Allardyce hails Gueye’s influence

Everton manager Sam Allardyce believes that defensive midfielder Idrissa Gueye is a crucial component in his side when they are at their best.

The 28-year-old Senegal international, who recently signed an extended contract to keep him at Goodison Park until the summer of 2022, joined the Toffees from Aston Villa in the summer of 2016.

He has since proved to be highly effective in the Everton engine room and has clearly impressed Allardyce, despite the Toffees having endured a difficult season to date.

"Idrissa is important without the ball in the way he screens the back four," Allardyce told the clubs official website.

"He has this N'Golo Kante-like style and we have heard the praise about Kante and what he did for Leicester City (and Chelsea). I think Idrissa is that type of player for us.

"Also his capabilities in possession are very good; he rarely gives the ball away and that is what we need. He gives us a real consistency.

"I love his attitude, the way he enjoys his football, the dedication and focus with which he trains every day."

Everton are next in action on Saturday, when they head to the Liberty Stadium to take on a Swansea City side still battling to move clear of relegation danger.

The Merseysiders have only lost once in six previous Premier League visits to Swansea, that defeat being a 1-0 reverse last season, when Fernando Llorente scored the only goal of the game.

Everton are available at 19/10 to win on Saturday, with the draw priced at 11/5 and a 1-1 final scoreline 11/2.

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The Football Games Which Fail to Entertain

Everton 0-0 Liverpool

The irony is that Everton fans probably would have accepted this result before kick-off.

Given their heroes last tasted success in the Merseyside derby in October 2010, given that they were torn apart on their own turf seven days ago, many in the blue half of Merseyside would have settled for a draw pre-match.

Yet on reflection, they won’t need football betting backers to tell them this was a glorious opportunity missed against much-changed opponents.

Not only were the 90 minutes of live betting at Goodison Park largely tame, but aside from a couple of flashpoints, we didn’t even have a feisty affair to compensate.
There has rarely been any love lost when it comes to this fixture.

Indeed, in Premier League clashes between the two city rivals over the past 25 years, there have been 21 red cards (14 of them to Everton).

However, this was something of a bore draw.

On saying that, Liverpool should be happy with their afternoon’s work and a fine point in the middle of a heavy schedule.

Considering this was sandwiched between a Champions League double header against Manchester City, Jurgen Klopp was always likely to rest some key players.

This is, though, the strongest squad Liverpool have had for some time and they controlled long spells of the match before, understandably, tiring somewhat late on.

Confidence is key in football and the contrast between the two clubs was evident.

As early as the third minute groans could be detected from a minority of home fans, far from ideal for such a clash.

Victory would have been a perfect riposte for ‘Big Sam’ Allardyce who has unfairly been criticised by Evertonians, despite overseeing improvement since he took the helm in late November after the failed David Unsworth experiment.

But they were very much second best until applying pressure late on and, deep down, Allardyce will realise this was a great chance missed to end a run of 17 Merseyside derbies without victory (Liverpool have triumphed in eight meetings with the other nine encounters ending with honours even.)

Ultimately a day of frustration for Everton whose wait for a derby win goes on.

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Sigurdsson faces two months out

Everton midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson is set to miss the remainder of the domestic season, but should be fit to feature for Iceland at the World Cup finals this summer.

The 28-year-old, who has had an inconsistent first season at Goodison Park, sustained a knee problem in the 2-0 Premier League victory at home to Brighton last Saturday.

And, while the Toffees have not revealed the exact nature of the injury, they have a set a 6-8 week period which they expect their player to be sidelined for.

Should he return in that timescale, Sigurdsson is likely to have plenty of time left to regain full fitness to feature for Iceland in their first-ever appearance at the World Cup finals.

Everton boss Sam Allardyce told the club's official website: "We'll continue to assess Gylfi's progress on a week-to-week basis.

"The medical team will work very closely with him, as they would with any injured player, to get him back playing as quickly as possible."

Playmaker Sigurdsson has scored six goals in 33 appearances for the Merseysiders following his £45million arrival from Premier League rivals Swansea City last summer.

He has also played in the Premier League for Tottenham Hotspur, having impressed in the Bundesliga with Hoffenheim between the summers of 2010 and 2012.

Everton, minus Sigurdsson, are back in action on Saturday when they head to the Potteries to take on a Stoke City side who are currently in the relegation zone.

The Toffees are unbeaten in their last four meetings with the Potters and are 2/1 to claim all three points on Saturday, with the draw priced at 9/4 and a 1-1 final scoreline 11/2.

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Allardyce out to resolve away struggles

Everton boss Sam Allardyce says his side must address their away form having secured an important home victory over Brighton.

