Three goals in seven electrifying minutes gave Everton a 3-1 win over Burnley at Goodison Park to continue their unbeaten start to the Premier League season.
After Burnley had dominated the first half, Ben Mee gave the visitors a deserved lead with a header from Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s cross (53), but the game turned on its head out of nowhere on the hour mark.
First, former Burnley centre-back Michael Keane levelled with his own header from an Andros Townsend cross (60), before Townsend himself curled home a stunner from 25 yards into the top corner (65), a goal-of-the-season contender.
Townsend’s fellow summer signing Demarai Gray put Everton 3-1 up just 27 seconds after the restart (66), racing through on goal from Abdoulaye Doucoure’s pass, while Townsend and sub Andre Gomes came within inches of adding a fourth shortly after.
The result means Everton are fourth with 10 points from four games, while Burnley sit 18th with just one point.
Everton: Pickford (6), Coleman (6), Mina (6), Godfrey (6), Keane (7), Digne (6), Townsend (8), Allan (6), Doucoure (8), Gray (7), Richarlison (6)
Subs: Gomes (7), Rondon (NA), Iwobi (NA)
Burnley: Pope (6), Lowton (5), Tarkowski (6), Mee (7), Taylor (5), Gudmundsson (6), Westwood (5), Brownhill (6), McNeil (6), Wood (6), Barnes (6)
Subs: Lennon (5), Vydra (5), Rodriguez (NA)
Man of the match: Andros Townsend
How rampant Everton turned game on its head
The loss of Dominic Calvert-Lewin forced Rafa Benitez into a change of shape, going to a back three with Richarlison on his own in a central position, and it wasn’t working early on as Burnley dominated.
Dwight McNeil’s wicked delivery was perfect for Wood in the opening stages, but the striker uncharacteristically shied away and failed to make proper contact six yards out.
Everton struggled to find their stride or indeed get out of their half for the first 25 minutes as Ashley Barnes and Mee missed half-chances, before Josh Brownhill’s low shot in good space was held by Jordan Pickford.
Everton finally entered the game just before the half-hour mark as Doucoure’s drilled shot from inside the box was brilliantly kept out by Nick Pope, but Doucoure himself can count himself lucky that rules on physicality have been relaxed this season, wrestling James Tarkowski to the ground as he defended a corner but going unpunished, even with a VAR intervention. “It should be a penalty this season,” said Jamie Carragher.
After Everton failed to properly clear a cross early in the second half, Burnley took the lead. The ball dropped to Gudmundsson on the right flank, and his perfect delivery was too difficult to miss for Mee, who nodded past Pickford from point-blank range.
With Goodison Park quiet, nobody could have foreseen the upcoming Everton blitz. Keane’s excellent near-post header from Townsend’s right-wing cross raised the volume, with Benitez then bringing on midfielder Andre Gomes for defender Ben Godfrey, a change he had planned to make even before the goal.
Everton smelled blood and began attacking in waves as Townsend produced the moment of the game, and one of the goals of the season so far. Picking the ball up in space, he took a few touches before curling a wonderful effort into the top left corner from 25 yards, his first Premier League goal for Everton since a summer move from Crystal Palace.
Just seconds after the restart it was 3-1 as Doucoure, given a more attacking role thanks to the introduction of Gomes, picked out the on-running Gray through on goal, and he slotted under Pope for his third Everton goal from just three shots on target.
A rampant Everton weren’t done there and had two big chances to grab a fourth – Pope brilliantly clawed away Townsend’s swerving effort, before Gomes curled just wide of the far post inside the box – and the hectic nature of the game continued before full-time as Tarkowski had a goal ruled out at the other end because of a Wood offside.
There were two changes for Rafa Benitez as he had to do without Dominic Calvert-Lewin in attack. That triggered a tweak in formation to a back three with Yerry Mina and Ben Godfrey starting. Richarlison started up front on his own, while new signing Soloman Rondon was on the bench.
Burnley kept the same starting XI that drew with Leeds, meaning Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes remained in tandem in attack. Club-record signing Maxwel Cornet was in the Burnley squad for the first time.
Though Everton have shown a pragmatism in large periods so far this season under Benitez, those scintillating 15 minutes will give Toffees fans hope that this side can do it both ways as they look to break the top six for the first time since 2014.
- There were just 379 seconds between Everton’s equaliser (1-1) scored by Michael Keane and Demarai Gray putting the Toffees 3-1 up. Indeed, Gray has scored in three consecutive Premier League games for the first time.
- Everton have won consecutive league matches when conceding the first goal (also vs Southampton on MD1). The Toffees had won just two of their previous 59 Premier League games when conceding the first goal (D13 L44).
- Six of Ben Mee’s seven Premier League goals for Burnley have been scored with his head, while this was his first goal in the competition since January against Aston Villa.
Everton now go to Aston Villa on Saturday Night Football at 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League, while Burnley host Arsenal at 3pm in the Premier League on Saturday.