How to turn a disillusioned, sceptical fanbase on your side? Win games. That is exactly what the polarising Rafa Benitez has done so far to kickstart his Everton tenure, and he faces a game that, on paper, is very ‘winnable’ for the Toffees next week. Burnley are currently winless and 16th in the table after three games.
The former Liverpool manager has wasted little time changing his reputation on the terraces, with the Spaniard so far winning games against Brighton and Southampton, as well as collecting a very commendable point away to Leeds in front of a raucous, intimidating, packed Elland Road audience.
For Burnley, their form has not been quite so successful. Sean Dyche can be forgiven for losing to Liverpool, whom he beat at Anfield last season, and drawing with Leeds, but that opening-day defeat to Brighton will sting, and has certainly added an extra layer of pressure to this away trip to Merseyside.
The Clarets will want to get points on the board early and avoid the potential of getting dragged into a relegation dogfight, but Everton harbour their own aspirations of breaking the glass ceiling and challenging for a European place. Already a win seems so crucial for both these sides.
Everton vs Burnley: Match Stats
Burnley are a robust, aggressive side, so Everton will need to find openings by hook or by crook. In Demarai Gray they boast a player who has scored in each of his last two Premier League games, having scored in just two of his previous 32 in the competition. His creativity and flair could offer one or two issues.
Failing that Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who scored the most headed goals of any Premier League player last season (seven), can offer a different avenue, the aerial route. No matter the scorers, though, this match is unlikely to end in a stalemate as just one of the last 15 league meetings between Everton and Burnley has finished as a draw.
13 Mar 2021 – Everton 1-2 Burnley – Premier League
05 Dec 2020 – Burnley 1-1 Everton – Premier League
26 Dec 2019 – Everton 1-0 Burnley – Premier League
05 Oct 2019 – Burnley 1-0 Everton – Premier League
03 May 2019 – Everton 2-0 Burnley – Premier League
Burnley have sealed victory in two of their last four away league games against Everton, which is as many as they had in their previous 16 visits to Goodison Park. One of those came in March last season, as a Dwight McNeil screamer settled the contest and all but ended Everton’s Europa League hopes. He could make his 100th Premier League appearance for Burnley on Monday, becoming the youngest player to reach a century in the competition for the Clarets if he makes the pitch.