A stalemate at Selhurst Park sees Everton drop into the relegation zone following match week 32 in the Premier League.
Everton were on the road for the 32nd match of the season against Crystal Palace, coming into the weekend just out of the relegation zone above Nottingham Forrest on goal difference. After several very long months, Calvert-Lewin made his first start since the 1-0 win against Arsenal at the beginning of February. Attempting to find a fix on the defensive flanks, Dyche turned to Mason Holgate, who last appeared in a full second half cameo in Everton’s 4-0 defeat on the road against Arsenal in March. Onana missed out due to the groin injury, Doucoure served his 3rd and final match of his 3 match ban, and Seamus Coleman was still unfit to make the eleven as he recovers from a hamstring problem.
Palace were well and truly on top of the match early, exploiting Mykolenko and Holgate on the wings through a combination of Jordan Ayew, Michael Olise and Eberchi Eze. It was 3o minutes of near constant Palace pressure before the toffees got their first chance of the match, as Alex Iwobi got on a rebound from a poor Dwight McNeil set piece. The Nigerian hit a great strike towards the bottom corner but his effort was met well and turned away by Johnstone in the Palace goal. Continuing to find joy down the flanks, Ayew would get the better of Mason Holgate who would pull the winger down outside the box in the 37th minute and earn a yellow card for his trouble. Ayew’s 9th minute header that blazed over the bar from an Olise free kick proved to be the best chance of the half, as the sides went into the locker rooms at 0-0 with Palace well on top for large portions of the match.
The sides came out a bit flat after halftime, with the first real moment of note coming in the 57th minute. Palace utilized a long ball to Eze over the top that was getting the beat of the Everton backline all match long. Guuehi delivered a great pass that Eze collected and lobbed over Pickford in goal, but he had just made his run early giving Everton a massive let off only 12 minutes into the second half. It was nearly Everton who took the lead only 5 minutes later, with what was arguably the toffees best chance of the match. Pickford played an inch perfect long ball that was brought down by Iwobi, the midfielder did well to take his touch and find DCL between the defenders. Calvert-Lewin took his touch, spun and fired but his effort just blazed wide of the bottom left hand corner in a big moment.
Just as it seemed Everton could perhaps knick 3 points by staying in the match, Mason Holgate was shown his second yellow in the 80th minute and dismissed after getting summarily burned by Jordan Ayew for the umpteenth time in the match. The red forced Dyche to go defensive, bringing on Ben Godfrey to fill in at right back and bringing off Demari Gray. Neal Maupay would come on for Calvert-Lewin late, and Everton were just able to fend off the waves of Palace pressure and hang on for a 0-0 draw at Selhurst Park.
It was not a glorious day for Everton, nor was it for Crystal Palace. Despite being outclassed on the wings throughout the toffees did do well to limit the home side to very little in the sense of clear cut chances after Hodgson’s men had scored 9 in their last 3 matches. The attack was poor in the match as Everton struggled to build in the attack with Mykolenko and Holgate unable to advance the ball forward at a high level on the wings. McNeil created one or two moments but was uncharacteristically poor in his set piece delivery. A few positives from the match include James Garner, who looked a bit more in control and composed in the midfield, and Calvert-Lewin getting a full 90 minutes under his belt for the first time in a long time.
Despite losses from Leeds and Forrest, the Leicester win means Everton drop to 18th on goal difference and in the relegation zone ahead of a huge matchup under the Goodison lights on Thursday night against Newcastle United. It is another must win game in a tumultuous period that has drawn the phrase “must win” almost every single match week. Dyche’s men will have to be up for the moment, and more importantly will need to find a way to get the ball into the back of the net on Thursday night.