Everton overwhelmed Burnley under the Friday night lights at Goodison Park to claim three points which moved Marco Silva’s team up to eighth in the Premier League.
The hosts had laid siege to Burnley’s goal in the opening 17 minutes when the deadlock was broken by Richarlison’s deflected effort, Burnley defender Ben Mee awarded the goal after his desperate attempt to block merely helped the ball's progress beyond Tom Heaton.
Heaton managed to beat out Lucas Digne’s 20-yard drive three minutes later. The goalkeeper, though, was completely out the picture, his goal unoccupied, as Seamus Coleman stole in to head home on the rebound.
Burnley fondly imagined the Everton right-back might have drifted offside. Replays revealed the flaw in their thinking, Richarlison the home player stood beyond the visitors’ rearguard but not involved in the play.
Away left-back Charlie Taylor acted as a one-man barrier between Everton and the Clarets’ goal inside the opening five minutes.
In chronological order, Taylor intercepted Richarlison’s precise peanlty-box pass for the overlapping Coleman, put his body in front of a Gylfi Sigurdsson volley which was jumped off the turf, headed clear at the back post with Richarlison looming following Bernard’s left-wing cross – and, finally, slid in to tackle Richarlison as the Brazilian attempted to fasten onto Sigurdsson’s slide-rule pass.
Matt Lowton on the opposite side of Burnley’s defence then did his bit to repel Everton, the former Aston Villa man recovering from being outwitted by Bernard to scamper back and dispossess the South American at the cost of a corner. Minutes earlier, Lowton got in the way of a low strike from Idrissa Gana Gueye, imperious again in Everton’s midfield.
Ashley Barnes had the ball in Everton’s net on 34 minutes but the striker was offside when he converted a smart, angled volley from Robbie Brady’s flighted cross.
Indeed, Burnley cleared their heads and mustered a response after Everton’s second. Michael Keane did very well to climb and prevent Chris Wood from meeting Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s cross from the right.
And left-winger Brady was furious with himself for flashing a header past Jordan Pickford’s right post after timing his run perfectly to connect with Ashley Westwood’s free-kick.
Westwood had gone in the book by this stage, the midfielder cautioned for a nasty looking tackle on Morgan Schneiderlin.
James Tarokowski’s challenge on Sigurdsson 60 seconds before the break was somewhat more accomplished. The England defender tracked Sigurdsson and smothered the Icelander’s shot yards form goal after Bernard’s wonderful, disguised pass sliced open the visitors’ rearguard.
Brady was over with a volley moments after the restart – and shortly before Keane headed at Heaton following an intricate short corner routine between Bernard and Digne.
Everton were momentarily rocked when Richarlison was forced to take an early leave, Theo Walcott the 21-year-old’s replacement.
Schneidelrin, though, retained his senses, identifying the threat as Gudmundsson progressed down the right and retreating to intercept a low delivery bound for the unmarked Brady in the middle of the penalty area.
Wood scuffed a shot which was easily held down to his left by Pickford but Burnley were growing in stature now, their rising belief demonstrated by Brady escaping down the left and sending over a cross for Gudmundsson, unable to tame a rearing ball at the back post.
Calvert-Lewin was too high with a 25 yarder after Jack Cork had toed Gana’s delivery clear and Tarkowski headed out a cross from Sigurdsson destined for centre-forward the recently off-beam Everton player. Burnley's penalty claims were refuted by referee Chris Kavanagh when substitute Matej Vydra tumbled under a Keane challenge.
Tarkowski went in the book for illegally stopping Calvert-Lewin's off-the-ball run.
When Everton next advanced, Coleman – still tearing forward in minute 84 – tried an impudent chip which Heaton plucked one handed from the sky. Three minutes later, Ademola Lookman, on for Bernard, navigated his way across the 18-yard line and rattled the bar with a rising left footer.
Lookman didn't connect cleanly after following up a Walcott effort, enabling Heaton to gather.
That final piece of action came to the backdrop of Phil Jagielka's name echoing around Goodison, the defender on for three minutes of stoppage time to unanimous approval from the stands. Everton's performance and this result were similarly popular among the locals.
Everton struck twice inside four first-half minutes to exert an iron grip on this contest.
Both goals bore all the increasingly familiar hallmarks of this Marco Silva team, Richarlison and Seamus Coleman capping moves loaded with speed, ambition and purpose.
