Everton’s impressive track record on their travels has brought them closer to Europe. A header from Richarlison in the second half sealed his ninth victory in 13 away games in the Premier League this season and kept Carlo Ancelotti’s side in contention not only for a place in the Europa League but also for qualification for the Europa League. Champions League.
West Brom’s frustration is that this match could have turned out very differently if they had seized even one of the opportunities created over a long period when they were at the top. But just as Sam Allardyce’s men were grateful for Brighton’s good luck and poor completion last weekend, here they had to mourn their own waste and a small offside spotted by VAR in injury time.
Sam Allardyce’s suggestion that he would settle for a draw to extend his team’s unbeaten streak raised fears that he could go 0-0, but West Brom played with initiative and enthusiasm. The coach identified Mbaye Diagne as one of the keys to his survival and said his team needed to improve the serve to the Senegalese forward, who, in turn, needed to perfect his shot. Diagne has looked menacing since coming on loan from Galatasaray in January, but had scored only in his six appearances before Everton’s visit. That goal came in the second minute of last month’s tie at Old Trafford, a result that kicked off a three-game unbeaten streak that Allardyce hoped to extend.
Diagne should have opened the scoring in the second minute here as well. There could be no complaints about the quality of service for the forward when Conor Gallagher stormed into the right side of the Everton area and made a beautiful cross between Michael Keane and Mason Holgate. Diagne jumped up to face him, but couldn’t apply enough power, allowing Jordan Pickford to cross the goal and push his looped header.
West Brom was not discouraged. Conor Townsend made regular forays down the left, exposing Alex Iwobi’s frailty on the side. When Townsend set Matt Phillips up for a cross in the ninth minute, Ben Godfrey had to make a timely intervention to prevent the ball from reaching Diagne. It was Keane’s turn to come to the rescue before Diagne could connect with a cross two minutes later after an even more graceful move, this time down the opposite flank.
Pickford was called into action again in the 13th minute when Phillips tested him with a low scraper from 20 yards. The team in the relegation zone looked brighter and more fluid than Carlo Ancelotti’s men, who staggered again in the 17th minute when Townsend started an attack by pouncing on a loose pass from André Gomes. The move culminated with Diagne knocking down a Phillips header and turning to fire just over the bar, having held Holgate and Keane at bay.
It was indicative of the way Diagne destabilized her markers that Holgate was booked later in the half for going into a tackle against the striker in a relatively harmless position near the touchline.
Everton showed little acceptable threat until they put Bernard on a 20-yard shooting opportunity, though Okay Yokuslu blocked him with a challenge that encapsulated West Brom’s commitment. But that was the beginning of an Everton improvement, and Darnell Furlong had to make another major block when a shot from Richarlison veered in the way of Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Three minutes later, another lucky rebound gave Calvert-Lewin an opportunity he really should have taken, but the forward’s weak 15-yard shot allowed Sam Johnstone to make a good save with his foot.
West Brom started the second half with the same verve they had shown for most of the first. Diagne launched a header just over the crossbar after a long serve in the 51st minute. Gallagher then jumped into the box and hit the ball in the face of the goal, but neither teammate was close enough to push into the net. .
Recognizing his team’s difficulties, Ancelotti made changes ahead of time, retiring Iwobi and abandoning the back-three when he changed to 4-4-2. A few minutes later he replaced Abdoulaye Doucouré with Gylfi Sigurdsson. The Icelander soon orchestrated the advance in a way that will have hurt Allardyce as much as it excited Ancelotti. Giving up from set pieces always angers Allardyce, so he would have been horrified when Sigurdsson, after throwing a corner, was able to pick up the half punt and send it back into the six-yard box, where Richarlison jumped to head for the net underneath. . little or no pressure.
Everton held West Brom at bay until injury time, when Diagne hooked the ball into the net after receiving a cross from Furlong. But a VAR review found the forward’s left foot to be offside.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism