English Premier League

Everton 1-0 Sheffield United

Everton 1-0 Sheffield United. Everton enjoyed a successful send-off at Goodison Park this season with a Premier League victory over already-relegated Sheffield United.

The Toffees had ensured survival but triumphing in the last home game this term stretched their unbeaten run to five games, while the visitors became the first side to concede a record 101 goals in a season.

Abdoulaye Doucoure netted the winner on the half-hour mark courtesy of a close range header into an open net from Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s cross.

The midfielder could have had another on the stroke of half-time but sent a looping effort wide of the post on this occasion.

In between, the Blades battled bravely and Andre Brooks cut in from the left and forced Jordan Pickford into a sharp save low down with a powerful drive, their only shot on target in the contest.

In-form Everton travel to Arsenal on the final day with the possibility of having a say in the title race, while Sheffield United end their miserable campaign at home to Tottenham.

With blue skies above Goodison Park, the home supporters enjoyed a some-what party atmosphere, knowing their top-flight status had been assured for next season and they generously applauded the players off at full-time.

But the on-field security is counteracted by the continued uncertainty off the field with the protracted takeover by 777 Partners looking less likely as each day goes by.

777 figures have been almost ever-present during home games since agreeing to buy owner Farhad Moshiri’s 94% stake in the club in September, but nobody senior from the Miami-based private investment firm seemed to be in attendance on Saturday.

Boss Sean Dyche has spoken about planning for next season being made difficult, with the futures of out-of-contract players Seamus Coleman and Andre Gomes in doubt, while prized asset Jarrad Branthwaite could be sold to balance the books financially.

But all those worries were put aside for 90 minutes, as Doucoure – whose goal on the final day last season ensured safety – nodded home after goalkeeper Wes Foderingham failed to close down Calvert-Lewin.

After the 6-0 thrashing by Chelsea on 15 April, Dyche admitted to harsh words being spoken with his players and they have responded with four wins and a draw in their fixtures thereafter.

This was also their 13th clean sheet of the campaign, bettered only by title-chasing Arsenal, who the Blues face next Sunday with the opportunity of denying them the trophy should the race go that far.

Chris Wilder’s visitors, meanwhile, now have the unwanted record of shipping the most goals in Premier League season and they have also failed to keep a clean sheet in all 19 away games.

Only Sunderland and Derby have fared worse than their tally of 16 points and they will aim to end their dismal top-flight stay by retrieving some pride against Spurs.

source – BBC