Despite sixty-four percent possession and twenty-two shots, Everton all but failed to find the back of the net against a resilient Crystal Palace at Selhurt Park.
Making the decision to field the same eleven players that ravaged Manchester United four goals to nil just a week earlier, Marco Silva may rue the decision of leaving Dominic Calvert-Lewin on the field for seventy-three minutes. There is no taking away the recent surge in the development of England u23 international, but Everton’s posession based focus did not call upon Calvert-Lewin’s ability to stretch the pitch or hold the ball up as much as prior games against top six opposition. His willingness to chase the ball has never been in doubt, and it was his running that saw him latch onto an upfield ball from Jordan Pickford in the opening moments of the game. The striker couldn’t adjust his feet to provide himself with the cleanest of strikes with the resulting effort from his weak foot not troubling Vicente Guaita in the Crystal Palace net.
In windy conditions that most managers would have kicked up a fuss about, Everton had the breeze against them in the first-half which came to the benefit of Seamus Coleman down the right flank who supplied a range of crosses into the box throughout the afternoon. The best of which landed flush on the head of Calvert-Lewin, who looped the ball well over the crossbar. The industrious work from the right-hand side wouldn’t let up, as Richarlison teed Calvert-Lewin up to crown a great counter-attacking goal but the strikers finish eluded him still. Gana Gueye would force a diving save from the goalkeeper the close out the half.
Although halftime subtitutions may have changed the outcome of the game, Silva stuck to his guns, and that very nearly paid off with Bernard striking the outside of the post as Everton continued to look for a breakthrough. Everton would go on to hit the woodwork again, but not before Cenk Tosun, who took the place of Calvert-Lewin with under a quarter of an hour to go, nearly scored a puskas award worthy backheel. After great combonation play down the right with Richarlison, Coleman would find the feet of Tosun, who with his back to goal six-yards out flicked the momentum of the ball goalwards forcing another more reactionary save from Guaita.
Ademola Lookman was disputably brought on with just six minutes remaining, and didn’t have enough time to cause havock amongst the Palace defence, although he did push the ball out to Lucas Digne, who almost added to his catalouge of stunning goals in an Everton jersey with a deep cross towards the far post that crashed against the inside of the crossbar and averted the goalline. With seven clean sheets in his last nine now, the relatively quiet afternoon for Jordan Pickford sees him keep his eleventh cleen sheet of the season,
Shots on target: 0-3