Everton Score Four To Sustain Winning Run

Everton continue to rewrite history.

Seven wins from seven to start the season for the first time in 125 years. 

A striker in Dominic Calvert-Lewin top of the Premier League goalscoring charts with six from four matches.

In an age where statistics count for so much, there was even time for Everton to claim a quirky one for themselves, James Rodriguez and Yerry Mina the first pair of Colombians to combine for a Premier League goal when defender Mina headed Everton 2-1 in front right before half-time.

It is 51 years since Everton last won their opening four league games.

This was arguably the most impressive so far.

Shorn of midfield duo Allan and Andre Gomes, and with Richarlison forced to exit midway through the opening half, Everton powered on regardless.

Alex Iwobi came on for Richarlison to have a hand in Everton's third and fourth goals, both scored by the superb James.

What was perhaps the decisive episode under Goodison Park’s soaking skies came seven minutes after the restart.

Everton led 2-1 but had been pegged back once by a team unbeaten in its previous eight Premier League away matches.

Indeed, Everton’s third goal spawned from Brighton trying to play their way back into the contest.

Leandro Trossard got his crossfield pass from the right all wrong.

The Belgian would have been miffed enough with his mishit ball, aghast when he looked up to see precisely where he’d directed it.

Torssard inadvertently fed James, who agilely adjusted his feet to redirect the ball first time for Calvert-Lewin.

He slipped in Iwobi, warming to his task.

Iwobi’s change of pace eliminated Ben White with the ensuing delivery reaching James, flying in at the back post to ram home.

James again 18 minutes later. Everton had ridden a couple of anxious moments at 3-1 but remained adventurous.

Iwobi, handsomely taking his chance to shine, slid a pass for Abdoulaye Docoure, bursting from midfield.

Doucoure held his nerve, slowing down to size up his options. Seeing James rushing to the back post, the Frenchman deftly sent the ball above the lunges of Adam Webster and Lewis Dunk and bouncing into the South American.

He met it with his right boot to gleefully finish into an empty net.

The opening 45 minutes told the story of Everton’s season in microcosm.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side led on 16 minutes when Calvert-Lewin headed in his sixth Premier League goal of the season.

It was reward for Everton dominance in every aspect of the game.

Doucoure sounded Everton’s intent on two minutes when contemptuously intercepting after Yves Bissouma overran the ball in midfield.

Former Watford player Doucoure steered it forward first time for Calvert-Lewin but Mat Ryan saved the shot down to his right.

Everton looked to have the measure of Brighton, circulating the ball confidently and positively.

They denied Brighton time and space; Ancelotti’s players tackling and covering and chasing.

But nothing comes easy in the Premier League.

Twice in their three previous league victories – and in the Carabao Cup against West Ham in midweek – Everton were shaken from their comfort zone by a sucker-punch equaliser.

Tariq Lamptey responded to finding space on the right for the first time with a ball whipped to the far post.

The usually accomplished Trossard uncharacteristically scuffed his shot, striking the ball into the turf.

It reared up for Jordan Pickford, who was unable to claim, enabling Maupay to squeeze his body between the goalkeeper and the ball and swivel to send a strike squirming past Michael Keane on the line.

Everton, already forced into two changes prior to kick-off, lost one of their talismen in Richarlison on 23 minutes..

The Brazilian was a doubt for this game and in the opening stages was the recipient of meaty challenges from Bissouma and White.

A challenge from Lamptey ultimately meant curtains for Richarlison, reluctantly making way Iwobi.

More on Everton’s opening goal: James located Lucas Digne with one of his raking right-to-left passes.

The Frenchman met it with his head – conjuring memories of Everton’s penalty at Crystal Palace last week.

Sigurdsson collected for a shot squeezed behind by White’s deflection.

James rolled the corner to Sigurdsson, who brilliantly crossed to the back post where Calvert-Lewin hung to power home.

He is the first Everton player since Tommy Lawton 82 years ago to score in the Club’s opening four games of a league season.

Goalkeeper Ryan was helpless and the same was true when Everton regained their lead towards the end of two added minutes.

Seamus Coleman – who had drawn a good stop from Ryan with a 20-yard blast on three minutes – was rewarded for his positivity when he was illegally downed by Solly March on the right of the box.

Everton’s two Colombians did the rest, Mina jumping above Webster to beat Ryan inside his left post following James’ exquisite delivery.

Mina showed his defensive prowess to bravely head over from underneath his own bar following a wicked delivery from Brighton’s right on the hour.

By then, Everton had stretched their advantage, courtesy of James gliding forwards to finish with what he started with a tap-in from Iwobi’s delivery.

Tom Davies, switched to right-back after Fabian Delph came on for Coleman – who appeared to hurt his hamstring – was alive to the danger when Pickford punched out another Brighton centre.

Maupay tried to set himself with a chested first touch but Davies flew into clear from under the Frenchman’s nose.

A pattern was emerging late in the game, however.

Because when Mina blocked from Trossard’s shot, then evidently savoured being the strongest man in the box to head the corner clear- and when he subsequently clenched both fists to celebrate thwarting Maupay – Everton had scored their fourth.

Doucoure was fabulous in his defensive work but here was a piece of play to conclusively support his image as a box-to-box performer.

He raced beyond Brighton’s backline and was composure personified to square for James to complete the home side's scoring.

It is a measure of where Everton are that Bissouma's excellent, dipping strike in stoppage time was moot. Irritating but not one to spoil the day.

Everton have scored a minimum of four in four of their seven matches this season.

These are heady times at Goodison Park.

Magnificent Seven

Carlo Ancelotti cautioned Everton would need all their defensive smarts to enter the imminent international break still encased in their “beautiful bubble”.

