Everton 1-2 Luton Town: Newly promoted Hatters secure first Premier League win
A day of despair for Everton as visitors Luton Town secure their first Premier League win of the season after recent promotion.
Football is a funny old game, as Everton seem to find out more often that not as of late. The Toffees looked to finally be finding their feet this season with back-to-back away victories in the Premier League and Carabao Cup, respectively; they secured impressive wins over Brentford and Aston Villa.
Going into Saturday’s game then, the Merseyside club were in good spirit and fans were, for the first time in a long time, confident of a win. Luton Town, however, had other plans in mind…
Everton XI: Pickford; Young, Tarkowski, Branthwaite, Mykolenko; Garner, Onana, Gueye, McNeil; Doucoure, Calvert-Lewin.
Subs: Harrison, Beto, Patterson, Danjuma, Virginia, Keane, Godfrey, Dobbin, Chermiti.
Luton XI: Kaminski; Burke, Lockyer, Bell; Kabore, Mpanzu, Nakamba, Doughty; Brown, Ogbene, Morris.
Subs: Andersen, Mengi, Adebayo, Woodrow, Krul, Giles, Johnson, Berry, Chong.
The first half was one of great action, writing the story of the entire match.
Everton made good on their home advantage, dominating almost every statistic except the most important – the score.
With 70% possession, the Blues put their visitors on backburner as they looked to continue their recent good form and find a breakthrough; they ended the first half with 2.25 expected goals (xG) and 2.46 xG on target (xGOT).
The attacking force was in full effect as Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Amadou Onana and James Garner all had chances, but none could find a goal; despite the side creating five big chances and recording five shots on target.
Luton survived their hosts’ attempts to break them down, and struck at the perfect time, scoring twice in seven minutes.
The Blues were stunned as the Hatters made good on a consecutive run of corners, with centre-back Tom Lockyer turning the ball in following a scrappy phase of play in the box to make it 1-0. Seven minutes later, target man Carlton Morris produced a fine finish after he was found in open space in the box from Alfie Doughty’s free-kick from deep, and it was 2-0.
Everton were stunned by the quick turnaround in fortunes that had gone against them, but they kept their heads up and pushed for retaliation before the half-time break.
It took just 10 minutes for the home side to return fire, as Amadou Onana saw his close chance saved only for it to fall at Calver-Lewin’s feet. The striker couldn’t miss and pulled the game back to 2-1 right before half-time.
The half ended as such, and visitors Luton Town took a 2-1 lead into the break; Everton had it all to do in front of a disappointed home crowd.
Unfortunately for Everton, they were unable to recover anything from the game.
Summer loan signing Jack Harrison replaced Idrissa Gueye at half-time, with fellow signings Beto and Arnaut Danjuma also making cameos in the 60th and 84th minute, respectively. Nathan Patterson also made a late substitute appearance in place of Ashley Young.
Beto proved yet again to be a bit of a nuisance for opposition defenders, winning two of his four aerial duels and taking four shots on goal, but overall the substitutes made couldn’t change the side’s fortunes.
Although they dominated possession again, even producing an impressive 10 shots on goal, Everton were unable to keep up the threat levels of the first half; they managed to muster up an xG of just 0.65 and failed to get a single shot on target.
The Blues’ lack of attacking potency was of no concern to Luton, as they came through the second half unscathed, and took their first three points of the season back to Bedfordshire. Everton’s potential resurgence was dismantled before it got a chance to take shape, and Luton Town will be eager to continue on as their hosts had hoped to as they fight to stay in the Premier League.
Alfie Doughty was a standout for the Hatters as he was awarded with the ‘Player of the Match’ award. He created six chances in the game – the most of any player on the pitch – as well as recording an assist for his side’s second goal.
Despite a bitterly disappointing and potentially crucial loss, Everton must now pick their heads up and prepare for their coming fixtures.
They face fellow relegation-strugglers Bournemouth on October 7th, whom they defeated on the final day of last season to clinch safety. The first Merseyside derby of the season follows at Anfield, so the Blues will be hoping to bounce back and make a statement of intent.
For Luton Town, they’ll hope this first Premier League win is the start of something big, and they host fellow promoted side Burnley at Kenilworth Road on October 3rd for their next fixture. A pivotal game that precedes a tough home game against red-hot Tottenham Hotspur the very same week, the Hatters will need to remain sturdy and tough to beat if they wish to find a run of form.
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