch. Is it time to give up on him, no, but his impact as a starter is nowhere near where it needs to be to get a place in the Premier League starting team.