Brighton and Hove Albion are certain to be in the Premier League next season after a draw on Monday, while Everton put a serious dent in Sheffield United’s hopes of playing in Europe. 

A 0-0 stalemate with Newcastle United on the south coast means Graham Potter's Brighton are mathematically safe with a game to spare. 

The teams combined to produce just four shots on target in a tepid clash that certainly had an end-of-season feel about it, meaning the six Premier League meetings between them have now produced just four goals. 

"We are there now, the target is done," Lewis Dunk told Sky Sports. 

"It's disappointing we didn't create much, but they didn't create much either. It was not the best game - I think both sides cancelled each other out."

At Bramall Lane, Richarlison scored the only goal less than a minute after the break as Everton recorded their first victory in five outings. 

The Brazilian headed in Gylfi Sigurdsson's inviting free-kick and United were unable to respond, the narrow loss meaning they remain eighth in the table ahead of Sunday's final round of fixtures. 

Chris Wilder's Blades could have risen above Wolves into seventh with a home win, but now are relying on other results to help them out in their quest to qualify for the Europa League. 

Richarlison cancelled out Danny Ings' opener as Everton and Southampton battled out a 1-1 Premier League draw at Goodison Park.

The Saints had a golden opportunity to take the lead after 28 minutes but James Ward-Prowse crashed a penalty against the crossbar after he had been brought down inside the area by Andre Gomes.

Ings spared his team-mate's blushes just three minutes later, though, rounding Jordan Pickford to slot home his 19th Premier League goal of the campaign.

Richarlison levelled two minutes before half-time for Carlo Ancelotti's Everton when he collected Lucas Digne's superb pass and lifted the ball over the onrushing Alex McCarthy.

Everton striker Richarlison has lit the touch paper ahead of the Merseyside derby by stating Virgil van Dijk is not among the best three defenders in the world.

Van Dijk has been outstanding since joining the Reds from Southampton in a then-world record transfer fee for a defender of £75million in January 2018.

The Netherlands captain has hardly put a foot wrong for Jurgen Klopp's side, playing a major part in their Champions League triumph last season and putting them on the brink of the Premier League title this term.

Yet, Brazil international Richarlison does not rate the former Celtic centre-back as the best in his position as they prepare to do battle at Goodison Park on Sunday.

He said in an interview with Desimpedidos:  "People talk a lot about him [Van Dijk]. Yes, he is a great defender, but I've already dribbled past him.

"He was chosen as one of the top three in the world as he had an excellent season.

"But yes, for me there are better defenders."

Asked which players he thinks are better than the 28-year-old, he replied: "Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Sergio Ramos."

Van Dijk was second behind only Lionel Messi for the Ballon d'Or last year but did land the PFA Players' Player of the Year award.

Everton's brilliant resurgence under Carlo Ancelotti continued with a comfortable 3-1 win over struggling Crystal Palace at Goodison Park on Saturday.

The Toffees were in the relegation zone when Marco Silva was sacked in December, but victory against Palace – who have now lost three in a row – leaves Everton just five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

Bernard put Everton ahead in the 18th minute when he volleyed home Theo Walcott's delivery and the hosts remained in charge until early in the second half, as Jordan Pickford allowed Christian Benteke's effort to go under him.

Everton were back in front soon after, however – Richarlison darting through the Palace defence before finding the bottom corner.

Palace did threaten another equaliser, but Dominic Calvert-Lewin converted from close range late on after Richarlison's headed attempt came back off the crossbar, wrapping up a fifth Premier League win in eight matches for Everton. 

At the Amex Stadium, an Adrian Mariappa own goal prevented Watford lifting themselves out of the bottom three, as Brighton and Hove Albion claimed a 1-1 draw.

Abdoulaye Doucoure gave Watford a 19th-minute lead with a fine finish from just outside the area after Aaron Mooy had squandered possession.

There were few other moments of excitement until Brighton levelled 11 minutes from time – Mariappa, under no pressure, emphatically sending an Alireza Jahanbakhsh cross into his own net.

Watford remain in the relegation zone, while Brighton stay three points better off in 15th.

Carlo Ancelotti has insisted Everton have no plans to sell Richarlison in the close season.

The 22-year-old Brazil international was reportedly the subject of a €100million (£85m) bid from LaLiga giants Barcelona earlier this week, though both Everton and the Blaugrana have since dismissed the speculation.

Richarlison, signed for a reported £40m potentially rising to £50m from Watford in 2018, has become a key figure for Everton since his arrival at Goodison Park.

He scored 14 goals in all competitions in his first season and, despite Marco Silva's struggles and ultimate sacking, has found the net 10 times this campaign.

Everton boss Ancelotti sees Richarlison as a key player moving forward, with the striker having signed a long-term deal in December, shortly before Silva was sacked following a 5-2 defeat to Liverpool.

"I don't think it will be difficult to resist because it is enough to say no," Ancelotti told reporters when pressed on the possibility of selling Richarlison.

"There is no possibility because Richarlison is an important part of the future of Everton like the other young players we have – [Jordan] Pickford, [Mason] Holgate, [Moise] Kean, [Dominic] Calvert-Lewin.

"We have a lot of young players. This is the base from which the club has to build the future, and Richarlison is part of it.

"Everything can happen in football. If an offer arrives that you cannot refuse, and it is an offer that can improve the squad, then why not? But, now, I can say Richarlison is an important part.

"I was not here when he renewed [his contract] but the fact that he renewed made me happy because he's a fantastic player. He can play everywhere.

"Technically he can improve but his movement is really good, his heading is fantastic, I was surprised, and he has a lot of power in his legs. He is a really complete striker."

Ancelotti also confirmed Andre Gomes – who has been out since November after sustaining a serious ankle injury against Tottenham – could be in line to face Arsenal on February 23 after he returned to training.

The time might have come for Chelsea to cash in on one of their longest and most loyal servants.

According to reports, LaLiga giants Barcelona are eager to take winger Willian to Camp Nou before the January transfer window closes on Friday.

The experienced Brazilian has been with Chelsea since 2013, but his contract is due to expire at the end of the season.

 

TOP STORY - BARCA WANT WILLIAN

Barcelona will test Chelsea's resolve with a late €23.6million (£20m) offer for Willian, Sky Sports have reported.

The Blaugrana are said to be are "long-term admirers" of the 31-year-old and hope to have him on board for the remainder of their title battle against Real Madrid.

Willian could leave Stamford Bridge on a free at the end of June if Chelsea choose not to cash in now.

Frank Lampard last month said contract talks were ongoing with the former Shakhtar Donetsk attacker, but he has not yet agreed a new deal.

 

ROUND-UP

- News of Barca's approach comes amid suggestions they have had an eye-watering €100m (£85m) offer for Richarlison rejected by Everton, rumours the Mirror indicates have been laughed off at Goodison Park.

- Chelsea, however, could be preparing their Willian replacement. According to the Daily Mail, the Premier League top-four aspirants are looking to sign 32-year-old Napoli forward Dries Mertens for a cut-price £6m fee.

- Barca, meanwhile, are trying to find a new home for Philippe Coutinho after learning Bayern Munich will not activate their €120m option to buy the on-loan playmaker, say Catalunya Radio.

- England international Danny Rose will spend the remainder of the season at Newcastle United after Tottenham accepted a £2m loan fee for the left-back, claim the Guardian.

- Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund must improve their bid from €22m to €30m to convince Serie A champions Juventus to part with midfielder Emre Can, claim CalcioMercato.

Barcelona appear unlikely to sign Everton striker Richarlison despite being linked with an £85million (€100m) move for the Brazil international.

According to Sky Sports, the Spanish giants have targeted Richarlison to bolster their attack, with injured frontman Luis Suarez set to miss the rest of the season.

The British broadcaster claimed Everton turned down a bumper bid for Barcelona, whose sporting director Eric Abidal is said to be a great admirer of the former Watford player.

However, Omnisport understands such a deal is considered within Everton's ranks as being unlikely to happen.

Richarlison signed a new five-year contract with the Premier League outfit in December, with the 22-year-old lined up to play a big part in the Merseyside club's future.

With Carlo Ancelotti installed as manager shortly before Christmas, Everton have high hopes they can push for the European places and keeping Richarlison is key to their plans.

Richarlison has scored eight goals and provided three assists in 22 Premier League games this season, after hitting 13 goals and laying on another six in the competition during his debut campaign for the Toffees in 2018-19.

Gabriel Jesus scored a second-half brace as Manchester City claimed a 2-1 win over Everton, who suffered defeat for the first time under Carlo Ancelotti.

Brazil striker Jesus was restored to the starting line-up in one of five changes from City's victory against Sheffield United and more than took his opportunity in Wednesday's clash at the Etihad Stadium.

Phil Foden had a strike ruled out by the video assistant referee in a low-key first half, but the home side stepped things up in the second half and were rewarded through Jesus' quickfire double.

Everton had won back-to-back matches under Ancelotti previously and gave themselves a lifeline when Richarlison profited from a Claudio Bravo error 19 minutes from time, but they could not find a leveller as City saw things through.

Bravo retained his place in goal due to Ederson - suspended against United - missing out through illness and he pushed over a Seamus Coleman drive early on.

City thought they had found a way through after 12 minutes when Foden tapped in Joao Cancelo's cross, only for VAR to rule it out as Riyad Mahrez was offside in the build-up.

Mahrez was again undone by VAR when the technology upheld the linesman's decision to flag him for offside before charging into the box and being felled by Lucas Digne.

But there was to be no denying Jesus early in the second half, the Brazil international controlling Ilkay Gundogan's pass and bending the ball past Jordan Pickford.

Jesus doubled his tally seven minutes later by taking Mahrez's pass in his stride and this time beating Pickford at his near post with a well-struck shot.

A poor pass from Bravo gifted Everton a route back into the game as Theo Walcott's shot deflected into the path of Richarlison for a tap in, but City came closest to scoring the game's fourth goal as Jesus struck the inside of the post.

 

What does it mean? City close gap despite rotation

Pep Guardiola's decision to rotate his side for this game perhaps indicates he will prioritise the cup competitions in the second half of the season, even if he has claimed he will not.

Despite leaving Sergio Aguero on the bench for the 90 minutes and only bringing on Raheem Sterling in added time, however, City got the job done in an efficient manner and are back to within 11 points of leaders Liverpool, albeit having played two games more.

Jesus maintains impressive run

Jesus has now scored in five successive Premier League meetings with Everton, netting seven goals in total - more than he has managed against any other side in the competition. 

He showed brilliant awareness for both goals by getting between two defenders, controlling a pass into his feet and finding a way past Pickford.

Bravo's blushes spared

Pickford hardly covered himself in glory for either of Jesus' goals, especially having been caught out at his near post for the second, while opposite number Bravo was at fault for Richarlison's goal.

City's back-up keeper played Cancelo into trouble with his pass and the ball was in the net seconds later.

What's next?

City host League Two side Port Vale in the FA Cup third round on Saturday, while Everton travel to Merseyside rivals Liverpool the following day in a mouth-watering tie.

Manchester United may be eyeing Everton forward Richarlison, but Carlo Ancelotti has other ideas.

Brazil international Richarlison, 22, is reportedly among numerous attackers being targeted by United.

However, the arrival of Ancelotti at Goodison Park could mean Richarlison is going nowhere.

 

TOP STORY – ANCELOTTI TO BLOCK MAN UTD'S RICHARLISON BID

Ancelotti will block any Manchester United bid for Richarlison, according to The Sun.

The report says Everton would even reject a £70million bid for the forward, who signed a five-year deal earlier this month.

Richarlison has scored six Premier League goals this season, having netted 13 in 2018-19.

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Everton and Ancelotti would seriously consider a move for Napoli forward Lorenzo Insigne, according to Le 10 Sport. Ancelotti and Insigne worked together in Naples before the former was sacked earlier this month.

- Paris Saint-Germain are interested in Juventus full-back Mattia De Sciglio, according to CalcioMercato. Emre Can has been linked with a move to PSG and Leandro Paredes to Juve, with De Sciglio potentially being included in those talks.

- Inter are moving quickly for Arturo Vidal. Sport reports the Serie A club have offered €12m for the midfielder, although Barcelona want €20m, amid reports Vidal has agreed to terms with Inter ahead of a possible move in January.

- Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz is a wanted man. The Spain international is a key target for Real Madrid for the 2020-21 season, according to AS, which says Fabian wants a move to the Santiago Bernabeu despite interest from the likes of Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Manchester City.

- Mikel Arteta is not ready to let Granit Xhaka leave. Amid reports the midfielder has told Arsenal he wants to join Hertha Berlin in January, The Sun suggests Arteta is in no rush to sell Xhaka as he assesses his squad.

- After links to numerous coaches, it seems Inter Miami have found their man. ESPN reports the MLS club – which will make their debut next year – have reached an agreement with former Monterrey and Pachuca coach Diego Alonso.

How much will it take to retain the services of Kylian Mbappe?

Paris Saint-Germain are desperate to ward off Real Madrid, who want to bring Mbappe to the Santiago Bernabeu.

A huge contract offer is reportedly on the horizon in Paris.

 

TOP STORY – PSG READYING BUMPER NEW DEAL FOR MBAPPE

Paris Saint-Germain have offered superstar Kylian Mbappe a five-year contract worth €32million per year amid interest from Real Madrid, according to journalist Nicolo Schira.

LaLiga giants Madrid are reportedly ready to go all out for Mbappe at the end of the season – head coach Zinedine Zidane desperate to work with his fellow Frenchman.

Amid doubts over Neymar's future in Paris as LaLiga champions Barcelona continue to be linked with a reunion, PSG are desperate to hold onto Mbappe.

ROUND-UP

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has agreed to return to Milan, according to Sky Sport Italia and reports in Italy. A free agent since leaving MLS outfit LA Galaxy, the 38-year-old has reportedly signed a six-month contract with the option of another year. Ibrahimovic spent two seasons previously playing for Milan from 2010 to 2012, winning the Scudetto.

- According to Calciomercato, Antonio Conte's Inter continue to dream of signing Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal, who wants to leave Camp Nou as soon as January.

- While Vidal could leave, Sport reports Barca are interested in signing Stefano Sensi. The Italian midfielder is on a season-long loan deal at Inter from Sassuolo.

- La Repubblica claims Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is valued at €105m amid links to Serie A champions Juventus and Inter.

- PSG forward Edinson Cavani will not force through a move to Atletico Madrid, says Mundo Deportivo. Cavani – out of contract at the end of the season – has reportedly agreed a deal to join Atletico, however, the veteran is unwilling to leave PSG on bad terms.

- The Evening Standard says Everton's Richarlison has been considered by United as they look to fill the void left by Romelu Lukaku. Salzburg sensation Erling Haaland tops the list of United's attacking targets, however, he is also wanted by RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund and Juve.

Duncan Ferguson made an instant impact as Everton's caretaker manager following the sacking of Marco Silva, guiding them to a 3-1 win over Chelsea and lifting them out of the bottom three.

Silva was sacked on Thursday in the wake of a 5-2 hammering in the Merseyside derby but Ferguson's first game at the helm proved there is life in the Toffees yet, with Chelsea losing for the third time in four Premier League matches.

Richarlison got Ferguson's interim reign off to a flying start when heading in after only five minutes, with the Brazilian netting for the third successive Premier League match.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin capitalised on defensive haplessness to make it 2-0 early in the second half and, although Mateo Kovacic's first league goal for Chelsea offered the visitors encouragement, Everton managed to seal the points late on – their English forward getting a second.

