Erling Haaland was pleased to get back on the scoresheet as Manchester City’s momentum continued to gather with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Everton.

The prolific Norwegian scored his first goals since returning to action from a foot injury as his late double finally saw off the resilient Toffees at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

It was the champions’ 10th victory in succession in all competitions and briefly took them back to the top of the table prior to rivals Liverpool’s defeat of Burnley later in the day.

With Haaland back in tandem with Kevin De Bruyne, who has also returned from his own lengthy lay-off, last season’s treble winners are in a strong position as they approach the decisive phase of the campaign.

“It’s a fantastic feeling,” said Haaland, whose first 19 goals of the season came before he was sidelined in early December.

“It’s fantastic to be back and it’s also good to keep on winning. That’s important and we have to keep going.

“We have already been on quite a good run. It is a good thing to start to click now. That’s never bad. It’s in the next few months when you win things, so we keep going.”

City found it tough to break down the stubborn Merseysiders, who are caught up in another relegation battle after their 10-point deduction earlier in the season.

The breakthrough came soon after manager Pep Guardiola introduced the lively De Bruyne and Kyle Walker off the bench, and it was Haaland who delivered the blow as Everton struggled to clear a 70th-minute corner.

De Bruyne then played in Haaland to secure the result five minutes from time.

“Back to normal finally,” said Haaland. “It’s good to be back to normal.

“We knew how the game was going to be and they were going to make it difficult for us.

“But we knew if we trusted ourselves it was going to be really difficult for (Everton). That’s what we did and in the end it was fantastic to win.”

Everton remain in the bottom three despite having won enough points to have been in a comfortable mid-table position.

Defender James Tarkowski insists the players are not downbeat about the situation.

“There’s no drop-off here,” he said. “We’re ready to go again. Don’t worry about us. We’re ready to go no matter what.

“It’s been a good season for us. I’m not disappointed. We’re going well. We’ve got a few lads coming back soon, so the squad’s looking strong and ready to play.

“I felt we played really well and then just a couple of minor details cost us.”

Pep Guardiola felt his side had come through a tough game after grinding out a 2-0 victory over Everton on Saturday.

Erling Haaland struck twice in the latter stages to secure a hard-fought Premier League success for the champions at the Etihad Stadium.

It was City’s 10th successive triumph in all competitions and Guardiola said the manner of the win would stand them in good stead as they chase a repeat treble.

The City manager said: “I love to win this type of game. The difficulty is there. We knew it, we talked about it.

“Always Everton here at home is really complicated. We’ve lost a lot of points over many years.

“What pleased me the most is something the people cannot see – the body shape, the positivity, the body language.

“In the first half we were complaining. I know a 12.30 (kick-off) is more difficult but our body language was not good. The chemistry between the players, when they lose a ball or something is not going well, has to be better.

“But in the second half it was much better. In general it was well deserved.

“I like to win this type of game – suffering and knowing how difficult everything is – because we learn the lessons for what’s coming.”

With Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne, who have both had lengthy lay-offs this season, now back in tandem and the rest of the squad fully fit, City’s momentum could be ominous for their rivals.

After last season’s achievements, doubts were cast over City’s durability as they stuttered in the autumn but Guardiola never had any concerns.

He said: “With Erling and Kevin we are stronger, that’s obvious, but when a team loses the consistency, we have to be worried with the way they train, behave and run.

“But it (good attitude) was always there. When that happens the team is alive. I was never concerned. Since day one I didn’t have the feeling.

“There are ups and downs, it’s normal, but I still liked what I saw.”

The defeat left Everton in the bottom three and without a league win in almost two months.

Manager Sean Dyche accepted his side had been beaten by a master finisher in Haaland, who broke the deadlock on 71 minutes and then wrapped up victory five minutes from time.

Dyche said: “That’s why he is who he is. He doesn’t have many touches in some games but he scores and that is the key.

“His finish for the first one – I have been speaking to the players recently about this – footballers scoring ‘trendy’ goals – whippers, dippers, clippers.

“He doesn’t think about that. Just score a goal. That’s the trendiest thing you’ll ever do. And he showed that, a good technique. Just smash it and don’t worry about anything else.”

Erling Haaland scored his first goals since November as champions Manchester City finally wore down Everton to claim a hard-fought 2-0 Premier League win on Saturday.

The prolific Norwegian, who recently returned to action after a foot injury, broke the deadlock after 70 minutes of a drab lunchtime encounter at the Etihad Stadium and wrapped up victory five minutes from time.

It was City’s 10th successive win in all competitions and fired out another warning to their title rivals that their momentum is growing.

City’s superior quality warranted the result, and ultimately it was not a surprise, but it was nevertheless a bitter blow for relegation-threatened Everton after a dogged display.

Toffees manager Sean Dyche may not have been seen pitchside due to a touchline ban but there was no mistaking his influence as Everton, without a league win since December, frustrated City.

The game was slow to get going, not helped by a lengthy delay early on for City goalkeeper Ederson to receive treatment after a collision with Ben Godfrey.

City controlled possession but found opportunities hard to come by. They had little space in which to attack as Everton kept men behind the ball and, with Kevin De Bruyne on the bench and Phil Foden wide, they lacked a creative spark.

Some of their brighter moments came courtesy of Jeremy Doku on the left. The Belgian twice beat Godfrey but one ball across the box was cleared by Jarrad Branthwaite and another cross was too high for Haaland.

Their best chances of the first half came following a corner just before the break as Manuel Akanji and Haaland both had efforts blocked in a crowded box.

Everton created little themselves although Jack Harrison blazed one half-chance well over.

After little change following the restart, City boss Pep Guardiola sent on De Bruyne and Kyle Walker in an attempt to inject some energy.

Doku also remained a danger and he found Haaland in the box but the Norwegian’s ball across goal was turned behind.

Rodri then shot well over but, despite increasing anxiety in the crowd, City maintained their composure and kept probing.

The breakthrough finally came as Everton, for the first time, failed to effectively deal with a ball into the box.

A header was blocked and the ball found its way to Haaland, who met it with a fierce right-footed strike that flew past Jordan Pickford. It was a scrappy goal but reward for City’s persistence.

Everton were deflated and they were caught out again as Haaland finally found some space and was released by a fine De Bruyne through ball. The striker made no mistake as he shrugged off Branthwaite and slotted into the bottom corner.

The job was done although, with 10 minutes of stoppage time, there might have been a livelier finish had a Beto strike not been disallowed for offside.

Ashley Young admits the responsibility is on Everton’s players to positively effect the rest of their season as the fate of their points deduction and another pending charge for a financial breach is out of their hands.

The club’s appeal against the 10-point sanction for an infringement of Premier League profit and sustainability rules was held this week but an outcome is not expected for another fortnight.

Without the penalty Sean Dyche’s side would be nine points clear of the relegation zone and while the last-gasp 2-2 draw with Tottenham briefly lifted them out of the bottom three, they will remain there for another week after Luton’s draw at Newcastle dropped them back down.

Young admits being below the line does have an impact on the players but a determined performance against Spurs was a confidence booster after Jarrad Branthwaite’s first goal of the season in the fourth minute of added time snatched a deserved point.

“I think everything is in the back of our minds but we have got a job in hand to do and that was to try and win the game,” said Young.

“Everything is out of our hands apart from what we go and do on the pitch and that is to win games. That is all we can do.

“We were losing but it showed the team spirit that we have got. Everyone is pulling in the right direction and everyone is on board with the manager’s ideas and his vision for the club.

“We want to make it tough for every team to come here. We have got to worry about what we do and not other teams and that is to get wins on the board.”

Young was playing only his second game after a six-week injury lay-off but was one of the better performers in a first half in which Jack Harrison got the slightest of final touches to deny team-mate Dominic Calvert-Lewin his first goal in 17 matches, sandwiched between two efforts from former Toffees favourite Richarlison.

The paucity of resources in midfield meant Young was freed from the right-back role he has operated in this season to play further forward and he enjoyed it.

He will be 39 this summer, when his contract expires, but has no plans to quit.

“I prefer it, actually, if you can tell the manager that. I have played there pretty much all my career,” he said of his midfield role.

“I know the job and it is more exciting than playing as a defender.

“I am just thinking about what games are coming up. It is down to the club when they want to sit down and talk to me about it. For me, it is just playing games and getting to the next game.”

Asked whether he wanted to continue playing next season, he added: “Yeah, of course I do.”

Tottenham head coach Ange Postecoglou felt goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario deserved more protection from referee Michael Oliver after Everton earned a last-gasp 2-2 draw.

