Ancelotti masterstroke helps Everton beat West Brom to go fourth

Richarlison goal Everton at West Brom

Gylfi Sigurdsson stepped off the bench to help Everton to a 1-0 win at West Brom after creating the decisive goal with just his fourth touch of the ball.

The Toffees had been on top at The Hawthorns, but were struggling to find the necessary breakthrough.

However, after arriving as a 65th-minute substitute, the Icelandic star made an immediate impact to cross for Richarlison to nod home the decisive goal.

After seeing his corner come back his way, Sigurdsson took one touch to control the ball and then another to tee himself up. Then with his fourth touch, he curled the ball perfectly onto Richarlison’s head to head home from close range.

It was the Brazilian’s fourth goal in four successive games and his second winner of the week.

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They rode their luck at times against the energetic hosts, but Carlo Ancelotti’s side secured another win and third successive clean sheet.

Yet, buoyed by a three-game unbeaten run, it was the Baggies who started brightly and Jordan Pickford clawed away Mbaye Diagne’s hanging header after three minutes

Purposeful and aggressive, Albion ensured Everton remained on the back foot. Conor Townsend seized on Andre Gomes’ misplaced pass only for Diagne to eventually shoot over.

While the Toffees were sloppy the Baggies forced them into mistakes. But when Pickford collided with Michael Keane they could not take advantage.

After just three wins in their previous 26 games, Sam Allardyce had long admitted the Baggies were in must-win territory and his team had responded. Howver, the longer they failed to make their dominance count the stronger Everton became.

While their final ball had been awful, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin starved of any service, they did come to life in the final seven minutes of the half.

That it took the Toffees 38 minutes to carve out their first chance was a tribute to Albion’s efforts. But the hosts survived a scare when Calvert-Lewin slipped in Richarlison and his strike deflected narrowly over.

It was a warning and Calvert-Lewin let the Baggies off the hook three minutes later.

Pockets of space had begun to open up, but when the ball deflected into the striker’s path he hesitated and shot straight at Sam Johnstone from 15 yards.

The Toffees continued to improve after the break. But they did allow Diagne to nod over after Kyle Bartley glanced on Darnell Furlong’s long throw.

Everton’s extra quality had started to tell though and Sigurdsson made an instant impact after coming off the bench.

Everton up to fourth

Albion now had to chase the game, but Everton, marshalled by the outstanding Ben Godfrey, held firm after a late scare in stoppage time.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ cross found Diagne and he turned to fire in, only to be ruled marginally offside.

As it was, Richarlison‘s strike proved just enough as Everton held on to climb up to fourth.

It was relief and joy in equal measures for the Toffees, who next face Chelsea in a key game on Monday.

They can be overtaken in the meantime by either Liverpool or  Chelsea, who kick-off at 8.15pm. However, for Ancelotti’s side it’s a third win in a row and a result that’ll keep alive their dreams of European football.