When you look at the post-match statistics from this game, they underline how annoying this result was for Everton who should, by rights, have left Selhurst Park with all three points and their sixth win from their last seven in the Premier League.
64% of the possession, 22 shots and 10 corners… six days after beating their third top-six team in succession with a 4-0 hammering of Manchester United, Everton travelled to Crystal Palace and controlled the game in the manner befitting their ambitions of breaking the hegemony of that “big six” cabal but left with just a point.
Unfortunately, while the dominance of the contest was there in combination with another impressive defensive performance, the requisite quality in the final third was not and in that sense, if nothing else, this game was instructive of what Everton still need in terms of additions to the squad if they are to achieve their aims over the next couple of seasons.
Ultimately, the fact that Marco Silva’s side failed to unduly trouble Palace from dead-ball situations — for example, it’s hard to recall any of the afore-mentioned corners leading to anything meaningful —and that only three of their efforts on goal were on target rather brings home the point that sometimes you need a player with the confidence and ability to produce a piece of magic or a deadly clinical striker who can make a difference on afternoons when things aren’t quite clicking up front.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin has relished the opportunity afforded him by Silva’s lack of alternatives to put together an extended run in the Everton team and he has rightly received plaudits for his tireless work-rate and the effective way in which he has unsettled defenders from the four top-six teams that came to Goodison over the past couple of months and left with a mere point between them.
His efforts against those sides has enabled those around him to score the goals that beat Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United but it’s also an unavoidable consequence of his position that when chances go begging, the focus of the conversation around what this Everton squad lacks inevitably falls on him as the centre-forward.
It’s tough for a relatively inexperienced, still-developing young player tasked with leading the line for a Premier League side chasing European football but England’s top flight is an unforgiving place where results are paramount which is why securing a reliable, dynamic and pacy striker to supplement the Calvert-Lewin remains the Blues’ most pressing need in terms of recruitment.
That regular goals, acceleration and a ruthless streak have been the few missing attributes to the 22-year-old’s game was illustrated on a couple of occasions within the first 10 minutes. Everton had survived a couple of early scares at one end, first when Christian Benteke broke into space off a fortunate ricochet in midfielder but was foiled by Jordan Pickford’s block before referee Lee Mason pulled play back for a foul by Idrissa Gueye and then when Max Meyer drove the ball in the side-netting from a tight angle, before the Blues’ created their first chance at the other.
Calvert-Lewin did well to pounce on the ball as Martin Kelly mis-judged Pickford’s wind-assisted long kick downfield but he initially got it stuck under his feet and then ended up producing a powder-puff left-footed finish that was routine for Vicente Guaita in the Palace goal.
A couple of minutes later, another defensive slip, this time by Scott Dann, appeared to present the striker with a chance to create something but he was a fraction slow to anticipate it and couldn’t stab it quickly past the covering man, either for himself or Bernard.
Not that Calvert-Lewin was the only one who looked slightly off his game in attacking areas. Richarlison had the chance to run at the defence in the ninth minute but elected not to play Gylfi Sigurdsson in and was tackled while a succession of attempted crosses from both flanks and shots were blocked or deflected behind.
Calvert-Lewin, meanwhile, would spurn a couple of decent headed chances before half-time, despatching one disappointingly over the bar and the other straight at the goalkeeper while Gueye tried his luck from 20 yards but his effort was also comfortably saved.
The second half began in the same manner as had the first, with Palace attacking early and putting the ball into the side-netting — James McArthur the one this time to fail to work Pickford — but Everton very quickly grabbed hold of the game once more and would dictate things until the final whistle.
Perhaps needing a touch of fortune to carry them over the line, the Blues found Lady Luck looking in the opposite direction with Bernard seeing his low shot bounce off the base of the post via a deflection off a defender and Lucas Digne almost guiding a cross in off the back post, again via a deflection, but the ball came off the woodwork and out.
In between, after Cenk Tosun was introduced in place of Calvert-Lewin to perhaps provide a surer touch on the ball up front, the Turk came as close as anyone would to winning the game. The impressive duo of Morgan Schneiderlin and Gueye combined in the centre circle to halt a Palace move and begin another Everton attack that ended with Seamus Coleman collecting Richarlison’s nutmeg through Patrick van Aanholt’s legs ball in an advanced area down the right flank.
His low cross was behind Tosun but the striker back-heeled it brilliantly towards goal, only to be denied by an instinctive, point-blank save by Guaita.
If there was a criticism of Silva it was that his substitutions in a game that felt like it needed an injection of fresh ideas earlier in the half, it was that the Portuguese delayed his second and third changes until the 84th and 86th minutes respectively.
Ademola Lookman came on for Sigurdsson and Theo Walcott for Bernard but while the young winger immediately went on a mazy run that unsettled the Palace defence, neither had much time to make a much of a difference.
Instead, Everton were forced to settle for a draw that, in the context of Wolves’s 2-1 win at Watford, probably ends the Toffees’ pursuit of seventh place. That may end up being a blessing in disguise and, again, there was much to learn from this display in terms of how much the team is doing right and what is needed by way of injection of genuine of quality this summer to move the club up a level next season.
Reader Comments (39)
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1 Posted 29/04/2019 at 00:21:47
As you rightly say, we just dont have enough goals in the team full stop
Bernard neither scores enough nor creates enough. Same for Gomes (or MS when he plays). Gaye is the same.
Indeed Richarlison and Siggy are our only reliable sources of goals and neither are stickers
I like DCL and he can definitely do a job and hes had an excellent 2nd half of the season. But he seems unable to shoot nor score with any conviction/regularity. To develop he should spend the summer with a goal scoring coach (Fowler, Henry, Cottee, Wright, Shearer etc) and simply understand where to be, and how to feel out goals
But aside from this we need to get a goal scoring centre forward.
We need to create and we need to take chances and win ugly and win when were not playing well
Saying that, weve made great strides this year
2 Posted 29/04/2019 at 02:31:42
I think DCL should have done better with the two or three half chances he got - likewise Bernard Cribbins still seems to lack composure in the box.
Lookman looked electric whenever he got on the ball - he's going to be some player.
I think that's the Euro league gone for us this season, particularly with Wolves beating both Arsenal and Watford. I'm not too disappointed however as we are finishing strongly and there are signs that the team are gelling. I don't buy the theory that some mythical unicorn 20 a season striker will solve all our goal problems - its a team game. If the team clicks we will score goals and we do score goals. I'd rather have DCL than Lukaku. Lukaku would have loved the type of chance that DCL spurned, but his presence would ruin our build up play.
3 Posted 29/04/2019 at 04:34:24
4 Posted 29/04/2019 at 05:03:07
5 Posted 29/04/2019 at 05:08:21
I think Calvert-Lewin might be better if his runs into the penalty area where on more of an angle between or across the central defenders. At the moment he seems to come on a straight line, a right angle to the goal, which makes it easier for the defence, on the angle shows up zonal defending and requires both central defenders to know where he is and which of them needs to be with him.
6 Posted 29/04/2019 at 05:38:32
7 Posted 29/04/2019 at 07:29:12
Let's face it, only Siggy and Charlie score goals. Even Bernard has only scored one premier league goal. Not good enough. We all know what we need. We also need Silva to show a plan B when things aren't going to plan. Plan A should be to score a goal and win the game. If things aren't going to plan he stands with arms folded wondering what to do and very rarely sorts it out baring throwing on his forwards. Never a change in shape and if he does change it's too late.
All-in-all, though there are signs that next season could be a breakthrough season. A season to finally bring in those couple of players that make the difference instead of seeing another 5 or 6 new faces start the new season. We don't want or need wholesale changes that means any bedding in period. Let's hit the ground running. That means a productive pre-season for once.
