Everton 0 Sheffield United 2
Goals: Lys Mousset (£4.9m)
Own Goals: Yerry Mina (£5.6m)
Assists: Oliver Norwood (£4.9m), John Lundstram (£4.3m)
Bonus Points: Lundstram x3, Enda Stevens (£5.0m) x2, John Egan (£4.5m) x1
Sheffield United secured their first away win of the season with a victory at Everton that the expression ‘against the run of play’ was invented to describe.
Stats can, and often do, lie. But not here.
The Blades managed two attempts all game. Everton had 16.
Not surprisingly then, The top four players in the Bonus Points System were Sheffield United defenders. The fifth was their goalkeeper, Dean Henderson (£4.5m).
Two Everton players, Richarlison (£8.0m), with 10, and Moise Kean (£6.7m), who managed seven, had almost three times as many penalty area touches as the entire United team combined (six).
And yet, somehow, it was Chris Wilder’s side who prevailed.
They did so courtesy of a major slice of luck just before half-time.
Having absorbed plenty of home pressure for 40 minutes, the Blades took the lead when Everton centre-half Yerry Mina (£5.6m) deflected Oliver Norwood‘s (£4.9m) corner into his own net.
The pressure continued unabated after the break until substitute Lys Mousset (£4.9m) finished coolly when sent clear by John Lundstram (£4.3m) with 11 minutes to go.
That clinching goal was United’s one and only shot on target all match.
But, in Fantasy terms, the strike was all about the provider as Lundstram added an assist to his clean sheet points and maximum bonus award to produce a second double-figure haul of the season for his 24.8% ownership.
Managers have been flocking to the defender since he announced his out-of-position potential in midfield with a 14-point return in Gameweek 2.
He does, however, remain a feast and famine kind of guy. Of the 32 points he’s produced in six starts so far this season, 26 have come from just two games.
And with Liverpool and Arsenal to come over the next three Gameweeks, albeit both at Bramall Lane, another bumper haul might not be on the immediate horizon.
Then again, at just £4.3m, Lundstram remains a small price very much worth paying and is about as easy as it gets to bench for tough fixtures.
The same cannot necessarily be said for his team-mates, although set-piece taker Norwood finally bagged his first assist at Goodison Park and the Blades’ excellent away form – they’re now unbeaten in three road trips – is worth noting as well.
Their manager was certainly happy to acknowledge the fortunate nature of this latest away day success.
“As well as we defended the box out of possession, it was the poorest we’ve played so far this season. It is not like us, we turned the ball over cheaply. We didn’t have any sort of control of the game. But we have a solidity about us that if we are not good with the ball we have something behind us that gives us the opportunity of getting a result. You just have days like today and you have to accept it, take it and get out of Liverpool as quickly as possible.” – Chris Wilder
Having been booed off at full-time, Everton’s players might have been tempted to join the Merseyside exodus.
After starting their league campaign with back-to-back clean sheets, the Toffees have now conceded at least two goals in each of the last four matches.
That’s particularly bad news for the team’s two most popular Fantasy assets, Lucas Digne (£6.2m) and Jordan Pickford (£5.6m), who are owned by 29.4% and 11.3% respectively.
Up next? A visit from Manchester City…
The 9.0%-owned Richarlison continues to offer a major attacking threat. His 17 attempts for the season is among the highest for a midfielder, although he has blanked in four of his six starts to date.
More worrying is the ongoing decline of Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.7m), who has lost half of his ownership, and £0.3m in value, since Gameweek 1.
The 5.1% who have stuck by him were treated to a muted display against the Blades, with his two attempts and four penalty area touches either equalled or bettered by full-back Digne.
The midfielder did at least top the charts for chances created, with four, but a
Toffees boss Marco Silva is frequently criticised for not having a plan B, and he seemed set on refuting that on Saturday.
Plan A involved starting with two defensive midfielders in Morgan Schneiderlin (£4.5m) and Fabian Delph (£5.4m).
Plan B emerged after half-time as Alex Iwobi (£5.9m) and Cenk Tosun (£5.8m) came on and Everton went to two up
And Plan Kitchen Sink was instigated when Silva tried three at the back by throwing on Theo Walcott (£6.3m) for Seamus Coleman (£5.5m).
Nothing worked and the coach was understandably downbeat post-match.
“It was a tough game for us. Of course we didn’t deserve the result, but when you make mistakes like we did this afternoon you don’t get what you deserve.” Marco Silva
Some fans believe the only thing Silva now deserves is the sack, with reports that Jose Mourinho is being lined up as his successor among the more eye-catching rumours doing the rounds.
What is certain is that Everton’s fixtures remain fairly attractive all the way up to Gameweek 15, when a four-match stretch of Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal ensures their schedule takes a turn for the brutal.
But their form is another matter entirely, and Fantasy managers seem to have had enough.
Digne is one of the top five most sold players heading into Gameweek 7, with Richarlison, Mina and Sigurdsson also being moved on by many.
Kean was the busiest Everton player as he registered his first 90 minutes of the campaign.
Having kept Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£5.8m) out of the side for this one, he had four shots in the box against Sheffield United, but only one was on target.
Meanwhile, Sigurdsson may have created four chances in this match, but none of them were considered bi by Opta.
However, Lundstram’s exquisite ball to goal-scorer Mousset was deemed to be big.
Finally, the expected data demonstrates how low-scoring this match probably should have been.
No player scored higher for xGI (expected goal involvement) than Richarlison, with 0.50.
Everton XI (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Digne, Mina, Keane, Coleman (Walcott 71′); Delph, Schneiderlin (Iwobi 55′); Bernard (Tosun 55′), Sigurdsson, Richarlison; Kean.
Sheffield United XI (3-5-2): D Henderson; O’Connell, Egan, Basham; Stevens, Fleck, Norwood (Jagielka 64′), Lundstram, Baldock; Robinson (Mousset 62′), McBurnie (Osborn 83′).
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Lessons learned from Gameweek 6:
- Southampton 1-3 Bournemouth
- Leicester City 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
- Burnley 2-0 Norwich City
- Everton 0-2 Sheffield United
- Manchester City 8-0 Watford
- Newcastle United 0-0 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Crystal Palace 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- West Ham United 2-0 Manchester United
- Arsenal 3-2 Aston Villa
- Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool