Everton confirm Premier League safety as Gueye sinks Brentford


Goodison Park will host Premier League football in its final season after Idrissa Gueye’s strike sealed a 1-0 victory for Everton over Brentford.

The hosts scored with their only shot on target for the first time in a Premier League game since their 1-1 draw with Manchester City in December 2022.

After notching the opener in the victory over Nottingham Forest last Sunday, Gueye’s influence has shone through during a perfect week for Sean Dyche’s side, who backed up Wednesday’s colossal Merseyside derby victory with a third straight win.

Idrissa Gueye lashes in the opener for Everton
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Idrissa Gueye lashes in the opener for Everton

His swept finish on the hour-mark sparked the game into life after both sides had struggled to create chances in a game low on quality but of huge significance.

The only goal came moments after Jordan Pickford saved superbly to deny Ivan Toney in Brentford’s only big chance of the contest. The result moves Everton above their opponents into 15th place on 36 points – an unassailable gap to 18th-placed Luton in the relegation zone.

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Jordan Pickford denies Ivan Toney from close range

Player ratings

Everton: Pickford (7), Godfrey (7), Tarkowski (7), Branthwaite (7), Young (7), Harrison (6), Gueye (8), Garner (7), McNeil (8), Doucoure (6), Chermiti (7).

Subs: Keane (n/a), Onana (6).

Brentford: Flekken (6), Ajer (7), Collins (7), Pinnock (5), Reguilon (5), Jensen (6), Norgaard (5), Janelt (6), Mbeumo (5), Toney (5), Wissa (5).

Subs: Lewis-Potter (6), Damsgaard (6), Yarmolyuk (n/a), Schade (n/a), Roerslev (n/a).

Player of the Match: Idrissa Gueye.

Everton to give Goodison its fitting send off

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Gueye pounces to give Everton the lead

The Toffees will play in the top flight when the curtain comes down on Goodison Park, a little over 12 months from now. The Old Lady shook to its foundations when Liverpool’s title hopes were left in tatters. How this true cathedral to the world of football has glistened these past seven days, a fortress that has carried Everton to safety.

“It’s been a great week for the club,” said Jamie Carragher. “Three clean sheets, not just the three wins. They’ve gone back to what Everton and Dyche do.”

Team news

  • Everton manager Sean Dyche handed a full Premier League debut to Youssef Chermiti in place of the Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who was not in the matchday squad. Ashley Young also started in place of Vitalii Mykolenko in an otherwise unchanged line-up.
  • Ivan Toney returned to the Brentford starting XI as Keane Lewis-Potter dropped to the bench. Christian Norgaard started in midfield in place of Mikkel Damsgaard.

Luton’s defeat at Wolves earlier on Saturday had already confirmed Brentford’s safety before a ball was kicked on Merseyside. The less said about the first half, the better.

Jarrad Branthwaite made an excellent block to deny Mathias Jensen from Vitaly Janelt’s cross while Dwight McNeil’s shot fizzed across goal and inches away from Youssef Chermiti’s outstretched boot on his full Premier League debut. The defences were on top with neither goalkeeper tested by an attempt on target at the break.

Youssef Chermiti competes with Ethan Pinnock
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Youssef Chermiti competes with Ethan Pinnock

Former Everton defender Phil Jagielka told Sky Sports: “It’s a team that has just found out they’re safe for next season against a team that knows a point or two will keep them up. It’s been a bit scrappy.”

That was an understatement – but both sides came close to breaking the deadlock within 10 minutes of the restart.

First, Toney was denied brilliantly by Pickford at the far post after a fine touch from Yoane Wissa into the path of Mathias Jensen. Everton then responded as McNeil rattled Mark Flekken’s crossbar from distance.

Youssef Chermiti's outstretched boot can't make contact
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Chermiti’s outstretched boot cannot make contact

The hosts still had not mustered a shot on target – until they broke the deadlock on the hour-mark. Brentford failed to clear a corner as Gueye found Jack Harrison in space. His low cross was taken in by Branthwaite, whose blocked attempt squirted free for Gueye to curl a precise finish beyond Flekken.

The impressive McNeil ripped another shot across goal while there were other opportunities to make this a more emphatic win. Chermiti, judged offside from McNeil’s clever pass, lifted a shot over when VAR may have ruled him to be on while Abdoulaye Doucoure was also denied by Flekken before the offside flag was again raised.

In the closing stages, James Garner’s fine free-kick struck the woodwork before substitute Kevin Schade’s shot was saved low to Pickford’s left. Both these sides will do it all over again next season, much to the delight of Dyche and the Goodison faithful.

As the players embarked on a lap of appreciation towards fans who have stuck by them through tumultuous months amid financial breaches, The Seekers’ We Shall Not Be Moved was played out in defiance.

Attention will turn from staying up to staying alive. With 777 Partners not yet able to convince the Premier League it has the funds to complete a proposed takeover after several months, there remains a protracted uncertainty over Everton’s ownership and financial future.

But on the pitch, Dyche, his coaching staff and his players have made light of their predicament compared to recent seasons; they’ve stayed up with three games to spare – and would now be within a win of the top half were it not for their eight-point deduction.

Tarkowski hails Everton turnaround: We were in a dark place

 Idrissa Gueye fires Everton ahead against Brentford
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Idrissa Gueye fires Everton ahead against Brentford

Everton defender James Tarkowski told Sky Sports:

“It’s been some turnaround. Last week [the 6-0 loss to Chelsea] was probably the lowest point of our season. To come back the way we have, with three wins, a derby win, and today again… I think today’s the toughest game of the three just because of the high of the other night.

“Fair play to the lads and the manager. We were in a dark place. To turn us around in that time, the lads have shown up and given their all and you can see how much it means to those fans.

“[Idrissa] Gueye has been incredible. Two massive goals, first of all, but the work he gets through for us is unbelievable.”

Dyche: You were desperate for Luton to win and us to lose

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Everton boss Sean Dyche was delighted after their 1-0 win over Brentford secured Premier League survival for another season.

Everton boss Sean Dyche: “I’m incredibly pleased and proud. They’re a group of players who have had knocks all season. Four out of five clean sheets and wins with all the mounting noise after the Chelsea game is incredible. The mentality of the players is fantastic. Super pleased. Very proud.

“It’s been an exhausting week for many reasons, highs from the big win on Wednesday. The emotion that goes into that, I wondered how the players would respond.

“With xG we’ve been questioned for how many times we haven’t won games. It’s paid us back.

“They’ve had a massive week. There’s a lot of pressure and intensity on the week and can you do it again? Second half we controlled the game pretty well.”

On the fact they are safe now but effectively were already: “Yeah of course, that old chestnut. ‘You were safe and all that’. You were all desperate for Luton to win and us to lose. This isn’t my first rodeo.”

Frank: It was an average game

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Despite having avoided Premier League relegation for another season, Brentford head coach Thomas Frank was left frustrated following their 1-0 loss at Everton.

Brentford boss Thomas Frank: “Very tight game. Not many chances. Probably a 0-0 game. A little bit boring. We know how difficult Everton are to play against. We had the biggest chance of the game with Ivan.”

On avoiding relegation being their goal at the start of the season: “No no no no no. Never never never never. We never talk about a target of staying in the Premier League. We always want to finish as high as possible.

“I don’t like losing. It was an average game. It’s a little irritating to me.”

‘An emotional and massive week for Everton’

Ben Godfrey is challenged by Yoane Wissa
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Ben Godfrey is challenged by Yoane Wissa

Former Everton defender Phil Jagielka on Sky Sports:

“First of all, it’s relief. You’ve got to take your hat off. It’s been an emotional and massive week.

“Three wins at any time of the season is huge but to do it now and cement your place in the best division in the world is fantastic.”

Dwight McNeil in action against Bryan Mbeumo
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Dwight McNeil in action against Bryan Mbeumo

Jamie Redknapp on Sky Sports:

“There was an impetus about Everton second half. McNeil started to get on the ball and make things happen.

“They got the goal and they are very good at defending. They know their jobs, they work extremely hard. It was a really important three points for them.

“You knew they would find a win from somewhere but the form they have been in of late has been fantastic.”

Gueye underlines his importance to Everton

Idrissa Gueye celebrates his strike on the hour-mark
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Gueye has scored three Premier League goals for Everton this season, as many as in his first five campaigns in the competition combined. Indeed, he’s netted two in his last three games in the competition, as many as in his previous 98 appearances

Sky Sports’ Ben Grounds:

Arnaut Danjuma was quick to make the point out on the pitch as he mobbed the match-winner. “The best player on the pitch,” he said as he pointed at the head of Gueye.

The Senegalese, whose current deal expires at the end of June, has not been known for his goalscoring prowess during his time on Merseyside. In fact, rewinding only a week and he had scored just once from 99 shots during his time at Everton.

But in making that two from 100 in the vital 2-0 victory over Nottingham Forest, he backed up an impressive display in the Merseyside derby with another goal to preserve Everton’s Premier League status.

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Dwight McNeil rattles the crossbar from distance

Jagielka had warned that Brentford would pose arguably the toughest test of the week, given that the Forest and Liverpool assignments spoke for themselves.

Toney was back, and the shackles were off Thomas Frank’s side after their own safety was assured before kick-off. An anxiety that has pervaded matches at Goodison was drifting back in when Pickford made a brilliant save to deny Brentford’s returning talisman.

But Gueye’s timely intervention transformed the mood, and rubber-stamped just why tying him down to a contract extension is so important this summer.

Fortress Goodison – Opta stats

Jarrad Branthwaite blocks Mathias Jensen's shot
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Jarrad Branthwaite blocks Mathias Jensen’s shot

  • After failing to win any of their first three Premier League meetings with Brentford (D1 L2), Everton have won each of the last three encounters. Indeed, only against Newcastle have the Bees had a longer losing run against a specific side in the competition (ongoing run of four).
  • Everton have won each of their last four home Premier League games without conceding; it’s their longest such run in a single season since their final four games of the 2018-19 campaign under Marco Silva.
  • Brentford have now lost 18 Premier League games this season; their joint-most in a Premier League season along with 2021-22. Indeed, they last lost more times in a top-flight campaign in 1946-47 (26).
  • Everton have scored 18 goals from set pieces in the Premier League this season (excl. penalties), with only Arsenal netting more (20). Indeed, only in 2008-09 and 2009-10 (both 19) have the Toffees netted more such goals in a Premier League campaign.

What’s next?


Friday 3rd May 7:00pm


Kick off 8:00pm


Everton face Luton Town live on Friday Night Football on May 3, kick-off 8pm, while Brentford host Fulham on May 4, kick-off 3pm.

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