Jordan Pickford’s error allows Leicester to salvage a point at Everton
Premier League round-up: Fulham grind out a draw at Brighton as Burnley see off Villa
Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans celebrates scoring his sides equaliser against Everton at Goodison Park. Photo: Paul Ellis/PA Wire
Everton 1 Leicester City 1
Everton playmaker James Rodriguez’s moment of quality was cancelled out by an error from goalkeeper Jordan Pickford which allowed Leicester to leave Goodison Park with a 1-1 draw.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side had soaked up a huge amount of pressure following the Colombia international’s brilliant 30th-minute opener but a defence which had conceded only three goals in six matches were just about hanging on.
However, they were undone when the England number one, watched by Gareth Southgate, failed to keep out Youri Tielemans’ low shot.
Pickford may argue he saw the ball late as it came through a crowd of players but he got both hands to it but only pushed it in via a post.
It was the least Leicester deserved after the interval in particular as the hosts struggled to get out of their own half, dropping deeper and inviting pressure on themselves.
Ancelotti’s flexible formation had begun the game switching from 4-2-3-1 in possession to 4-4-2 without the ball but for much of the second half they resorted to a back-five in order to cope with the incessant waves of attacks.
The sight of Rodriguez, whose class on the ball had produced a superb opener with a rapier-like shot off the post, launching himself into the air to block a James Maddison cross highlighted just how much pressure Everton were under.
Ancelotti had said the next four days, with Newcastle to come at home this weekend, would have a huge bearing on the rest of their season in terms of whether they can challenge for the top four.
On this evidence they will have to be more progressive — they finished the match with just 35 per cent possession — if they are to fulfil their manager’s Champions League dream even with two matches in hand over most of their rivals.
Leicester, however, remain in the mix as they maintained third place but they will be frustrated they could not consolidate their position.
Even without the injured Jamie Vardy their pressing game had put the home side on the back foot from the start but they failed to create a genuine chance despite Harvey Barnes causing problems cutting in from the left.
It was something of a surprise to see Everton take the lead in those circumstances but there was little surprise in the goalscorer.
Andre Gomes’ raking crossfield diagonal was touched into the path of Rodriguez by Lucas Digne, playing further forward than normal on the left, and the Colombian’s left-footed shot was blocked by Wesley Fofana.
The Leicester defender could not keep control and allowed it to run back to the former Real Madrid playmaker who, with the Foxes’ defence slow to close him down, curled in his first goal since October off the upright.
It was his 19th career goal from outside the penalty area in Europe’s top five leagues but the first with his right foot.
The loss of Wilfred Ndidi just before half-time, replaced by Nampalys Mendy, interrupted Leicester’s rhythm but they quickly recovered it after the break.
A clever move from a short corner saw Barnes find space in the penalty area and his shot was parried by Pickford, who was rested for the weekend’s FA Cup win over Sheffield Wednesday, with James Justin placing the follow-up wide from the edge of the area.
Pressure continued to build and it was Pickford who finally cracked when he failed to deal with Tielemans’ low shot through a forest of legs.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s one big chance, having been starved of service, came in the 90th minute but he headed Digne’s cross wide.
Burnley 3 Aston Villa 2
Chris Wood capped a sensational comeback from Burnley as they twice came from behind to claim a 3-2 victory over Aston Villa in an entertaining encounter at Turf Moor.
The Clarets ended Liverpool’s long unbeaten run at home in the Premier League but were outplayed in the first half by Villa, who only had Ollie Watkins’ 10th goal of the season to show for their dominance.
Burnley capitalised as Ben Mee converted Ashley Westwood’s corner and although the excellent Jack Grealish restored Villa’s lead, the visitors were left stunned following a lucky goal from Dwight McNeil and Wood’s header.
McNeil was attempting to cross but his ball into the area trickled into the net inside the final quarter of an hour before he provided the assist for Wood moments later, as Burnley scored three for the second game in a row.
However, their 3-0 win at Fulham came in the FA Cup and they had only scored five times at home in the league this season before Wednesday night, while the last time they bagged three in a top-flight game was last February.
They were slow out of the traps here after Sean Dyche brought back most of his first-choice stars, having rested them for the fourth-round win at Craven Cottage, but they rallied superbly after the interval.