Gaetan Bong's own goal gave the Toffees the lead before Cenk Tosun fired home in the 76th minute.

Wayne Rooney did have the chance to put the cherry on the cake but Mathew Ryan made the save from the penalty spot in the 88th minute.

Allardyce was delighted with the 2-0 victory but knows his side must start picking up wins away from Goodison Park if they are to progress.

He said: "Overall a very good performance, which isn't unusual at home – it is what has been delivered on a regular basis.

"The last 10 home games is seven wins, two draws and only one defeat. On that basis we are a top-six side in points gained, and on an away basis we have to improve because we are right down at the bottom.

"So we only have to put one thing right – our away results."

Everton's next chance to get three points on the road comes on Saturday when they make the trip to face Stoke City.

The Toffees are 21/10 to win, 9/4 to draw and 13/10 to lose to the Potters.

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Allardyce still eyeing seventh

Sam Allardyce believes Everton are still capable of finishing in seventh place in the Premier League if they make a strong finish to an inconsistent season.

The Toffees have dropped to 11th place in the table on the back of a run of just two wins in their last 11 league games, but manager Allardyce is eager to try and engineer a return to form which could see Everton earn a place in the Europa League next season.

He said at his pre-match press conference ahead of a Saturday visit from Brighton: "It's very disappointing for everybody that we've slipped to where we have slipped to after the fantastic position we put ourselves in.

"We have to turn our away results around if we're to get into that position (seventh). We put ourselves in a position to achieve that and have failed to kick on.

"I want to get the next two wins to achieve safety, but we can still finish seventh if we have a good end to the season with four or five wins.

"It's my responsibility to get the team to play to the level they know they can play. It's the players' responsibility on the field of play to play their best.

"I think when they play their best that they can give anybody a game."

The Merseysiders have struggled, in particular, away from home and are without a success on their travels for nearly three months, while their 1-0 win at Newcastle United in mid-December is their only victory on the road in the league this season.

Everton are 21/10 to secure a draw against the Seagulls at the weekend, while they are 11/10 to win the game and 6/4 to keep a clean sheet.

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These Teams Will Just Want It More

My betting tips this week may seem obvious punts but, as online gambling purveyors will tell you, Premier League betting is anything but straightforward.

Yet, I can’t bet against three currently struggling sides this time as they will probably want that victory a little bit more than the teams they prepare to host.

Everton vs Brighton & Hove Albion (March 10, 23:00 GMT+8)

Despite a miserable first few months of the year, it seems rather harsh and unappreciative of Everton fans to be aiming their ire at Sam Allardyce.

The Toffees should remember the mess they were in before Big Sam arrived. Also, they should realise that if David Unsworth’s caretaker role had been turned into a permanent appointment, they would not be in midtable but still part of the relegation dogfight.

Brighton arrive at Goodison Park ahead of Everton on goal difference, on the back of a first victory over Arsenal since 1982.

Everton have lost 19 games in all competitions this season—their worst tally in a single campaign.

Yet, I can’t see what many perceive as a lack of ambition continuing this weekend.

My 2 x 🌟🌟🌟 tips are Everton First Half 1X2 @ 2.81 and Asian Handicap -0.50 @ 2.26.

West Ham United vs Burnley (March 10, 23:00 GMT+8)

It is to the immense credit of Burnley that they have not only climbed up to seventh in the Premier League but also made a net profit in transfer dealings over the last 12 months.

How care-free spenders West Ham would love to have that record.

If they had, it may be easier for fans to understand why they were so abject at Swansea last weekend.

Three losses in four games mean David Moyes’ men are back in trouble with tensions running high.

Moyes has admitted the next two home fixtures—this clash and then a meeting with Southampton—could define the Hammers’ season.

For that reason, I think they will edge out Burnley, and a 🌟🌟 prediction is West Ham Asian Handicap -0.50 @ 2.29.

Arsenal vs Watford (March 11, 21:30 GMT+8)

Make no mistake, Arsenal are out of the race for a top-five spot and the best they can gain is sixth.

The chastening defeats are no longer a shock, and Arsene Wenger’s trials and tribulations are now threatening to damage what once seemed a rich legacy.

They simply cannot carry on in this manner.

I don’t think they will this weekend.

That is why two more 🌟🌟 tips are Arsenal First Half Asian Handicap -0.50 @ 2.06 and Asian Handicap -1.00 Arsenal @ 1.84.

A short explanation on how our (🌟) bets are worth :

🌟🌟🌟 = £20
🌟🌟 = £10
🌟 = £5

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Allardyce: It’s not good enough

Everton manager Sam Allardyce described Ashley Williams as "unprofessional" after the former Swansea City defender was sent off at Burnley.

