Crystal Palace 3-1 Everton
by Gene Sylvester at Selhurst Park
The final Premier League match of the weekend saw Everton travel to Selhurst Park to take on Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace side who ran out victors with a deserved 3-1 win to put their season back on track and leapfrog them above Everton in the table.
Crystal Palace had started the brighter of the two teams with Jordan Ayew, Odsonne Edouard and Conor Gallagher seeing plenty of the ball in Everton’s half.
And it was Ayew who had the first serious shot of the match 6 minutes in following a good interchange of play between himself and Edouard. The French striker’s cute ball around the corner sent Ayew through on goal, but the tight angle meant that the Palace forward’s shot was straight at Jordan Pickford in the Everton goal.
Everton mustered a couple of first half chances that had fell to Demarai Gray but his two attempts at goal were from long range and straight at Vicente Guaita in the Palace goal.
The breakthrough for Palace came in the 40th minute when a move started by some skilful play from Zaha in the middle of the park, ended up with the ball at the feet of the impressive Ayew. The winger fired in a cross that was half cleared by the Everton defence before a loose pass from Ben Godfrey presented Ayew with a second chance at a cross.
The Ghanian forward made no mistake this time with his low cross finding Gallagher who swept home his shot first time past Pickford to give the home side a well deserved lead.
Palace’s dominance was finally rewarded in the 61st minute when a Will Hughes corner was met unmarked at the back post by James Tomkins who stabbed the ball home to give the home side some breathing space in the game.
Just prior to the home side’s second goal, Rafa Benitez replaced Richarlison with Salomon Rondon, much to the displeasure of the travelling fans and the Brazilian himself, who made his disappointment at the decision very clear on his way over to the dugout.
“Richarlison was suffering with a calf injury and we had discussed taking him off at half-time, but he wanted to stay on. We could see that he was struggling in the second half and so we took him off to protect him as we are still also without (Dominic) Calvert-Lewin,” explained Benitez following his side’s defeat.
“But I cannot explain every single decision to the fans,” continued the Everton boss when responding to questions about the fan’s reaction to the substitution.
But it was Richarlison’s replacement who provided Everton with a lifeline in the match.
Seamus Coleman played a ball into the feet of the Columbian within the Palace …….