Everton player ratings: one 8/10, three 7/10s but several 5/10s in Sheffield United draw - gallery
Everton picked up their first point of the 2023-24 Premier League season as they were held to a 2-2 draw against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.
Abdoulaye Doucoure and Arnaut Danjuma were on target for the Toffees in what was a rollercoaster encounter, although there may be some frustration a maiden victory of the top-flight campaign was not garnered against the newly-promoted Blades.
Yet Sean Dyche’s side could scarcely complain, with Jordan Pickford - who netted the unluckiest of own goals - making a stunning double save at the very death.
The game started at a frenetic pace, with Everton soon getting on top and opening the scoring in the 14th minute. Ashley Young’s corner was headed down by Amadou Onana and Doucoure’s first improvised effort was kept out by United keeper Wes Foderingham - but the Mali international swept the rebound into the net.
The Toffees could have gone ahead four minutes later when they broke at pace and had a four-vs-two situation, although Danjuma decided to shoot rather than tee-up a team-mate.
Dyche’s visitors’ tempo dropped, however, and the Blades took full advantage. They were level in the 33rd minute when Cameron Archer was granted far too much space on the edge of the box and fired home.
And in stoppage-time, Everton would fall behind. It was that man Archer again as he weaved past James Tarkowski and saw his curling effort strike the post. However, the ball would rebound off the helpess Jordan Pickford’s back and roll into the empty net.
The away side came out of the traps quickly in the second period and were almost awarded a penalty when Danjuma was fouled just on the edge of the United box. But it would be Danjuma who’d get Everton level in the 51st minute when he tapped Nathan Patterson’s cross home from close range.
Everton could not calve out any more clear-cut chances while Pickford was called into action to make a fine stop from Luke Thomas.
Then at the very death, Pickford produced a quite simply breathtaking double save to earn the Blues a point. He pushed Ollie McBurnie’s header from a corner onto the bar before then repelling the Blades striker’s rebound.
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The first European match in Brighton’s history was at least a memorable one, although it was also a reminder that the continental game poses all sorts of different questions and challenges for those who are uninitiated.