Having found themselves 2-0 down after 17 minutes on Wednesday, the improvement in Everton's start against Chelsea was marked, taking an early lead when Richarlison met Djibril Sidibe's cross with a header the once famously dominant Ferguson would have been proud of.

Calvert-Lewin should have doubled hosts' lead in the 16th minute, but his feeble shot after being released by Theo Walcott was straight at Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Chelsea steadily improved and Tammy Abraham saw a flick from Willian's delivery flash right across the face of goal, but that was as close as they came before half-time.

Everton began the second half with renewed purpose and quickly increased their lead – Calvert-Lewin converting after Kurt Zouma's poor clearance dropped in the box and ricocheted off the Frenchman and Andreas Christensen.

Chelsea swiftly pulled one back through Kovacic, whose controlled volley from 30 yards beat the unsighted Jordan Pickford to find the bottom-left corner.

That paved the way for Chelsea to pile men forward towards the end, but Everton wrapped up the win six minutes from time, Calvert-Lewin prodding through Kepa's legs after the keeper had initially given the ball away under no pressure.

 

What does it mean? Chelsea looking over their shoulder

Friday's news of Chelsea's transfer ban being halved seemingly could not have been timed any better. If there is one thing made abundantly clear by Saturday's defeat, it is a lack of quality at centre-back.

As a result of Frank Lampard's men being so poor at the back, they could finish the weekend only three points clear of fifth-placed Wolves in they win at Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday.

Chelsea's centre-back frailties laid bare

All three of Everton goals came as a result of Chelsea's centre-backs failing to do their jobs properly. Neither Christensen nor Kurt Zouma picked up the run of Richarlison for his opener, while the latter's dreadful clearance proved critical for Calvert-Lewin's first strike. His second came after a myriad of blunders, starting with Kepa. 

Sidibe shows his class

Both of Everton's full-backs impressed on Saturday, but Sidibe was particularly effective at both ends. On top of his seven tackles, three clearances and four interceptions, the Frenchman also laid on three chances and set up Richarlison's opener.

What's next?

Everton have another tricky contest on the horizon as they go to Manchester United a week on Sunday. Chelsea host Lille in the Champions League on Tuesday, aiming to secure their progression to the knockout phase, before returning to Premier League action at home to Bournemouth next Saturday.

Richarlison has thanked Marco Silva after struggling Everton made the decision to sack their under-pressure manager on Thursday.

After a humiliating 5-2 defeat to Merseyside rivals and Premier League leaders Liverpool left Everton in the bottom three, Silva was relieved of his duties, bringing an end to an 18-month stint in charge.

Richarlison – who played under Silva at Watford – arrived as the Portuguese's first signing in 2018, and has been a consistent performer at Goodison Park, scoring 21 goals in all competitions for Everton, while also establishing himself as a regular in the Brazil team.

The 22-year-old, who has previously referred to the former Hull City coach as a father figure, signed a new long-term deal with Everton this week, and ultimately scored what proved to be the final goal of Silva's tenure – having netted the first two in a 2-2 draw at Wolves on the opening day of last season.

"Thanks for everything, teacher! Especially for the care and attention that made me grow and become better in every way," Richarlison tweeted.

"I will never forget everything you did for me. I'll always be in the crowd!"

Everton forward Richarlison has signed a new deal that will keep him at Goodison Park until 2024.

The 22-year-old was signed from Watford in July 2018 for a fee that could rise to £50million and has largely impressed during his time on Merseyside.

He scored 13 goals in 38 appearances across all competitions last season, while his header in Sunday's 2-1 defeat to Leicester City took his tally to six in the current term.

Marco Silva's side are languishing in 17th in the Premier League after picking up just four wins from their opening 14 games.

"I intend to be here a long time," Richarlison told evertontv. "This was the club which gave me the opportunity to show my football.

"It was here I managed to get a place in the Brazil national team and it was here I have scored lots of goals in the Premier League.

"The club trusts me and I trust them. The supporters have a lot of affection for me and I try to give back all this affection as much as possible on the pitch.