And Everton did well enough in that respect, not banking the clean sheet they’ve been after since the season’s opening week but conceding only once with the game alive against a team with stacks of attacking ambition.

They had a three-goal cushion when Yves Bissouma's stoppage-time strike arced into the corner.

Indeed, Ancelotti said it was inevitable both teams would go forwards with intent.

Four more goals here makes it 12 in four Premier League matches this term – 24 in seven games in all competitions.

Brighton lost here by a single goal in January but in the intervening period have alighted on a potent formula away from home.

They arrived at Goodison Park today aiming for a ninth successive unbeaten Premier League match on the road – and with a 3-0 win at Newcastle United under their belts this season.

No wonder manager Ancelotti told his team they must “pay attention” to maintain their successful run.

There is a reason winning seven on the spin is a rare feat. Every opponent comes armed with their own strengths and fuelled by specific motivations.

It requires a certain single-mindedness to retain focus on the task in hand and the rising confidence in Everton’s dressing room has never spilled over into complacency.

Instead, the belief created by this impeccable sequence is being channelled to overcome sticky moments – such as equalising goals for West Brom, Crystal Palace and West Ham and a mini-resurgence from League One Fleetwood Town.

Today Everton encountered a tricky situation when Neal Maupay pegged them back with a leveller four minutes before half-time.

It took Everton six minutes to regain the ascendancy.

Emerging on top from four league games at the outset of a campaign is hard enough – Everton last did it 51 years ago with a side boasting Brian Labone, Colin Harvey, Alan Ball and Joe Royle and finished the 1969/70 season as champions.

It is 33 years since Everton strung together seven successive victories, Neville Southall, Peter Reid, Trevor Steven, Kevin Sheedy et al summoning a flawless stretch to essentially clinch the Club’s ninth league title in 1987.

Ancelotti’s players have some ground to cover before their names are whispered in the tones reserved for members of those fabled Everton teams.

But it is a reflection of their achievement over the past month that we can summon those celebrated Everton figures for comparison.

This is the second time in the Club’s history the team has started a season with seven wins.

Back in 1895 – yes, we are travelling back through centuries for like-for-like efforts – Everton completed an eighth success with victory over Liverpool.

That is the next target for the current crop and they won’t look beyond it.

Ancelotti will make sure of that.

Subtle Sigurdsson

Gylfi Sigurdsson picked up where he left off against West Ham United on Wednesday, supplying a goal for Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Midfielder Sigurdsson, starting for the first time in the Premier League this season, employed his trademark guile to thread in the striker to complete the scoring against the Hammers.

Sigurdsson captained Everton on their advance through three Carabao Cup games and wielded a tangible influence.

Coming in for Andre Gomes, the 31-year-old won the corner which led to Everton’s opening goal, reading the play to progress into the box and collect a knockdown from Lucas Digne.

Sigurdsson’ effort as blocked behind but in keeping with Everton’ resourceful football this season the lights remained on when the ball went dead.

James Rodriguez rolled the corner short to Sigurdsson. He tricked Tariq Lamptey – a notable achievement going off the young wing-back’s explosive form this season – to create room for a cross.

A line of Brighton defenders separated Sigurdsson from Calvert-Lewin. The left-footed cross cleared them all, although Ben White at the far post had a puncher’s chance of rescuing his side.

Calvert-Lewin, though, refused to be denied, charging onto the delivery and overpowering White to leave Mat Ryan with no chance.

Carlo Ancelotti has been keen to namecheck Sigurdsson as one of the ‘assists men’ in his Everton squad.

This was the 47th Premier League goal created by Sigurdsson and the 12th in 104 appearances – 90 starts – in the division for Everton.

He has 19 top-flight goals for the Club and 24 across the competitions.

Ancelotti brought Sigurdsson off the bench for meaningful contributions in the opening three games, supporting his vocal faith in the Icelander with opportunities to play.

With one flourish of his left boot, Sigurdsson showed why figures in his boss’s Everton ‘evolution’.

Tom takes His Chance

Tom Davies followed fellow midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure’s lead inside two minutes, pinching the ball off Leandro Trossard moments after Doucoure pounced on Yves Bissouma’s heavy touch.

This was Davies’s 73rd Premier League start but first this season – indeed the only game Davies had previously begun in 2020/21 was against Salford City in the Carabao Cup.

Davies was entrusted with filling what we have already discovered are the very large boots of Allan in Everton’s deepest midfield position.

The 22-year-old sprinted to prevent Brighton players turning in their own half. Receiving possession he busily transferred the ball forward.

Davies in the groove passes the ball first time very well. One pass through a corridor of bodies deep in his own half for Dominic Calvert-Lewin exuded technical excellence.

England Under-21 international Davies was alert to Neal Maupay dropping to supplement his midfield, getting goalside to block the supply line to fellow striker Aaron Connolly.

The Brazilian he was replacing instinctively covers for his full-back’s forward dashes and Davies was assiduous in this task.

Aware of Tariq Lamptey’s fondness for raiding, Davies scampered across to thwart the wing-back, using his head to intervene in the next instant when Steven Alzate tried to maintain Brighton’s attack.

Seamus Coleman’s withdrawal with what appeared a hamstring niggle meant a switch to right-back for the final half-hour for Davies.

Versatility counts for a lot when you’re trying to stake your claim for a role in a team that is winning week after week.

He has the characteristics – athleticism, mobility, skill, defensive intelligence and crossing ability – for the modern full-back assignment.

At least three of those qualities were on display when Davies hurled himself in front of Maupay to toe the ball out of the forward’s path as he braced to shoot.