Post by Matthew Barry on Sept 27, 2020 5:19:01 GMT
Crystal Palace (a) Never too much
2pm & we’re unchanged for a third league game in a row. Genuinely can’t remember the last time that was the case. Notable absentees on the bench again, likely with Wednesday in mind.
Early stages of the game saw Palace giving lots of the ball to the debuting Eze & they had a bank of 6 defending with the remaining 4 waiting to hit Everton. Much like the Spurs game, Everton had the majority of possession and moved it from back to front a lot better than the West Brom game. The back line playing deeper than last week, Allan patrolling in front of them more compact which allowed Doucoure to be what it says on the tin, box to box. One lung bursting run saw him track Zaha from inside the Palace half to the edge of our box & take the ball off his toes. Wonderful to see!!
The forgotten man of the midfield 3 started the move that gave us the opening goal, a slick cross field right to left pass from Gomes was lifted over McCarthy & McArthur & reached Coleman in line with the edge of the Palace area, his pass inside reached James, who player a reverse pass into the box for Coleman to run onto & after a slight ricochet he squared to DCL who’s first time effort was diverted in by Guiata. 0-1. Top of the league!!
Uncharacteristically after scoring, Everton did not retain possession as-well as the previous 4 games of this season allowing Palace to find Eze & Ayew out wide. Allan was filling the spaces between fullback & centre back where Zaha tortured Man Utd last week, & in the main he was anonymous all game, anonymous to the fact of this was the first game in 4 years that he had not had 1 successful dribble past an opponent. Huge credit to the game plan for that. Palace did equalise via a corner that on review, between Keane & Richarlison could perhaps have been dealt with, but credit to Kouyate for climbing over Keane & heading the ball back to where it came from and passed a stretched Pickford. 1-1
For the 2nd league game in a row Everton had been pegged back, as against West Brom there was no panic, the game plan was stuck to & that’s what led to what would be a ‘controversial’ winning goal.
The immaculate James launched a ball from just inside the Palace half to Digne who’d made a run from deep into the box. His knockdown header hit the lower arm of Joel Ward & initially the ref waived play on. UNBELIEVABLY, for once VAR went in our favour. Just like Palace had one last week, & Man Utd in the early kickoff, if the ball hits the lower arm it’s a penalty. No Sigurdsson, who was taking it? Richarlison placed the ball down & his penalty was placed into the corner after one of those run-ups that looks awful if you miss!! 1-2.
Just before half-time James had a freekick on the D that was clipped towards the corner of the goal instead of powered, it was a blessed relief that the foul for this effort on goal was the only time McArthur got near James all game. HT 1-2.
No changes at halftime & the onus was on Palace to come out & attack Everton. They never really troubled Pickford during the game apart from their goal & the game plan was not allowing Zaha to break free. In some instances Palace were more afraid of being countered by Everton & waited til late on to introduce Batschuyi to try and match 4-3-3, & then went to 4-2-4 when Benteke was brought on for 10 minutes of long ball aerial bombardment. Mina & Keane dealt with it, Pickford claiming what he needed to claim.
Chances to make it 1-3 saw DCL divert a corner wide from the bottom of his studs & Sakho block a shot he didn’t know much about. Without being too comfortable, we were comfortable. If Palace made it 2-2, Everton as they are at the moment would have made it 2-3, there are gears to this team that haven’t been found yet.
For Everton, Gomes who was excellent was replaced by Sigurdsson, who kept the passing ticking along. James replaced by Iwobi, thankfully unscathed. Iwobi for his cameo was terrible, he got put Coleman in trouble at least 3 times in the first 5 minutes he was on. He’s a much better starter than sub! Tom Davies very late on for the match winner, & he did his job by breaking up play & generally running around. FT 1-2.
3/3 in the league, 2 away wins. 5/5 overall. There can never be too much winning, confidence & momentum. We have options on the pitch & off the bench, a rotation policy & players that were starting games last season, not in the match day squad. It’s all so very different.