8 Posted 29/04/2019 at 08:00:47
9 Posted 29/04/2019 at 08:02:32
Summer will be interesting as others look to nick our best but hopefully we manage to keep the best of the squad together and add to it. If we can keep Zouma, Gomes and Gueye that would be great.
As for DCL, I appreciate what he does for the team and look forward to him improving further next season. Clearly we could do with another striker or two.
10 Posted 29/04/2019 at 08:17:57
Recall Arsenal and Man Utd away and two games that we could have easily been 2-0 up at half-time, with clinical finishing. Priority is a pair of lethal strikers, but easier said than done, but finishers are essential if we are to progress, rather than making up the numbers.
To get close and whilst still a chance, depending on Wolves, we could still sneak 7th so let's see... if rejuvenated Fulham can stop Wolves, whilst we must put a tough Burnley side away, this Friday.
To beat Spurs away, can be done, and we owe them for the Christmas hiding at Goodison Park.
11 Posted 29/04/2019 at 08:58:19
As for DCL... he's obviously feeling it in front of goal, but he's also come on so much and creates space for others to play in. As someone else has said, we wouldn't create half as much with someone like Lukaku, but he'd score a lot more. I think he needs a break at the end of the season and he'll come back even better next season. I'm confident that, if he is the first choice striker next season, DCL, Sigurdsson and Richarlison will all be on around 15 goals, which would be a good return.
12 Posted 29/04/2019 at 09:19:41
Also, time and time again we had weak crosses into nobody in the box. If you get past your full back and the 6-yard box is packed fizz it in hard and low for God's sake. That way even if one of ours doesn't get a touch a defender can inadvertently deflect it not his own goal.
We seemed to overplay at times which when it works is great to watch but we need to mix it up now and again. Having said that, our improvement is there for all to see, despite no improvement in league position and I feel completely different to this time last season when me and my match-going mates couldn't wait for the season to end due to the zombie footy we were playing.
I'm not TOO down after Saturday; even the very best teams struggle now and again.
13 Posted 29/04/2019 at 10:50:58
With regards to late subs, I just don't think Silva trusts them to be able to make a difference. I think, if we had some real talent on the bench, then he would have changed things quicker.
14 Posted 29/04/2019 at 10:52:39
I just feel that we are banging our heads against a brick wall when it comes to our need for a top class striker, I am sick of hearing that we have not replaced Lukaku, sick to death of it, but it is true. It's the plain, bald truth that we will not get further than 7th without that addition.
Let's not beat about the bush, there is zero chance of bettering 7th without major investment [or an unbelievably shrewd buy] in the top class striker department.
This perennial striking issue with Everton FC makes Brexit look a fast paced and efficient process.
15 Posted 29/04/2019 at 11:29:03
16 Posted 29/04/2019 at 11:46:36
Dermot Gallagher on Ref Watch on SSN said Atkinson never saw the challenge by Rojo, otherwise he would have sent him off. So if he never saw it, why was he booked?
Also, the yellow card means Rojo cannot receive a retrospective 3-match ban. A yellow card, in my opinion, means the referee saw something but, as usual, Atkinson is too much of a shithouse to send off any player from the so-called top-six teams.
17 Posted 29/04/2019 at 11:48:59
Man Utd's top scorer is Pogba on 13, they have Lukaku on 12, and Rashford on 10. Chelsea have Hazard on 16 and nobody else has reached double figures.
We can match them with a striker who scores 10-15 goals as long as Bernard can raise his output and we have better options off the bench. I think Arsenal, Man Utd, and Chelsea are all vulnerable next season.
18 Posted 29/04/2019 at 12:20:23
19 Posted 29/04/2019 at 12:27:05
A disgraceful challenge by Rojo, how was he not sent off for that? It is as clear-cut as you will see. Willian lucky to not have his leg or ankle smashed to pieces. The tackle forced him off.
