Everton vs Crystal Palace
Frank Lampard & Everton needed just all three points against Crystal Palace to secure their Premier League safety after a wayward 2021/2022 campaign. They would not want to test themselves against Arsenal, who are scrambling for a top-four finish. Secure everything today was the mantra coming into today’s game. Patrick Viera’s young & engaging side did not have much to play for even though he insisted his team wanted to finish in the top half of the table.
Everton lined up in a 3-4-3/5-4-1 shape while Palace went with their usual 4-3-3. The first real chance of the game fell to Richarlison on 15. He was a constant nuisance for the opponent, but his shot bounced off Jack Butland’s crossbar. Moments later, Palace took the lead. Jean-Philippe Mateta lost Abdoulaye Doucoure and Vitalii Mykolenko before scoring his seventh goal this season. Everton 0-1 Crystal Palace.
Wilfried Zaha & Eberechi Eze were giving Everton a hard time with their dribbling & skills. Anthony Gordon survived two reckless tackles that brought out Anthony Taylor’s cards. Fans at Goodison Park felt Jordan Ayew deserved a red card for his jarring tackle. It was only right that Ayew doubled Palace’s lead moments later following a hilarious mess at the back.
Seamus Coleman was caught out in build-up by Mateta. The Frenchman raced down the left flank before crossing but Jordan Pickford clawed it out before Zaha zipped it back in. Pickford saved again, but it fell to Ayew’s chest before rolling into the back of the net as Everton struggled to clear. Everton 0-2 Crystal Palace.
Some half chances here and there, but nothing broke Everton’s way by half-time.
Lampard introduced Dele Alli and switched to a 4-3-3. Abdoulaye Doucouré anchored the midfield with Dele and Alex Iwobi on either side. They held the ball better even though the eagles looked dangerous on the counter. On 54, Everton pulled one back. Mykolenko hung a freekick from inside Palace’s half, and Mason Holgate headed it down for Michael Keane to stab home with his left foot. Everton 1-2 Crystal Palace.
Richarlison then failed to make decisive contact with the ball after good work from Dominic Calvert Lewin. Demarai Gray replaced the battered Gordon to add more oomph before Mateta reminded Pickford of how dangerous he is with a great hit. The England international parried away. Things got intense. Keane went into the book for halting Eze on the counter before Zaha followed him after a foul on Dele.
On 75, Everton equalized, and Merseyside went wild. Coleman’s overhit cross was collected by Dele, and his tame effort came out to Richarlison. The Brazilian’s shot took a deflection off substitute Conor Gallagher before looping into the net. Everton 2-2 Crystal Palace.
Doucoure was next in the book as he took one for the team to stop Eze on the counter. Christian Benteke replaced the very elusive Mateta. On 84, Everton secured their Premier League safety. Coleman won a freekick, and Gray whipped in a dangerous set-piece that DCL turned in with a header. Everton 3-2 Crystal Palace. The Everton fans burst onto the pitch. Viera threatened to walk away with his players, but the fans left the pitch. Seven minutes of added time, but Pickford and the Everton defense punched, cleared, and blocked everything Palace threw at them in the dying embers of the game.
“Super Frank” sang the fans as the legendary Chelsea midfielder kept Everton in the top-flight with a game to spare. “We didn’t respect the game like we did in the first half,” said Palace manager Vieira. “It is about managing the game at 2-0, and we gave them hope. Their goals, the first, second and third, woke up the crowd. We knew about the crowd, but we helped wake them up. We gave them the tools to believe.”