Everton 2-3 Palace
Crystal Palace won 3-2 at Goodison Park for the second season running thanks to goals from Mile Jedinak, Fraizer Campbell and Yannick Bolasie. Romalu Lukaku had opened the scoring for the Toffees and many assumed that the floodgates would open as the Eagles did not look to be at the races. The response to falling behind from Neil Warnock’s side was incredible.
James McArthur was inexplicably fouled by Tim Howard in the penalty area to concede a penalty on the 30 minute mark. Jedinak casually curled the ball into the top right hand corner of the goal from 12 yards and all of a sudden belief flooded through the men wearing yellow. A deflected Bolasie shot hit the underside of the crossbar and Campbell somehow failed to find the goal on the follow up just before the break. The second half performance, however, was near faultless.
"Tim Howard must shoulder much of the blame."
As good as Palace were, Everton did aid their own downfall and Tim Howard must shoulder much of the blame. Having already given away the penalty he was again at fault for the Campbell goal. The ball was looped into the six yard box and it looked like a routine take for the American stopper. Instead he completely mistimed his jump and Campbell opened his Palace account with a backwards header. With only 54 minutes on the clock it was clear that sitting back was not an option and the away side continued to pour forward on the counter and eventually the crucial third goal arrived.
The superb Jason Puncheon capitalised on poor Everton play in their own half and drove towards the edge of the box. Bolasie was free on the left hand side and Puncheon delayed his pass perfectly giving the defender no chance to recover as he slotted Bolasie through. The winger made no mistakes, scoring his first Premier League goal with an inch perfect shot across Howard and into the bottom right hand corner.
A late Leighton Baines penalty and 6 minutes of stoppage time later and Palace were leaving Goodison Park with three points for the fourth time in their last six visits.
"It were a fabulous game weren't it?" You're not wrong, Mr Warnock.
For every bit as good as we were from the moment we scored the penalty, we were equally as shocking before McArthur was fouled. We were so bad it led to me turning to Neil, James and Lee in the stand and saying "We're going down aren't we?" This moment of negativity seems laughable now as I sit on the train writing this with three points in the bag but at the time the feeling was very real.
If we play like we did in the opening half an hour again we will be too far behind to stage any sort of comeback more often than not. If Everton were fully on their game they would have been out of sight before we had even ventured into their half of the field.
There; doom merchant section completed.
We have now scored 7 goals in our first 3 away league games of the season (or 10 in 4 if you include the League Cup win at Walsall). To put this into perspective only Chelsea have scored more away from home this season. Extend this into last season and we have 16 goals in our last 7 games away from Selhurst Park in the league, making my away season ticket seem like extremely good value!
The way we set up is tailor made for away games. Sitting deep and hitting on the counter attack with pace through the wings. For Everton this is a recipe for disaster and for the second time in the last five months, they failed to show us sufficient respect and were punished as a result.
"We know what Crystal Palace can do" said Roberto Martinez in his post-match chat with the BBC but the way his team set out said otherwise. To continually allow the full backs to press on, allowing Bolasie and Puncheon time and space was suicidal, just as it was last season when Martinez’s men did exactly the same thing.
At 1-2 Martinez decided to replace Stones (who was struggling with Bolasie) with Mirallas and he moved McCarthy to right back. Within moments it was clear that McCarthy was even less equipped to deal with the threat that Bolasie possesses and it took a mere five minutes for Everton to suffer as the former Bristol City “flop” was free at the back post to score. Then for the remainder of the game Bolasie effectively bullied the makeshift full back every time they ended up one on one against each other.
"We controlled the entire game" was another gem from Martinez post match. Just because you had 76% possession, this does not translate to controlling the game. For the opening 30 minutes, yes. After that, you merely played into our hands. We allowed you to have the ball and waited for you to make a mistake (of which there were many) and then we could pounce. Our game plan was to exploit your roaming full backs with our out and out wingers on the break. It worked just like it did back in April and lead to three goals, just like it did back in April. So, remind me Roberto; who was controlling the game?
He deserves a paragraph this week. Well done lad. For the first time in a Palace shirt he looked like he could do a job for us. As Cameron Jerome is bagging goals left right and centre for Norwich it has been starting to seem that letting him go might have been a god awful decision. Especially considering that Campbell has looked, well, useless in his first few games.
This was a different Campbell though. He looked hungry and he put in an effective shift. I say 'effective' as the effort has been there in previous games but just felt like these efforts were wasted energy. In previous games he was constantly picking the wrong moments to hunt the ball down but everything he did in this game had more of a focus to it. In the first 30 minutes he was completely isolated but battled hard on the few occasions that the ball did come his way. Then, when things started to look up for Palace he was able to influence the game. More of the same please, Fraizer.
The Midfield Three
It took a while for Jedinak, McArthur and Joe Ledley to get up to speed in the match, but once they reached top gear they were extremely effective at breaking up Everton attacks and then moving the ball on quickly on the counter. With Chamakh to come back from injury and with Zaha added into the mix, we are starting to look very good in the midfield.
I thought that Ledley was excellent. He used the ball very wisely and his WhoScored.com stat of 3 key passes (tied for the most in the game with Leon Osman) backs this up and behind him Jedinak and McArthur combined for 9 interceptions. Listening to Everton fans after the game they were all talking about how bad they looked. The reading of the game from Jedinak and McArthur went a long way towards making them look bad.
"This was probably Jedinak’s best performance of the season."
This was probably Jedinak’s best performance of the season and I believe a lot of this is down to a return of trust in the person alongside him. When he was side by side with Dikgacoi they both understood what their respective roles in the team were. This season has seen several different people playing alongside Jedinak and this has led to Jedinak trying to over compensate and thus getting caught out of position, something that is completely out of character for the big Australian. With McArthur in alongside him for a few games now, the understanding is developing and Jedinak is getting back to doing what he does best; ruining the game for everyone as he can trust the man next to him to fulfil his duties.
I had a couple of Bristol Rovers fans with me at the game. My best friend Dan (and creator of this lovely website that you are currently using) and his cousin Jamie. This was Jamie's third ever Palace game...
Man Utd 1-2 Palace
Aston Villa 0-1 Palace
Everton 2-3 Palace
He is wondering why we haven't won the Champions League yet! I am working on getting him to every game as we speak!
Man of the Match: Yannick Bolasie
Undoubtedly this will be one of the toughest decisions of the season in this category. Jason Puncheon, James McArthur, Mile Jedinak, Joe Ledley, Joel Ward and Scott Dann are all worthy mentions. But obviously there can be only one man of the match and Bolasie steals it for me.
He was a constant menace, he relieved so much pressure by bombing deep into their half with the ball and on another day he could have easily had another goal and at least one assist to his name. He regularly embarrassed Stones and McArthur and then had end product. After his performance at Goodison Park last season, as @carl_babs said on Twitter, "Everton fans must think he's the greatest player in the league."
First ten minutes it was good but as we looked more and more awful on the field it started to tail off a little bit. This performance related atmosphere is starting to creep in a bit. I don't like it. I am so used to Palace fans singing regardless of what is going on on the pitch.
We have a reputation to uphold now. Keep singing, 0-3 or 3-0.
The only saving grace between 10 minutes in and up until the penalty was the bloke that clearly pulled in Liverpool the night before singing "Your birds are easier, they love a Londoner" over and over.
Naturally it was amazing from the moment we scored until full time, but let’s keep it that was from minute one.
I was supposed to done with doom merchant-ness....
Up Next: Newcastle (League Cup)
Bottom of the league visit Selhurst Park in a breather from the Premier League. We should have won up at St James's Park at the end of August so hopefully we will be able to right the wrongs from that day and claim a fourth round tie and have ourselves a little cup run.
Come on you Palace!
I would like to dedicate this match report to Daniel’s (HLTCO) Grandfather who sadly passed away last week. We talked in the week about Palace doing the business this weekend in his memory and they didn’t let us down. RIP fellow Palace fan.