*Vardy scores two penalties to help Foxes sink Baggies
Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s brilliant header ensured new-look Everton made a flying start to the Premier League season with victory at Tottenham.
Calvert-Lewin gave Hugo Lloris no chance after connecting with Lucas Digne’s in-swinging free-kick to earn the Toffees a first win over Spurs since 2012.
In a high-octane encounter, Jordan Pickford produced two excellent saves to keep out Dele Alli and Matt Doherty, who was making his debut after signing from Wolves, reports the BBC.
But with new signing James Rodriguez in excellent form, Everton fully deserved their win after a hard-working performance.
Everton should have taken the lead in the early stages but Richarlison lost his footing after rounding Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris.
New-look Everton turn on the style
After Everton’s disappointing 12th place last season, their lowest position since 2003-04, Carlo Ancelotti has embarked on an ambitious rebuilding job, specifically targeting the midfield.
As well as Rodriguez, Brazil’s Allan and Watford’s Abdoulaye Doucoure have also been drafted in to provide energy and creativity in the engine room – and all three gave Ancelotti huge encouragement for the season ahead.
Rodriguez, in particular, stood out, with his quality passing setting up good chances.
The Toffees could – and should – have won by a more handsome margin against a static Tottenham side short of ideas.
Rodriguez twice picked out Richarlison after half-time but the Brazilian, who wasted a great chance in the first half, was unable to punish Spurs.
Allan, who played under Ancelotti at Napoli, was calm and composed as Everton looked rejuvenated after a poor 2019-20.
Pickford’s saves to keep out Alli and Doherty were crucial, with Ancelotti delighted with a clean-sheet win against a side that finished 10 points and six places above them last season.
Flat start by Spurs
Spurs boss Jose Mourinho was unhappy with Everton’s goal, claiming the free-kick which led to Calvert-Lewin’s winner was taken from the wrong place.
But over the 90 minutes, Spurs were distinctly second best and their lack of threat was summed up by the fact Harry Kane only touched the ball twice in Everton’s penalty area.
Son Heung-min was Spurs’ most threatening player, particularly in the first half when he set up chances for Kane and Alli.
Kane looked a shadow of the player who finished last season with five goals in three games while Alli, despite forcing a fine save from Pickford, was replaced at half-time.
Mourinho said before the game that he wanted a new striker before the transfer window closes next month and this performance will reinforce his need to strengthen the squad.
New signing Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg also started but was unable to have the same impact as Everton’s new additions.
Both teams are in cup action in midweek. While Tottenham travel to Bulgaria in midweek to face Lokomotiv Plovdiv in the second qualifying round of the Europa League on Thursday (17:00 BST), Everton host League Two Salford City on Wednesday in the second round of the Carabao Cup (20:15).
And Jamie Vardy scored a second-half penalty double as Leicester condemned West Brom to a disappointing return to the Premier League.
After goalkeeper Sam Johnstone twice came to the home side’s rescue with saves to deny Harvey Barnes in the first half, new signing Timothy Castagne broke the deadlock when he nodded home a far-post cross from fellow Belgian Dennis Praet nine minutes after the restart.
Vardy, last season’s Premier League top scorer, then got up to score from the spot after being dragged back by Kyle Bartley as he chased into the box to support a move that saw Johnstone deny former Baggies loanee Barnes for a third time.
The 33-year-old repeated the feat 10 minutes later after Dara O’Shea tripped James Justin.
As playmaker James Maddison made a second-half appearance off the bench after recovering from a hip operation that crucially caused him to miss the end of the season, it was a good day for manager Brendan Rodgers and his team, who were winning this particular fixture for the fifth time in a row.
For West Brom, it was a brutal reminder of the task they face merely trying to stay in the top flight.
All three promoted teams lost on the opening weekend and – like Fulham, who were beaten by a similar scoreline against Arsenal on Saturday – there are early question marks over whether they have the quality to survive.
Good day for Leicester
Leicester’s biggest away win since New Year’s Day provided a positive response to some major questions.
After looking like Champions League certainties for the first half of the season, a draining run of 17 games in which they claimed only four wins and 17 points saw Leicester overtaken by Manchester United for a top-four spot on the final day of the season.
Just as his side’s form nosedived, so did Vardy’s.
He may have been the Premier League’s top scorer but 17 of his 23 goals came before Christmas Day.
After toiling for most of the afternoon, Vardy’s day seem to be reaching an unhappy end when he limped away from a collision with Johnstone.
But the physio sorted Vardy out and within minutes he had scored. Ten minutes after that, he had another one.
The similarity of his penalties was uncanny.
The run-up was purposeful, the shot powerful, both times to Johnstone’s left as the keeper went right.
Maddison’s introduction was further reason for Leicester to cheer, although with a notoriously draining Europa League campaign to negotiate from the middle of October, it is fair to assume Rodgers will want more signings beyond Castagne, who has been brought in as a replacement for Ben Chilwell, who joined Chelsea for £45m.
When West Brom went down three seasons ago, their measly 31 goals was one of the major reasons.
Salomon Rondon and Jay Rodriguez were joint top scorers with seven, so it is obvious where the Baggies must improve if they are to stand a chance of preserving their Premier League status.
Having spent £28m on three new offensive signings – albeit two of them joining permanently after impressing during the club’s promotion seasons – expectations around Pereira, Grady Diangana and Callum Robinson are high.
There was evidence of plenty of movement from those three but it only translated into a single shot on target.
Kasper Schmeichel made one feet-first save from Pereira before the break but the Brazilian’s effort was going wide anyway. Pereira was the home side’s major attacking threat – and might have done better with a volley he sent sailing over the bar after controlling in a good position inside the Leicester box.
But without a greater goal threat, it could be a long old season for the Baggies.
Spurs 0 – 1 Everton
West Brom 0 – 3 Leicester