Theo Walcott has had his training disrupted by illness this week and is a doubt for the trip to Palace
Crystal Palace0 - 0 Everton
Everton returned to London for the penultimate time this season to take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park but a swirling wind was blamed for innumerable errors that spoilt this game as a contest.
Richarlison was declared fit enough to start after rib problems from last week's impressive win over Man Utd. Morgan Schneiderlin was also in the starting line-up, filling in for Gomes, whose ban contiues.
Everton got things started, playing all in white, with a hoof upfield from Zouma that went out of play. Benteke almost got the ball over Pickford after being offside, but Palace got a free kick and a cross was driven behind.
Everton were too slow in the build-up, yet Calvert-Lewin did get loose off a huge Pickford clearance and looked to score but a hopeless effort dribbled into the arms of Guaita. Calvert-Lewin was gifted the ball again by Scott Dann, but his control was abysmal and the chance was gone.
Richarlison was the next to demonstrate horrible ball control, losing possession under the slightest pressure as he advanced. Milivojevic went in Lee Mason's little book for taking out Kurt Zouma inside 10 minutes. A Digne long throw came to nought.
Everton were beginning to control the play better, Gueye's shot deflecting behind for a corner taken by Digne, an inswinger but horribly low, wasted. Nice movement down the left won a second corner by Sigurdsson, cleared but second phase for Everton, Coleman crossing well, some great pressure, Sigurdsson unable to pull the trigger.
Richarlison got around the back but the cross was pushed behind; Digne's second corner was no better than the first. That led to a rare ball for Pickford to field, as Everton built slowly from the back again. Sigurdsson was fouled, ignored by Mason, then slips but recovers and regains the ball, Mason then blowing the other way! Astounding incompetence from one of England's 'best' refereees?
Richarlison was clipped by Dann, Sigurdsson and Digne debating the strike from a long way out, delivered in well by Sigurdsson, Kelly getting it behind. Digne delivered from the left, a little better but lacking the required power.
Palace won a soft free-kick, then a corner, that was cleared by Everton but Palace applied some rare pressure, Milivojevic lashing high and wide. Slow build-up was spoilt by giveaways from Bernard then Richarlison but Coleman eventually swung in a cross that was too difficult for Calvert-Lewin to get his head around.
Coleman gave away a dangerous free-kick down Everton's right but nothing came of it, and another phase of painfully slow build-up from the back ensued. 35 passes later, Barnard does an inadvertent Panenka to mess up the nice ball forward by Digne.
Another move down the right stalled when Richarlison slowed and then gave up the ball. A slightly faster attack followed but it ended with another soft free-kick to the home side. Coleman delivered a nice ball right onto Calvert-Lewin's noggin but his body position and technique were all wrong and it bounced harmlessly off the top of his head.
A much more lively move say Digne play in Richarlison but the Brazilian was again intimidated by defenders in front of him and weakly surrendered the ball to them without really trying. Calvert-Lewin got free on the right but could only drive at the defender. Gueye at least got his shot on target but it was too weak to beat Guaita.
Richarlison did a little better, firing in a tasty cross for Calvert-Lewin who was two feet behind the ball and another chance to score went begging. Everton tried to move the ball forward but it ended up coming back at them as the half-time break approached, Everton passing the parcel until the whistle, a frustrating half of Everton dominance with zero end-product.
The game resumed, with the wind a factor, apparently. Players don't like it, Palace came close and won a corner that was worked around and drive into the side netting by McArthur. Palace seemed to have more of the game in the first 5 mins of the second half than the entire first half.
But Everton won a corner, Sigurdsson delivering it better, Richarlison getting to redirect it not quite goalwards. Calvert-Lewin got forward down the right but his cross evaded two white shirts. Bernard dug out a shot that was deflected onto the foot of the post, the game having more tempo than periods of the first half.
Richarliosn looked to get around Van Arnholt but the defender was too quick for him, getting the ball away smartly before the Brazilian collapsed over his outstretched leg, screaming for a non-existent penalty claim. Zaha looked to break but he ran into the indomitable Idrissa Gana Gueye.
Calvert-Lewin did well to gain space but played a horrible ball in the vague direction of Coleman. The ball was worked around in two or three more phases but no end product for Everton: a goal-kick for Crystal Palace.
Palace had a good spell, penetrating the Everton area with precision, and winning a couple of corners, but Everton defended well enough, before Gueye gifted the ball in midfield, The Whites living a little dangerously. A goal seemed closer than ever, but which way would it go?
Surely a peach of a cross from Coleman would be converted... but no, it evaded those white shirts yet again. From an Everton corner perhaps? No; Sigurdsson does not beat the first defender. Pickford joined in the exhibition of poor directional control, lashing one of his famous clearances beyond Coleman and straight out of play. A long throw from Digne was even too powerful for Zouma!
The ball was moved brightly down the left but only came back, Coleman tried a shot but seemed to be impeded, and changes were then mandated from both benched. Calvert-Lewin, who had been characteristically absolutely hopeless at scoring, was replaced by Tosun, whose record is just as bad.
Palace threatened and Kouyate passed t well beyond Pickford's post. He then saw yellow after an elaborate dive and role from the poleaxed Richarlison. But Palace were now running at Everton with noticeably more freedo,m Benteke, Kouytae and Townsend all being invited by the backtracking White shirts to break the deadlock.
Coleman got in a great cross that Tosun smartly backheeled at goal, bringing out a fantastic one-handed reaction save from Guaita... and it remained 0-0 approaching the final 10 mins.
Sigurdsson worked a nice cutback for Gueye whose shot was blocked. More Everton pressure from another corner, Digne's delivery just not good enough. Richarlison tried to shoot when a layoff might have created more, Lookman replacing Bernard. Everton's 10th corner went the way of the previous nine... the ball working its way around the Palace area yet again to no effect. Walcott replaced Sigurdsson, the final uninspriring change of the day,
Coleman in acres of space drove his cross into the side netting, summing up the problem in Everton's impotent attack. Digne's deflected cross hit the post and bounced out as Everton pressure still produced nothing of note.
A late corner for the home side was cleared and the lack of quality in so many aspects of the game was all we were left with.
Crystal Palace: Guaita; Wan-Bissaka, Kelly, Dann, van Aanholt; McArthur, Milivojevic [Y:10'], Kouyate [Y:74'], Meyer (72' Townsend); Benteke, Zaha.
Subs: Henessey, Ward, Ayew, Batshuyai, Sako, Riedewald.
Everton: Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Zouma, Digne; Schneiderlin, Gueye; Richarlison, Sigurdsson (86' Walcott), Bernard (84' Lookman); Calvert-Lewin (72' Tosun).
Subs not Used: Stekelenburg, Baines, Jagielka, McCarthy.
Referee: Lee Mason