To Coleman, first, a right-back gobbling up the scraps six yards from his opponents’ goal – swooping on a rebound generated by a long-range blast from Everton’s other full-back nonetheless.
Everton had spent the period since breaking the deadlock on 17 minutes applying concerted pressure on Burnley’s goal.
The visitors were scrambling frantically to close gaps and get on top of the men in blue shirts.
Everton, though, were irresistible, fast, resourceful and brimming with intent. Dominic Calvert-Lewin engineered a shot in the box despite being surrounded by three defenders.
The ball cannoned back off one but only as far as Digne, harbouring very pleasant memories indeed of lashing the ball past Manchester United goalkeeper David de Ge from the same spot 12 days ago.
So the Frenchman was never going to turn down an invite to try a repeat.
Tom Heaton dived left and saved – Digne outfoxed De Gea to the other side – but could only shovel the ball into the space in front of him.
That green grass was quickly occupied by Coleman, stooping to nod his second Premier League goal of the campaign and first since back on November 3.
The first goal?
Calvert-Lewin was the instigator, holding up play on the right, fending off all comers as he waited for the correct passing option.
He alighted on it when Gylfi Sigurdsson came into view, on the perimeter of the penalty box D and with his back to goal.
Sigurdsson punched his pass first-time to Richarlison and, with the confidence of a man who has 13 top-flight goals this term, the Brazilian let fly.
The ball fizzed inside Heaton’s left post and Everton led. Richarlison, though, was deprived goal 14 – the strike being credited to Ben Mee, the Burnley defender who jabbed out a leg in a vain attempt to rescue his side but only succeeded in accelerating the ball’s progress beyond the utterly defeated Heaton
Kicking For Home
This meeting with Burnley completed a sold-out Goodison Park campaign. “The supporters are not thinking about their holidays,” said Marco Silva ahead of the contest, “they are filling the stadium and want to watch another very good performance”.
The manager vowed his team was not packing its collective suitcase, either.
This was a chance to finish the season five unbeaten at home – a sequence which included visits from Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United.
Everton started like an express train, pinning Burnley’s two banks of four close to Tom Heaton's goal.
Indeed, the visitors were in danger of digging a trench. A glance at the numbers just past 10 minutes confirmed what our eyes were telling us, Everton hogging possession to the tune of 92 per cent.
Burnley’s totemic strike pair Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes were stationed on the toes of the away side’s midfield quartet.
When Sean Dyche’s team did emerge from their own territory, they were met by Idrissa Gana Gueye or Morgan Schneiderlin, slamming the door in their opponents’ face.
Any fear Everton would not explode from the blocks with the vigour they approached those contests against some of the division’s heavyweights had been conclusively allayed.
In fact, the only concern was over whether Everton might rue not making capital on their overwhelming superiority.
Then along came Richarlison and Seamus Coleman to blow that worry out of the water, too.
Bernard has come into his own as an Everton footballer of late and here he twinkled under the Goodison Park lights.
The Brazilian’s vision and weight of pass unlock opponents and thrill audiences in equal measure.
He is one of those rare breed of footballers who demand you pay attention when he has the ball. Goodison doesn't so much roar in anticipation when Bernard has the ball, as fall silent as it waits to see what happens next.
The 26-year-old is accomplished with both feet. One delivery from the left in the opening stages would have landed on Richarlison’s head but for a good piece of defending from Charlie Taylor.
Bernard was on the right and using his other foot when he stood up a pinpoint cross for Michael Keane to head on target but directly at Tom Heaton shortly after half-time.
He popped up in the middle not long after and nearly executed a first-time pass on the run for Theo Walcott, only Ben Mee to acrobatically intervene.
Marco Silva held back Bernard to an extent in the forward’s first six months at the club following his summer transfer from Shakhtar Donetsk.
The player arrived having had no football for five months because of a shoulder problem and with his previous domestic experience restricted to the very different environments of Brazil and Ukraine.
Managed carefully, Bernard is reaping the benefits. He has started nine Premier League matches off the reel now and is looking more comfortable with each one.
Bernard is brave, too, in the sense that he’ll throw his light frame into challenges with physically intimidating opponents. But more so in his use of the ball, the forward entirely unafraid of trying the difficult pass if he reckons it's his best bet. The thunderous ovation he received as he departed on 72 minutes illustrated Bernard's standing as a bona fide Evertonian favourite.