Everton 2-0 Palace
Crystal Palace’s best performance of the season yielded the same amount of points at Goodison Park as most of the other games this season – zero.
The Eagles inability to hit the back of the net continued as James Tomkins, Cheik Kouyate and Luka Milivojevic all missed guilt edged chances at 0-0. None more so than the Serbian captain who failed to find a way past Jordan Pickford from the penalty spot after Wilfried Zaha was felled in the area.
Earlier, Tomkins had headed wide at the back post and Kouyate hit the underside of the bar with a header. This was the fifth time that we have struck the frame of the goal this season. Only Manchester City have struck it more times (7).
A Lack of Substitutions
After the game, none of the talk was about how well we played, but instead about Roy Hodgson refusing to make substitutions until it was ‘too late’. Palace fans have been grumbling about the lack of changes for almost as long as Roy has been in charge, but the grumbles reached a crescendo on Sunday against the backdrop of both of Everton’s goals coming from players that started the game in the dugout.
On 66 minutes, the hosts replaced Bernard with Cenk Tosun. Any Palace fan worth their salt knew that he would score. After missing out on Tosun in two transfer windows under Sam Allardyce only for the former Palace gaffer to take him to make him a Toffee when he jumped ship, sod's law was always going to win the day. However, his goal was the second of the game and it was far from key as the shoulders adorned by the yellow ‘fade’ shirt had already slumped.
Instead, the Tosun substitution signalled a change in shape from the Silva and to the outside world, it must have seemed that most Palace fans on social media could see into the future. Countless people in the stadium and on my Twitter feed were all on the same page. It went something like this: “Oh here we go, Everton change their shape and Roy won’t react until we are 2-0 down.”
On 82 minutes, Silva then supplemented the addition of Tosun with Lookman and Calvert-Lewin, both young, both hungry and both full of pace, and still, Roy didn’t react. Seven minutes later, it was 2-0 and Roy finally turned to the bench and signalled for Connor Wickham to strip.
Of course, it could be argued that Roy turns to the bench and doesn’t see anyone he can rely on. Ayew has been distinctly average, Kaikai has minimal Premier League minutes, Puncheon has hardly kicked a ball this year and Riedewald simply appears to be the forgotten man in South London. That being said, I cannot see how any of them could have been any worse than Jeffrey Schlupp, who spent most of his time walking around instead of tracking his man.
On this occasion, an injection of fresh legs would have arguably seen us over the line and earn a point that should arguably have been three points.
Did the penalty miss completely kill us? With a lead to defend, would Roy have made changes to try and see us over the line? He didn’t at Huddersfield or Fulham.
From the moment that Tosun entered the field of play, Everton had 8 shots to Palace’s 0. Prior to that sub, Everton had 12 shots to Palace’s 7. There can be no argument that the change of shape changed the game in the favour of the hosts and we did nothing to negate it. This is worrying.
“Tackling” our own players
James McArthur added to his tally of Palace players taken out this season by flattening Tomkins. He has already cleaned PvA out at Bournemouth. The Scot was not the only guilty party. Schlupp and Townsend kept getting in the way of our players by making mindless runs into the space of the runner. We obviously want to play close together in the final third in fast-moving triangles, but as I have already said on several occasions this season, it doesn’t work when Ruben Loftus-Cheek has become Schlupp.
I seem to be saying Schlupp a lot. I don’t want to pick on players, but he makes it so easy by having “shit for brains” as one of my friends summed him up. A couple of weeks ago, I had Leicester fans on Twitter telling me the same thing and that they were delighted that they got £12m for him when he moved to Palace.
Wilfried Zaha – Fouled Six Times
Well, the referee blew his whistle six times. I lost count of the times that he waved play on after Wilf, you know that Palace player that always goes down too easily, held of Everton players that were nibbling at his ankles – or just kicking them like Troy Deeney kicked that bloke in the nightclub with zero comeuppance in the case of Bernard. "Say what you want about Zaha, he gets fouled a lot," said Rodney Marsh during the game.
Yet, the only booking that came against Zaha was when Gueye pulled him back on the halfway line. So, another win for rotational fouling as the referee refused to clamp down on it.
We then get Everton fans booing his every touch after Wilf went down in the penalty area because he was fouled. Stupidity is rife in Liverpool it would seem.
I can’t finish the report without mentioning Cheik. I thought he was a beast in the middle of the park and interrupted Everton all afternoon with clean tackles and interceptions that then allowed him to launch counter-attacks. He is a must in the starting eleven.
Man of the Match: Aaron Wan-Bissaka
I mean is there any point in evening mentioning that he was MOTM anymore? He was essentially faultless as he nullified the attempts of Digne to get forward whilst still attacking himself.
Up Next: Arsenal
After watching them against Leicester on Monday night, I cannot say that I am confident.
Come on you Palace!