"I go out and put my life on the line for them. I try to sweat blood and tears for this club. I intend to continue honouring the shirt and making the fans happy. And I hope they continue singing my name."

Richarlison has scored six goals in 19 appearances for Brazil, with all his appearances for his national side coming after his move to the Toffees.

Director of football Marcel Brands says the Everton board is "united" in their support of coach Marco Silva and also revealed star striker Richarlison is close to agreeing a new deal at Goodison Park.

Last weekend's 2-0 home defeat to Norwich City again prompted speculation over Silva's future with Everton 16th in the Premier League table, four points off the relegation places.

But Brands is confident improvement is round the corner after sitting down and discussing the situation with the Portuguese.

He told the club's website: "Everyone at the club was disappointed last Saturday, it was a poor performance and a poor result, something we didn't expect after the last few weeks.

"If we talk about improvement, we talk about a couple of weeks ago when we played Burnley. After that game, as a board, we sat down with Marco to see how we could help him, how we can improve results.

"We spoke with individual players, did some team building activities, spoke with staff members and after that we got a few good results.

"We also got a good result just before the break against Southampton so you don't expect a result like last Saturday against Norwich.

"But it's important that everyone feels that we can turn it around to get better results.

"Most people know that I always go to the dressing room after the game, to see how the atmosphere is.

"Of course, everyone was disappointed last Saturday but you saw in the eyes of the players the fire that they want to resolve this, to turn this around - together with the whole staff."

Brands believes stability is the best way forward for a club that had genuine aspirations of a European place this season.

He added: "If you look at our ranking and the results, we expect a lot better.

"We have enough quality and, although we were a bit unlucky with some VAR decisions and injuries, we have a good squad and we have to improve our results.

"That's also what Marco is working on, together with the players.

"As a board we have to support him. We know in sport you have to perform and that goes for the manager, the players, everyone, but it's especially important at this club after a couple of years of instability to stick together.

"The most important thing is that the squad feels it can improve and the staff feel they can improve, we have to support them. As a director of football and a board, we are united in that and it's important we stick together to improve our situation."

One potential piece of good news for Everton fans is that star striker Richarlison is set to extend his stay on Merseyside.

The Brazil international joined from Watford in July 2018 for a fee that could rise to £50 million and is close to agreeing a new deal that would keep him under contract for another five years.

Brands said: "We have to look at the positives ahead and one during a week like this is that we are now busy with the last details of extending the contract of one of our key players Richarlison until 2024. That is a positive for the long term."

Andre Gomes has thanked people for their "positive energy" in the wake of a fracture dislocation to his right ankle against Tottenham on Sunday.

Gomes was taken off on a stretcher in the second half at Goodison Park following a challenge from Son Heung-min, which led to the Everton player colliding with Serge Aurier. 

Spurs forward Son, who was sent off by referee Martin Atkinson, was visibly distraught before being led down the tunnel, while several other players from both teams were clearly distressed by the seriousness of the incident.

Everton announced their midfielder is expected to make a full recovery after undergoing surgery on Monday, and Gomes has taken to social media to thank people from across football for their support.

In a video shared on Twitter, he said: "As you already know, everything went well [with my operation]. I'm already at home with my family and I would like to thank you all for the support, the messages and the positive energy. Thank you."

Marco Silva, meanwhile, has called on Toffees forward Richarlison to stop going down easily.

While the Everton boss believes the Brazil international does not receive fair treatment from officials, he does think Richarlison needs to stand firm in the face of robust defending more often than he does.

"Of course, we are working with him because the Premier League is really tough and the message and feedback to him is to always to stand as much as he can," Silva told EvertonTV.

"Don’t fall down, even if it looks in many, many moments that the decisions are not fair with him. What I am saying to Richarlison, and our staff as well, is for him to keep standing as much as he can and in the right moments the referee will be fair with him because we feel that it is not so fair.

"But it's what we are working on with him, to keep standing and be strong because the contact in the Premier League is really strong as well. And, for sure, after [you remain strong], football and the decisions will be fair with you. But he has the quality and never gives up."

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