Crystal Palace took on Everton at a rain-swept Selhurst Park today with the need to get points becoming more and more desperate.
|Milivojevic 32′, Sakho 61′||Yellow Cards||Niasse 36′, Keane 44′, Davies 63′|
|McArthur 2′, Zaha 35′||Goal Scorers||Banes (Penalty) 6′, Niasse 45+1′|
The Expat Eagle’s Verdict
This season is rapidly becoming tedious. Once again we played well, created a lot of chances but ultimately were the creators of our own downfall.
Palace scored a goal after 51 seconds, which must be the fastest goal I’ve seen them net since I saw my first game in January 1981.
I am racking my brains trying to think of when I’ve witnessed a faster one either in person or watching live on TV.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek received the ball on the right-hand side of the Everton box, cut onto his left foot and shot at goal which Jordan Pickford only managed to parry towards the other side of the box where James McArthur side-footed the ball home.
Just six minutes later Omar Niasse received the ball on the left-hand side of our penalty box and poked it past Scott Dann then went to run past the Palace defender but dived to the floor. Multiple replays showed Dann didn’t make contact but it made no difference, Everton had a penalty which Baines put away.
Palace regrouped and we were far the better of the two teams. Ten minutes before half-time Joel Ward put a ball into the box that went into the space between the last defender and the goalkeeper. In their indecision the ball made it’s way to the far post were Zaha put the ball into the net.
It was no less than Palace deserved but soon they were about to shoot themselves in the foot again!
Julian Speroni was being closed down by Niasse with the seconds counting down to the end of the half. Instead of putting his laces through the ball he passed it out to Scott Dann who received the ball and turned with it.
Dann was caught in possession by Sigurdsson who played a quick ball to Niasse who was unmarked and side-footed the ball past Speroni.
Speroni should have punted the ball upfield but at the same time so should Dann. It would be easy to blame one or the other but in truth, they both could have done better.
If Palace were the better team in the first half their dominance was even prevalent in the second half.
As time went on Roy Hodgson decided the time was right to introduce Christian Benteke, back from injury. A few minutes later Benteke was through on goal 1-on-1 but sliced the ball 8 yards wide of goal. It was a horrible miss for someone whose job is to score goals.
In truth, Palace looked a lot better as a team without Benteke but at the same time, it was obvious they needed someone in the box who could win headers. It is somewhat ironic that once Benteke was introduced balls seemed not to be crossed into the box anymore.
At the final whistle, I definitely felt Palace dropped 2 points rather than picking 1 up.
It remains to be seen if Benteke will slot nicely into the system Palace have been playing over the last few games or if they will need to adapt how they play to accommodate him.
I always say, your best team does not always mean playing your best players. We might be stronger without him and I feel Palace definitely need to buy a different type of striker in January.
Verdict: Another good performance but another game where we dropped points. Plenty of positives but also plenty of negatives too.
|Crystal Palace (442)||6.71||Everton (4231)||6.90|
Match rating courtesy of WhoScored.
|Ball Possession %
Match statistics courtesy of WhoScored.