Everton kept their hopes of finishing seventh in the Premier League alive with a comfortable 2-0 win over Burnley at Goodison Park.
Marco Silva’s men, who are mounting a late surge for the heavily contested accolade, had the unfortunate Ben Mee and rejuvenated Seamus Coleman to thank.
What a difference a year makes. Twelve months ago the Toffees were booed off in their final home game of the season but there now seems to be renewed hope for a club desperate to rekindle past glories.
As for Burnley, they’ve maintained their top-flight status for another season, though manager Sean Dyche is keen not to end this particular campaign on a sour note.
Before each side play their final game, away to Tottenham Hotspur (Everton) and welcoming Arsenal (Burnley), it’s worth looking back on this one. Here are five things we learned from a largely one-sided affair on Merseyside.
1. Unlucky Mee
The way Everton started, and have been playing of late at home, it was only a matter of time before Silva’s side broke the deadlock. It came in the 17th minute when the ever-impressive Richarlison thought he had put The Toffees in front. His wicked long-range strike took a significant deflection off Burnley’s rock at the back Ben Mee.
36% – Ben Mee has scored four of the 11 Premier League own goals netted by Burnley players (36%). Mishap. #EVEBUR
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 3, 2019
It was Mee’s second own goal of the season and fourth in his Premier League career. This unwanted statistic means he’s now six behind record holder Richard Dunne and of those still active in England’s top division only Phil Jagielka (6) and Scott Dann (5) have turned the ball into their own net more times.
2. 20 up for Coleman
Since the Premier League’s inception in 1992 only six teams have been ever-present. Everton sit alongside Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in the exclusive club. Yet to enjoy a championship-winning season, the men from Goodison Park nonetheless have played their part in what many see as the greatest show on earth.
— Everton (@Everton) May 3, 2019
Down the years a number of outstanding players have donned the iconic blue jersey, many loyal, including current skipper Seamus Coleman who created a piece of history when he doubled his side’s lead in the 20th minute. That headed effort meant he became the 20th player to score 20 Premier League goals for Everton.
3. My kingdom for a clean sheet
Burnley are safe for another Premier League season but manager Dyche isn’t one to rest on his laurels. His brand of pragmatic football, which has served them well on this present journey, requires everything coming together. But nothing is more important than making life hard for their opponents. That wasn’t the case in the opening 20 minutes, Everton were all over The Clarets like a cheap suit, which must have infuriated their straight-talking manager.
? Richarlison's drilled strike deflects into the net off Burnley's Ben Mee
— Premier League (@premierleague) May 3, 2019
Everton’s three-minute blitz condemned them to another away day without keeping the zero. If we take a step back, Burnley have now kept just one clean sheet in their last 12 Premier League away games, and that was a goalless draw at Watford in January. Habits die hard. Unless they seek another season of struggle Burnley musn’t let this trend continue into the 2019/20 season.
4. Fortress Goodison
Playing a pivotal role in Everton’s late run to finish best of the rest as the ‘big six’ have the spots above number seven to themselves is four consecutive home wins. This latest victory saw them register a fifth straight Goodison Park clean sheet.
A feat last managed between March-September 2013 as part of seven in-a-row — under David Moyes (five) and Roberto Martinez (two) — and this latest achievement, let us not forgot, has come at the expense of Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United.
Incredibly, they’ve now posted 14 shutouts this season, only the fearsome duo of Liverpool (20) and Manchester City (19) have produced more. And speaking of their Merseyside rivals only Jurgen Klopp’s title-chasers boast more home clean sheets (11) than Everton (9) this season.
5. Richarlison agonisingly close to Firmino
Minutes after the break came a disappointing moment for Rich whose evening was cut short after going down clutching his rib in pain. The 21-year-old Brazilian international, who has enjoyed a first season at Goodison, was replaced by Theo Walcott, now taking on a bit-part role under Silva, and truth be told Everton’s flow subsided.
As mentioned, Richarlison has more than earned his Everton stripes this season, his 13 league goals placed him in closing touch of the most registered by a Brazilian footballer in a single Premier League campaign — that record is owned by city rival Roberto Firmino, who in the 2017/18 season bagged 15 goals for Liverpool. It remains to be seen whether he’s able to feature away to Spurs on the final day, but for now Firmino’s tally looks to be safe.