Errors still costing City dearly
Everton moved into the Premier League top six with a hard-fought win over Cardiff at Goodison Park.
Gylfi Sigurdsson’s close-range finish was enough to help his side claim three points, tapping home after Neil Etheridge had denied Theo Walcott.
The Toffees dominated possession throughout, but it was in the second half when they put real pressure on the visitors as Sigurdsson also had a shot cleared off the line by Sol Bamba shortly before the breakthrough.
The result leaves Neil Warnock’s men in the bottom three, with just one point and two goals from their first six away matches.
Everton had won their past three games at Goodison Park but were barely troubling Etheridge’s goal before record signing Sigurdsson intervened.
The Iceland midfielder had scored five goals in his past eight Everton appearances and his outstanding form has been a major reason for their rise up the table.
He took a while to get going here, but he was in the right place at the right time to slot home on 58 minutes after Etheridge’s fine, low save.
Prior to that, Everton’s £100m-plus attack had failed to fire in front of an expectant crowd.
Fresh from scoring for Brazil in midweek, Richarlison led the line but he looked distinctly out of sorts against a resolute Cardiff defence.
But Sigurdsson’s goal fired Everton into life as Etheridge was required to make further good saves from Richarlison and substitutes Cenk Tosun and Ademola Lookman.
Warnock has praised Cardiff’s recent displays and his side offered a decent, if ultimately fruitless away performance at Goodison Park.
After beating Brighton last time out, they sought to win back-to-back games in the top flight of English football for the first time in 56 years.
Marshalled by their impressive centre-back Bamba, they held the home team at arm’s length for much of the match but their lack of penetration on the break cost them.
Their only effort on target arrived midway through the second half when Victor Camarasa’s swerving shot was beaten away by Jordan Pickford.
In-form striker Callum Paterson had scored three in his past four Cardiff games but was well shackled here, heading over his best opportunity with just three minutes left.
The Bluebirds have lost their past four away games against strong opposition in the form of Tottenham, Chelsea, Liverpool and Everton.
Next, they host fellow promoted side Wolves followed by West Ham and Southampton as they bid to pick up much-needed points.
Everton boss Marco Silva: “We deserved the three points and controlled the match. We tried to play our way but we started slowly and against a strong, defensive team like Cardiff, we need to be faster. In the second half, we gave them more problems and we were mature in the final minutes to get the win.
Cardiff manager Neil Warnock: “They were better than us in the final third but I can’t fault my team’s performance. We were very well organised but we need to be a bit more clinical. There were some fine margins that went against us and I wasn’t happy with two incidents before their goal.”
Murphy 5.5 (67 mins for Harris)
Hoilett 6.5 (74 mins for Arter)
Ward 6 (85 mins Camarasa)