The Clarets came from behind to beat Everton 2-1 as they brought to an end a run of 11 Premier League matches without a win.

After former Besiktas striker Cenk Tosun had put the visitors in front in the 20th minute, Ashley Barnes equalised for Sean Dyche's team at Turf Moor before substitute Chris Wood took advantage of poor defending to head in an 80th-minute winner.

Williams was sent off with four minutes remaining for elbowing Barnes, and a livid Allardyce said afterwards: "We missed too many chances, that's the bottom line. And we let in two very simple goals. The first one is a simple ball, Ashley Williams and Michael Keane should deal with that easily.

"No complaints with the red card, you can't do that. It was unprofessional from Ashley Williams.

"We have taken 17 points from eight games at home but we have put huge pressure on ourselves now.

"We lost it by not scoring the second goal when we had clear, clear opportunities. At least three in the first half. That's five away defeats on the trot. It's simply not good enough.

"Ashley Williams getting sent off sums our day up. It shouldn't happen, he's swung his arm and he's an experienced player."

Everton are 1/1 to beat Brighton on 10th March and 23/10 to draw 1-1 with the Seagulls at Goodison Park.

Allardyce welcomes key duo back

Everton boss Sam Allardyce is pleased that Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines have recovered from their injuries and they could both feature at Burnley.

However, it is feared that Eliaqium Mangala, who is on loan at Goodison Park from Manchester City, will not play again this season.

Toffees captain Phil Jagielka is also in the squad for the Turf Moor clash, a game Everton are 23/10 to win, after overcoming a knock while James McCarthy is making good progress as he battles back from his broken leg.

Mangala sustained a knee injury against Crystal Palace while Ramiro Funes Mori is finally close to a return to action after being sidelined for the last 12 months with a knee injury.

"Both Seamus and Leighton are back in the squad," said Allardyce. "Phil started training on Thursday as well so there are a few players back that are important to us.

"Mangala’s injury is going to rule him out a bit longer than first thought though. They have reassessed the scans and seen there is more damage than expected and it is highly unlikely we will see him back this season.

"Funes Mori is not back in the squad yet. He needs a bit more training and perhaps another Under-23 game. Then we can see where we go from there.

"James [McCarthy] will be next season. It is a long process and he is starting on a long road in his rehab, just like Seamus did with his injury."

Everton are 15/2 to win 1-0 at Turf Moor and 2/1 to keep a clean sheet against the Clarets.

Allardyce hopeful on McCarthy return

Boss Sam Allardyce is hoping that midfielder James McCarthy will be back in time for pre-season training with Everton.

McCarthy, 27, had been sidelined for much of the season with a long-term hamstring injury before returning to action at the end of December.

He impressed after slotting into the team but suffered a nightmare injury in an innocuous challenge with West Bromwich Albion striker Salomon Rondon in mid-January, breaking his tibia and fibula.

Initial reports suggested the Republic of Ireland midfielder might not return until late in the year, but Allardyce now feels that McCarthy could be back in full training in time for pre-season in July.

"It is down to the specialist and them saying if and when James can start moving forward," Allardyce said.

"The specialist will guide us on how far we can go and with a bit of luck we can look forward to James starting the next pre-season with us.

"He has had some time back at home. He will probably re-join us in the next few days on a regular basis to start getting some mobility into his ankle, particularly because it has been in a set position for such a long time."

Everton head for Burnley on Premier League duty on Saturday in the lunch time kick-off. The Merseysiders have managed just one win in 22 Premier League away games and are 21/10 for Turf Moor success. Burney are 7/5, while the draw is 21/10.

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Walcott expects Allardyce to turn fortunes around

Everton forward Theo Walcott believes manager Sam Allardyce is the man to turn the club's fortunes around following a difficult spell.

One win in their last eight games means the Merseysiders are once again looking over their shoulders at the battle to avoid the drop.

Everton do have a seven-point cushion over 18th place but continuing their current form would see them dragged back into a relegation dogfight at the business end of the season.

Having suffered a 5-1 defeat at the hands of Arsenal at the weekend, Walcott is determined to see his side get back to winning ways and the England international feels Allardyce is the man to help them achieve that.

"Results will change, I am sure of it," he told the club's website. "We need to make sure we are ready and focused for the weekend because we need to start getting some more points in order to be more comfortable."

He added: "Sam was one of the main reasons why I came to the club. I wanted a manager like that who could get the best out of me.

"He is eager to turn results around. There have been a few recent results like getting the draw against West Brom and then beating Leicester where we have seen improved performances but I have come here to push Everton on.

"I want to improve the team and anything I can do to help, I will do so."

Everton are 13/10 to win, 9/4 to draw and 13/5 to lose to Crystal Palace on Saturday in their next Premier League outing.

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