Carlo Ancelotti once again made changes, with Holgate, Delph, Iwobi and Sidibe all dropping out of the side that claimed a 3-2 away win at Watford.
They were replaced by Keane, Schneiderlin, Coleman and Bernard respectively. The game began with the Toffee’s testing Palace keeper, Vincente Guaita immediately. Lucas Digne fired a free kick from distance, but Guaita was equal to the effort. Just minutes later, it was the Eagles going within inches of finding an opener.
Left-back, Patrick Van Aanholt saw his deflected effort cannon back off the goal post.
The let off seemed to awaken Everton and within minutes, they were ahead. Theo Walcott picked up possession on the right wing and produced a moment of magic to find Bernard at the back post. The Brazilian calmly volleyed home to fire the Blues in front.
Unfortunately, this would be Walcott’s last involvement in the game as a knee injury forced Ancelotti into an early substitution. Djibril Sidibe, after locating his right sock, replaced the winger.
From there, the game became incredibly scrappy with neither side able to establish any control in the game. Dominic Calvert-Lewin came within inches of connecting with a diving header that would’ve surely resulted in doubling Everton’s advantage.
Crystal Palace’s offered very little in an attacking sense during the first half, with just a half-hearted penalty appeal their only moment of threat in the first 45 minutes. The half-time whistle with the Blues ahead 1-0 despite a relatively poor first half performance.
The second half began with disaster for Everton. Just 6 minutes into the half, Palace were level. Wilfried Zaha played a superb through ball to Christian Benteke.
The Belgian surged forward and hit a low shot towards goal. The shot appeared to warrant a relatively comfortable Jordan Pickford save, however England’s number 1 allowed the ball to slip through his grasp and the Everton lead to slip away.
Following this, Crystal Palace appeared revitalised and almost completed a dramatic turnaround just moments later. A Van Aanholt corner was missed at the near post by Richarlison and fell to Christian Benteke. The ball bounced off the goalscorer’s chest and struck the crossbar, leading to a collective sigh of relief around Goodison Park.
This miss proved costly just moments later, as Everton struck once again. A seemingly hopeful Morgan Schneiderlin long ball was flicked on by Calvert-Lewin and found it’s way to Richarlison. The young Brazilian, who only cost 50 million, surged forward directly towards the Palace goal. Richarlison left Gary Cahill for dead with blazing acceleration and produced a superb finish to fire the Toffee’s ahead once more.
However, the Everton lead should’ve only lasted two minutes as Christian Benteke squandered a tremendous opportunity to level for the second time in the game. James McCarthur’s pull-back found it’s way the Crystal Palace striker just 6 yards out from goal. However, his header was matched by a truly stunning Jordan Pickford save, instantaneously redeeming his earlier mistake.
The scare appeared to jolt the Everton side into action as Gylfi Sigurdsson almost produced one of the goals of the season for Everton. The Icelandic midfielder picked the ball up on the edge of the penalty area and danced his way past 4 Crystal Palace defenders and chipped a brilliant effort towards goal. Nevertheless, Vincente Guaita was equal to it and fended the ball to safety.
The game was then mainly played in the midfield areas, with Morgan Schneiderlin producing one of his best performances of the season. Everton appeared to be in control of the game and performed better as the clock ticked by. This control was rewarded with Everton’s third goal of the game on 88 minutes.
A superb Lucas Digne corner found the head of Richarlison who directed his header goal wards. However, the ball cannoned off the bar and fell at Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s feet. The number 9 really couldn’t miss and calmly side-footed the ball home to send the Everton crowd into jubilation. The young striker should have doubled his tally just moments later upon once again being in the right place at the right time following a Richarlison effort. However, the less said about his finish, the better.
The final whistle blew with Everton the deserved winners. The Blues have now climbed to 7th in the table under the expert leadership of Carlo Ancelotti.
Man of the Match
Despite a very inconsistent season, Morgan Schneiderlin is the derived recipient of the man of the match award today. The Frenchman was in fine form, as he displayed a truly incredible range of passing and determined tackling to ensure Everton had superiority in the midfield areas. Evertonians will hope this is the beginning of an improved vain of form for the midfielder as he has experienced a very tough campaign up until now. However, against Crystal Palace, Morgan Schneiderlin shone and secured himself the man of the match award.