Everton moved up to second in the Premier League after edging a tight contest against Sheffield United at rain-lashed Bramall Lane.
Gylfi Sigurdsson’s late effort, which found the bottom-left corner, saw Carlo Ancelotti’s side extend their winning run to four matches as they leapfrogged Leicester and Manchester United in the process.
It also inflicted more heartbreak on the Blades, who remain without a win and rooted to the bottom of the table.
In a game of few chances, Oliver Burke’s flashing drive represented the hosts’ best effort.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Sigurdsson had both threatened to break the deadlock for the visitors before the Iceland midfielder sealed all three points.
Ancelotti’s side get the job done
While Everton looked resolute in defence and competent in midfield there was a noticeable absence of invention to their play for large periods of this encounter.
But even without James Rodriguez, who is still nursing a calf injury and Richarlison who is adhering to concussion protocols, Ancelotti’s side eventually got the job done.
After a relatively uneventful opening, which the Blades appeared to shade, Alex Iwobi’s speculative drive prompted more urgency from the Blues.
England forward Calvert-Lewin almost scored a contender for goal of the season, expertly running on to and chesting Michael Keane’s raking pass beyond Jack Robinson but then volleying just wide of the far-left corner from the edge of the penalty area.
Sigurdsson was next to go close, unloading a curling strike that just missed the top-right corner from 20 yards.
However, after the interval they displayed few signs they were capable of a winner until Sigurdsson brilliantly latched on to Abdoulaye Doucoure’s touch and dispatched a low drive past Aaron Ramsdale.
Coming after the disappointment of their Carabao Cup quarter-final exit, it was the perfect response from Everton who have now enjoyed four consecutive wins twice in a season for the first time since the 1986-87 campaign, when they were last champions of England.
More to follow.
How to play
Rate players out of 10 throughout or after the game. The rater will close 30 minutes after the final whistle.
Rating range key = Give it up = Pure perfection
- 19RobinsonBooked at 90mins
- 2BaldockBooked at 71mins
- 17McGoldrickSubstituted forNorwoodat 63′minutes
- 24BrewsterSubstituted forMoussetat 76′minutes
- 14BurkeSubstituted forMcBurnieat 45′minutes
- 1PickfordBooked at 90mins
- 5KeaneSubstituted forColemanat 66′minutes
- 22GodfreyBooked at 89mins
- 26DaviesSubstituted forAndré Gomesat 74′minutes
- 10G Sigurdsson
- 24GordonSubstituted forBernardat 55′minutesBooked at 81mins
- 9Calvert-LewinBooked at 52mins
- 21André Gomes
- David Coote
Match ends, Sheffield United 0, Everton 1.