The Italian, having endured a similar problem in their FA Cup exit to Manchester City last week, failed to deal with Dwight McNeil’s inswinging corner under his own crossbar which allowed Jack Harrison to equalise to initially make it 1-1.

And while the Spurs boss was reluctant to criticise the officials, he felt there could have been more intervention as Spurs missed the chance to move level on points with second-placed City.

“It just seems to be in general referees are reluctant to call these now and leave to VAR,” said Postecoglou on the first goal.

“At the moment any contact in the box referees seem reluctant to call.

“It is disappointing to concede any goal. There were about 30 set-pieces. It is stuff you have to deal with.

“It is obviously a difficult place to come and play and dominate and for the most part I thought we handled it OK.

“We started the game really well, lost a bit of our composure, the second half was OK and we created some good chances and probably needed a third to kill the game off.

“In the last 10 minutes it is almost inevitable you will be put under pressure here. We have to take it on the chin and move on.”

Everton manager Sean Dyche denied they had deliberately targeted Vicario.

“No, not necessarily. We want to be competitive on set-pieces all over the pitch. Delivery is massively important as is the intent and desire to score a goal,” he said.

“That is a large part of what we drill into the players. We do look a threat. There is no story there, it is just what we work on.

“Some weeks you give more time on (working on) the opposition but it is mostly what we work on.”

Jarrad Branthwaite’s first goal of the season deep into added time snatched a morale-boosting draw, with ex-Toffee Richarlison having scored twice for Spurs.

“Very pleased from top to bottom,” was Dyche’s assessment of the performance.

“The commitment is evident and some of the quality. They (Tottenham) started well and scored a very good goal from their point of view and then we went on the front foot and took the game on and played very well.

“At half-time I just said to the players ‘that is a very good half so we have to keep that going’. We kept our levels extremely high and deserved at least an equaliser, if not to take all three points.”

Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite’s added-time header snatched a 2-2 draw against Tottenham to spoil two-goal Richarlison’s return to Goodison Park.

The visitors appeared on course to make it six wins in seven after quality strikes from the Brazil international, only for the Toffees’ 21-year-old centre-back, one of their players of the season, to pop up at the far post with his first goal of the campaign.

A point was as much a reward for Sean Dyche’s side’s determination as it was a punishment for Spurs not finishing off their opponents when they had the chance.

Richarlison chose not to celebrate his eighth and ninth goals in the last eight league matches in deference to fans who less than two years ago adored him for the part he played in their first escape against relegation.

But there were wild scenes in the fourth minute of additional time when Tottenham defender Cristian Romero could only flick on James Garner’s inswinging free-kick and Branthwaite ghosted in to nod past Guglielmo Vicario, who endured a difficult afternoon dealing with Everton’s set-pieces.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s struggles also continued as he thought he had ended a 17-game drought extending back to October by nodding in from close range for the Toffees’ first equaliser only for the goal to be credited to Jack Harrison just before the start of the second half.

There were no such doubts about Richarlison’s well-taken goals; the first after four minutes when he swept home a volley after Idrissa Gana Gueye – injuries meaning he went came straight back in the side following Senegal’s African Nations Cup exit – had allowed Destiny Udogie to run beyond him to collect Timo Werner’s pass.

But instead of pressing home their early advantage Spurs were pushed back, with Harrison’s embarrassment at missing from a couple of yards spared by an offside flag.

Everton’s best opportunities came from set-pieces, particularly with Dwight McNeil targeting Vicario with inswinging corners from the right.

It was one of those which eventually paid off as Vicario, under pressure from Garner, failed to deal with a corner under his own crossbar and James Tarkowski headed back across goal for Calvert-Lewin to nod in.

Or so he thought until intervention from the Premier League’s goal accreditation panel.

Blissfully unaware the Everton striker now had a spring in his step and only just failed to get on the end of a Harrison cross having been crowded out by centre-backs Cristian Romero and Micky van der Ven.

Everton were actually in the ascendency when Richarlison put Spurs ahead again; James Maddison and Werner combined down the left with the latter teeing up the Brazilian who, with Harrison slow to react, had time to curl a shot across and beyond Jordan Pickford.

Vicario’s legs blocked Ben Godfrey’s header and Vitalii Mykolenko’s volley was parried late in the half but Tottenham’s momentum continued after the break with Werner denied by Pickford in a one-on-one only to be flagged offside.

Pickford made a better save when it mattered to deny Richarlison his hat-trick and the visitors should have put the game beyond doubt.

That they did not should have seen Youssef Chermiti make them pay only for him to stab a shot straight at Vicario and, after fellow substitute Beto had two penalty claims turned down, up stepped Branthwaite to deliver the painful blow.

Everton are still without a league win since mid-December but the manner in which they secured a point should do wonders for morale. However, a trip to Manchester City now awaits.

Former Manchester United and Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini has retired from professional football.

Fellaini left Shandong Taishan in November after four years with the Chinese club and has decided to bring his 18-year playing career to an end.

The Belgium international, who made 87 appearances for his national team, started out with Standard Liege before lengthy spells with Everton and United.

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“I am writing this post to announce that after a career of 18 years, I am retiring from professional football,” Fellaini said on Instagram.

“What an incredible journey it has been! I am so grateful to have played the sport I love at the highest level.

“I am proud to have represented Standard in Belgium, Everton and Manchester United in the UK, and Shandong Taishan in China. It was an honor (sic) to have played for the Belgian national team at the Olympics of 2008, Euro 2016 and the World Cups of 2014 and 2018.

“I have played in front of the best fans in the world, and I want to take this moment to thank all of them for their unwavering support throughout my career. Your encouragement and passion have been a constant source of inspiration for me.

“As I embark on this new chapter in my life, I look forward to new challenges, but be assured, I will continue to support the beautiful game in any way I can.”

Fellaini won an FA Cup and Europa League during his time with Manchester United and helped Belgium to third place at the 2018 World Cup before enjoying league and cup success with Shandong.

Ange Postecoglou feels there is even more to come from in-form Tottenham forward Richarlison.

Richarlison made it seven goals in as many Premier League matches with the crucial third goal in Wednesday’s 3-2 win over Brentford.

Spurs have been without captain Son Heung-min for the last month due to his Asian Cup commitments, but the Brazil international has filled the void and started to repay his £60million price tag following a difficult debut campaign.

Ahead of Saturday’s trip to Everton, Postecoglou said: “For me, it’s about trying to get players to fulfil their potential and with Richy, I still think there is growth there.

“If he keeps growing, well we the football club will be the beneficiaries of it.

“The goals are obviously important because that’s everyone’s measure, but I think his general game is improving and that’s the main thing for me. That’s what I’ve seen.

“The way we play and the kind of player Richy is, I was always confident he would score goals but we need more than that. I think his work rate now defensively, which was really important when we had Sonny up there hasn’t dropped off with Richy there.

“He’s working really hard for the team and the Ks (kilometres) he did the other night was right up there. Then his link up and hold up play is improving all the time. See I love that.

“I love when players still want to improve and do improve rather than say he’s played for his national team and been here quite a while. I can see him developing further and that’s what you want as a manager and coach. For us, he’s becoming a really important player.”

Minor groin surgery in November has been cited as a key reason behind Richarlison’s improvement, but Postecoglou has also fostered an environment at Tottenham that has allowed several players to flourish after previously mixed spells at the club or elsewhere.

He placed the credit firmly with the squad, adding: “I think the team has helped, but not just Richy, it’s a really strong dressing room in terms of the guys being really supportive of each other.

“We’ve had a number of guys coming back from long-term injuries or missed football and I think the reason they’ve come back and never felt disconnected is because of the dressing room we’ve created.

“For that, you need good leaders. Sonny is definitely that and (Cristian) Romero now, over the last few weeks, has grown even more. He’s a positive influence over everyone in the group and I’m sure Richy.

 

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“I see it on a daily basis, others don’t, but if you watch Emerson Royal train every day, you’d think he plays every game.

“He’s just outstanding with his attitude and demeanour around the place.

“There’s no time for anyone to feel down.

“When you see a guy like Emerson and like Fraser (Forster) or Ben (Davies), they train so hard every day, always have the greatest disposition, it doesn’t give anyone else an excuse to not feel up for it.”

Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou admitted he was left disappointed with one failed move on transfer deadline day – missing out on Lewis Hamilton!

Spurs were one of the most active clubs in the winter window, signing Radu Dragusin during the first half of January in a deal that could rise to £25million and bringing in Timo Werner on loan.

The Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules contributed towards a largely drama-free deadline day, which was overshadowed by news that seven-time Formula One champion Hamilton would join Ferrari from 2025.

It allowed Postecoglou the chance to have some fun at the start of his press conference ahead of Saturday’s trip to Everton.

“Probably the only disappointing one was yesterday I thought there was a really good opportunity for us but the club just didn’t feel it was the right move for us so disappointed with that,” Postecoglou explained.

“But he ended up at Ferrari so we just have to cop it… look at you all! You were ready to type away.

“I was going to pause just to let his (press officer’s) phone blow up, but it was a good one, mate, a good one.

“You had a flat day so I’m trying to spark you.”

When Postecoglou did reflect on Spurs’ business over the past month, he deemed it a job well done, especially with Dragusin and Werner signing early enough to feature in matches with Manchester United, Manchester City and Brentford.

Tottenham also sent young prospects Ash Phillips and Alfie Devine to Plymouth, while Alejo Veliz completed a loan switch to Sevilla on deadline day.

Postecoglou added: “From our perspective we had some clear objectives. One was we had a real gap at centre-back, especially after letting Davinson Sanchez go, and getting Radu in early was great and getting Timo in early was also excellent for us.

“With the absences from injury we’ve had and particularly having (Son Heung-min) away (with South Korea at the Asian Cup), the beauty of getting them in early is they’ve already made a contribution.

“If you leave it until the last day it still takes guys time to settle, but they’ve both settled in really well.

“Even in terms of outgoings, we got some good loans. Alejo was developing well with us but great for him to get some game-time in a good league at a good club. Ashley Phillips, Alfie Devine too.”

Spurs were able to move towards one important deal on Thursday after they convinced Swedish teenager Lucas Bergvall to join the club over Barcelona, the PA news agency understands.

Bergvall had been set to sign for Barca, but the 18-year-old has now agreed to put pen to paper on a long-term deal at Tottenham with the transfer set to be finalised in the coming days.

Postecoglou would not be drawn on the midfielder, although did admit Spurs’ academy is an area where they must improve.

“I think we’ve got a lot of work to do in our academy and (academy director) Simon Davies is certainly one that is putting a lot of emphasis and priority there,” he said.

“I don’t think we have the production line other top clubs have, certainly not. Even currently that’s why we’re investing in some younger players, even for the first team. For us as a football club that’s definitely the way forward.”

Marco Silva was disappointed Fulham failed to turn their dominance into goals in Tuesday night’s 0-0 Premier League draw against Everton and called for his players to be more clinical.

Raul Jimenez, who was substituted at the break, missed a golden opportunity in the first half before Rodrigo Muniz failed to impact the game.

Fulham failed to move 10 points clear of the relegation-threatened Toffees in the table, adding to the woes of last week’s Carabao Cup and FA Cup exits.

“With the result, I am disappointed,” Silva said. “Both teams had chances to score and it was clear we were the most dominant on the pitch.

“We created many chances to score, we had good moments but we missed putting the ball in the net.

“It is not a good thing (Fulham missing chances). The decision making has to be better in the final third of the attack. We need to be more assertive, more calm in some decisions because we arrived in so many dangerous areas.

“We need to be more ruthless and clinical in moments.”

Jimenez netted four goals in December but looked a shadow of himself against Everton.

The west Londoners have been linked to Chelsea’s Armando Broja in the last few days of the transfer window but Silva played down any chances for a deal before Thursday’s deadline.

“To be honest with you, I am not expecting many things towards the end of the market,” Silva added. “If it was possible to do something we should of done it at the beginning of the window because we had a semi-final to play and the FA Cup.

“The board are trying to do their best but if you ask me if we are going to do many things at the end of the market, then no.

“I will not talk about players that are not our players and rumours.”

Toffees goalkeeper Jordan Pickford had a standout performance which included a magnificent fingertip save to deny Tosin Adarabioyo’s close-range header in the second half.

Everton manager Sean Dyche talked up the England number one.

He said: “I thought he had a good performance. He is England’s number one and we have a high expectation of him.

“His decision making was good tonight and as a team we worked very hard in front of him, we had a collective mentality. He played his part tonight without a shadow of a doubt.”

Fulham’s scoring woes continued as their missed opportunities saw them held to a goalless Premier League draw with Everton at Craven Cottage.

After last week’s exit from both the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup, the west Londoners failed to bounce back with a win over an Everton side, who now sit in the bottom three following Luton’s 4-0 victory over Brighton.

Raul Jimenez, who scored four goals in December, could not replicate last month’s success before Rodrigo Muniz was largely anonymous when called upon in the second half.

Fulham started with purpose. After Andreas Pereira’s earlier strike sailed over the crossbar, Antonee Robinson forced Jordan Pickford into action when he cut onto his weaker right foot and won a corner for the hosts with a driven effort from range.

After last week’s poor showing in front of goal during both cup defeats, the Cottagers’ lack of cutting edge seemed to continue when Jimenez’s shot managed to go out for a throw-in instead of hitting the target.

And they almost rued their missed opportunities when Everton failed to convert the chance of the match in the 24th minute.

Fulham goalkeeper Bernd Leno parried Ashley Young’s curling free-kick into the path of James Tarkowski, who looked set to tap the Toffees ahead.

Towering defender Issa Diop had other ideas, positioning himself perfectly and nodding Tarkowski’s rebounded effort onto the crossbar before a herd of white shirts swarmed the six-yard area and kept the scores level.

Pereira continued to bombard the Everton goal with pot shots but it was Jimenez who would be the most frustrated after another glaring miss.

Pickford’s save from a Timothy Castagne shot gave the Mexico international a golden opportunity to score into an open net but he opened his body up too much and missed the target from close range.

Jimenez’s first-half display saw him substituted at the break and it was Everton’s striker who looked the most dangerous when Dominic Calvert-Lewin rose highest from a corner and clipped the crossbar, nearly edging the visitors ahead.

On the hour mark, Castagne won a flick-on from a set-piece and was also denied by the woodwork as both sides’ frustrations began to grow.

The momentum continued in the hosts’ favour but a remarkable save from England number one Pickford kept it even.

Willian – who had been a shadow of his usual self – jinked past his man and delivered a well-weighted cross to Tosin Adarabioyo, whose header looked destined for the top corner but was denied by Pickford’s acrobatic fingertip stop.

Everton’s appeal against a 10-point penalty imposed for breaches of Premier League financial rules is being heard this week, the PA news agency understands.

The club were sanctioned by an independent commission in November after being found to have exceeded permitted losses under the league’s profitability and sustainability rules (PSR) in the three seasons up to 2021-22, but immediately indicated they would appeal.

It is understood the appeal hearing before an independent commission will run until the end of the week, with the expectation that the outcome of the appeal is known before the end of February.

The outcome of the appeal could also have a direct impact on a second PSR complaint the club are facing which was laid on January 15. That complaint covers an assessment period that ends with the 2022-23 season.

Under a new expedited process to deal with PSR breaches which was agreed by top-flight clubs last summer, an independent commission hearing into the second PSR complaint must conclude no later than 12 weeks after the complaint was laid, which would be early April.

Everton described the initial 10-point penalty as “wholly disproportionate”.

The independent commission’s written reasons stated the club’s overspend “was the result of Everton irresponsibly taking a chance that things would turn out positively”. The PSR breach was described as “serious” and warranting “a significant penalty”.

Nottingham Forest were also referred to an independent commission over a PSR breach on January 15.

What the papers say

Conor Gallagher could make a move across London as the end of the January transfer window looms. According to The Times, Tottenham are weighing up a potential bid for Chelsea’s England midfielder, 23.

Manchester United winger Facundo Pellistri, 22, could be heading for a spell away from Old Trafford. Spanish club Granada have revived plans for a loan move for the Uruguay international, reports the Manchester Evening News.

West Ham have turned their attention to Portuguese winger Jota, 24, from Al-Ittihad, according to the Evening Standard. Hammers talks with FC Nordsjaelland over Ghanaian forward Ibrahim Osman, 19, have stalled.

Leeds have made an offer to Everton for Ben Godfrey, reports The Sun. The Championship club are looking to take the England international defender, 26, on loan.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Jacob Ramsey: Newcastle, Tottenham and Bayern Munich are interested in the 22-year-old midfielder, with Aston Villa considering a sale to comply with financial regulations, reports The Athletic.

Chuba Akpom: Everton and Luton are keen on signing the English forward, 28, on loan from Ajax, says Teamtalk.

Everton manager Sean Dyche’s frustration from losing an uninspiring FA Cup fourth-round tie 2-1 at home to Luton was directed at the lack of VAR intervention for the crucial first goal.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin fell to the floor as his loss of balance was aided by a push in the back from former Toffees midfielder Ross Barkley and, in the space behind him at the near post, defender Vitalii Mykolenko diverted Alfie Doughty’s corner past his own goalkeeper.

VAR ruled there was not enough in Barkley’s intervention to overturn the goal but Dyche was not happy.

“I don’t think I was any more frustrated than I normally am. I was more frustrated with the first goal and two hands in Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s back,” he said.

“You can say he’s gone down light, which he probably did, but I’ve seen penalties given for treading on someone’s toe.”

Jack Harrison equalised in the second half after goalkeeper Tim Krul allowed his low shot to escape his grasp but deep into added time Cauley Woodrow fired home in a goalmouth scramble following another corner.

“The game was a scrappy, awkward, ugly affair. They got the best side of it with two set-pieces – it felt like that type of game,” added Dyche.

“When we scored to get equal we had 15 minutes when we looked the side more likely but we conceded a soft corner at the end and conceded a goal from a bit of a ricochet.

“Fair play to them, they found their way through it and got the win.”

Luton boss Rob Edwards admitted not having a replay played a big part in their joyous reaction at the final whistle.

“It was a big reason for the celebrations at the end,” he said.

“It is a competition we value and want to go as far as possible. I’m so pleased for the lads.

“It will give us belief and confidence, you can see there is belief in this group of players. We are getting better.”

Woodrow played on with a suspected broken hand after Everton centre-back James Tarkowski fell on him but his resilience was rewarded with a first goal since August.

“I felt it crack, so I was in a bit of shock for a while,” the forward told BBC Sport.

“I’m really pleased with myself because I have been waiting a long time for a goal.”

Substitute Cauley Woodrow scored the winner deep into added time as Luton reached the fifth round of the FA Cup for only the second time in 11 years with a 2-1 victory over Everton.

The additional five minutes indicated had already passed when a goalmouth scramble at a corner saw Woodrow convert from close range after Arnaut Danjuma’s clearance had rebounded off him.

It spared the blushes of Hatters goalkeeper Tim Krul, whose error looked like allowing the hosts to escape with a replay in a tie distinctly lacking in magic for the majority.

The Netherlands international let Jack Harrison’s long-range shot squirm from his grasp and trickle over the line to cancel out Vitalii Mykolenko’s contentious first-half own goal.

Everton’s back-up goalkeeper Joao Virginia, man of the match in their third-round replay victory over Crystal Palace 10 days ago, had kept them in the game with two crucial saves while Nathan Patterson also cleared a shot off the line.

Perhaps expectations should have been lowered for a tie between the Premier League’s 17th and 18th-placed teams, both of whom have their focus on avoiding relegation, but Everton failed to make home advantage count with an uninspiring performance.

Everton started Beto in place of the injured Andre Gomes, their match-winner against Palace, for only his sixth start of the season in a switch to 4-4-2.

While the big front man was full of enthusiasm, any hope he could quickly dovetail with Dominic Calvert-Lewin was soon dispelled as the pair barely linked up with each other and frequently found themselves in the same area challenging for the same ball.

In the one time they did manage to pick each other out, Beto placed a low shot wide from the edge of the penalty area when Calvert-Lewin should probably have slipped in Harrison.

Luton were better, but not hugely, with Elijah Adebayo heading wide Carlton Morris’ hanging cross and former Toffees midfielder Ross Barkley’s shot was headed away by James Tarkowski.

When they eventually took the lead five minutes before half-time it was not without a whiff of controversy because Calvert-Lewin overcommitted trying to attack Alfie Doughty’s inswinging ball and Barkley’s helping hand ensured momentum carried him to the ground.

The ball dropped into the space behind him where Mykolenko, under pressure from Reece Burke, deflected it down inside the near post and there was no VAR ruling over Barkley’s intervention.

Everton’s equaliser came 10 minutes after the break from their one real moment of attacking quality as Beto’s cross-field pass picked out Harrison, who showed a deftness of touch he lacked for most of the game to trap and cut inside, and Krul’s weak save contributed the assist.

Either side of that Virginia displayed his growing confidence deputising for the rested Jordan Pickford, denying Morris’ header and then getting the faintest of fingertips to Adebayo’s shot across him after the Luton forward had taken advantage of Jarrad Branthwaite’s slip to create a two-on-one.

However, team-mate Andros Townsend, to his right, had good justification for wondering why he did not receive the pass but when the former Everton winger took matters into his own hands to skip past Tarkowski and Virginia, Patterson cleared Morris’ shot off the line.

Beto’s shot was deflected wide by Burke but with the seconds running out Woodrow pounced.

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