Ezri Konsa seemed surprised to be unchallenged as he wastefully put a free header over and when Josh Brownhill failed to get the ball under control, Villa’s swift counter-attack ended with Watkins shooting at Nick Pope.
Watkins did better moments later, though, getting across Mee and inventively flicking Matt Targett’s low cross to the near post beyond a helpless Pope as Villa’s free-flowing move was rewarded with a 14th-minute opener.
Grealish fired at Pope before the influential Villa captain teed up Bertrand Traore, who curled wide, as the visitors remained in the ascendancy although they were unable to capitalise on a number of opportunities.
Watkins burst clean through on goal but took one touch too many, allowing Pope to smother the shot and while the loose ball ballooned to Ross Barkley, the on-loan Chelsea midfielder’s volley clattered the crossbar.
Burnley were scrambling at the back shortly afterwards as Traore found plenty of the space in the area only for his effort to be blocked by Mee, allowing the under-pressure hosts to reach half-time trailing by just one goal.
Sean Dyche reacted by introducing Jack Cork for the first time in the league this season, withdrawing Brownhill, but the one-way traffic continued as John McGinn forced Pope into action again with a strike from distance.
Villa’s profligacy came back to haunt them as Burnley equalised in the 52nd minute in a rare foray forward. Nobody tracked Mee’s run to the back post and he rose highest at the back post to score from Burnley’s first corner.
The leveller brought greater urgency and intent from Burnley. They were almost exposed by Grealish, who breezed past four defenders before shooting at Pope, but there was no denying the England midfielder in the 68th minute.
After Wood forced Emi Martinez into an acrobatic save at the other end, Grealish stretched to toe poke into the net following a successful give and go with Douglas Luiz, who picked out his captain with a low cross.
Burnley once again pegged Villa back eight minutes later although it was a fortuitous goal as McNeil’s low cross from the left evaded everyone in the area before trickling beyond Martinez and in at the far post.
The topsy-turvy nature of the game continued as Burnley took the lead for the first time in the 79th minute, with McNeil turning provider as his left-wing cross led to Wood heading home after rising above Targett.
Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Fulham 0
Fulham earned their first point in three games against fellow relegation strugglers Brighton in a cagey goalless draw at the Amex Stadium.
Scott Parker’s men had lost their last two matches before the sides met in almost identical fashion to their 0-0 draw at Craven Cottage on December 16 and again nothing could separate the two teams.
The game sees Brighton’s winless run at home in the Premier League stretch to 14 games, with their last victory having come last season against Arsenal on June 20.
It was a cagey game which lacked a cutting edge in the final third, and despite a number of shots — 16 from the home side and 10 from Fulham — neither could find the breakthrough.
Fulham looked to get forward from the start and had their first shot in the sixth minute when Ola Aina drove from distance, but his rising strike was over the Brighton goal.
Despite Fulham’s early dominance of the ball, Brighton had the best chance of the opening exchanges as top scorer Neal Maupay took advantage of a mistake by the visitors’ defence to find Leandro Trossard, but his shot was saved by Alphonse Areola’s outstretched legs.
One of Scott Parker’s main challenges this season had been to strengthen the Fulham defence after they conceded 12 goals in their opening five league matches, but since then they have been harder to break down, with just five scored against them in their last six matches.
However, after a bright start from the visitors, Brighton started to gain a foothold in the game, with Fulham looking less organised at the back, and Areola was called upon to make a number of saves.
In the second half, Bobby Decordova-Reid fired over the bar after a cross from Kenny Tete was not cleared convincingly by the Brighton defence.
In the 70th minute, Joel Veltman took a quick free-kick and the ball was flicked by Alexis Mac Allister to Maupay, but the Brighton number nine fired over the bar without troubling the goalkeeper.
It was Brighton who ended the game strongest, coming close to snatching all three points late on when Areola made a save to deny Maupay before Solly March’s follow-up shot was blocked by Decordova-Reid and deflected over the bar.
Fulham’s struggles in front of goal continued on the south coast — they have now scored four league goals since the start of December — with Lewis Dunk making a late clearance off the line to deny Ruben Loftus-Cheek.