Jagielka and other defenders that have been shown red this season for less, will be gutted by the shocking inconsistencies.
Atkinson can hang his head in shame for that one, probably the big crowd got to him. If that's so, he should pack it in.
20 Posted 29/04/2019 at 12:37:46
Unlike some, I don't believe that we need an out-and-out striker because I don't think that they exist or are even needed anymore. Kane is the nearest to it but his game is much more than being a striker and amazingly he isn't really missed. Saleh plays wide and not as a striker he just scores from that berth as the amazing Christiano Ronaldo did.
Lukaku is a striker but he's like a spare part in a toy factory in the modern game. What a great bit of business getting rid of him. Rather than a specialist striker, we need more players who can score and assist and that could be 12-15 goals a season rather than having the one unobtainable guy who can score 30.
21 Posted 29/04/2019 at 12:39:32
22 Posted 29/04/2019 at 13:01:48
Gylfi Sigurdsson has scored 14 goals and Richarlison has also scored 14 goals this season and Dominic Calvert-Lewin has scored 8. So from our attacking players they have collectively scored 36 goals.
That is pretty good, but with Dominic Calvert-Lewin progressing well at present, I would hope that come next season he could take his tally to 12. He is still young, but I think that he is capable of that.
So if he scored that next season and Gylfi and Richarlison scored 15 goals between them, then that would be 42 goals from our attacking players. But however, if we get into Europe for next season, then that will mean more games and so perhaps a striker that will bring 15-20 goals may be required.
I do worry about Ademola Lookman, as he does seem to be wasting away on the bench and even when he has come on, has had very little game time. I think he's a good talented prospect and can do well for us, but if he's not getting a chance in the team then I can't see him staying with us and that would be a shame.
Chris Gould 17, I do agree that Arsenal, Man Utd and Chelsea will be vulnerable next season, as in challenging for the league title they have been well off the pace and having not long ago played all three and won against them, I think at present we are better than them.
I hope we can be successful in trying for permanent deals for Kurt Zouma and Andre Gomes in the summer and hopefully, Idrissa Gueye will be convinced to stay at Everton but if he pursues a move to PSG and that happens, then of course we will need a replacement.
There have been promising signs of late with our recent performances, of which I think gives a lot of room for optimism for next season.
23 Posted 29/04/2019 at 13:03:18
24 Posted 29/04/2019 at 14:14:31
25 Posted 29/04/2019 at 14:18:33
Huddersfield scored 20 and conceded 74, I am truly lost for words.
26 Posted 29/04/2019 at 14:20:44
That Maddison should also get a retrospective ban for deceiving the match official with his blatant cheating.
27 Posted 29/04/2019 at 15:32:20
28 Posted 29/04/2019 at 17:59:55
How many of their players actually get sent off? Very very few.
29 Posted 29/04/2019 at 18:26:05
Funny how ever since City beat Utd and Burnley, I seem to be hearing several pundits saying that it will be "unfair" for either team to lose out on the title. I have even heard some saying that the title should almost be "shared" this year because both teams have been so good.
I wonder would we be hearing the same rubbish from the pundits if it was Liverpool in the driving seat... I don't think so.
30 Posted 29/04/2019 at 18:45:38
31 Posted 29/04/2019 at 18:56:22
Atkinson won't change, he's always been weak, scared of big decisions, and takes me back to Clive Thomas at Maine Road in 1977, when he disallowed Brian Hamilton's winning goal. Don Hutchinson's legitimate goal in the dying seconds of the Goodison Park derby in 2000. Call us bitter and angry... And without mentioning events of 1985, and the ultimate dereliction of Everton FC as a major force in the English game.
Chuck in a minimum of 20 more bad critical decisions and it's a fair sketch. Don't get me wrong – all teams get them – but Everton seem to get treated as bad as any if not the worst.
Niasse gets banned for alleged diving last season, Salah does it most weeks, this season, gets away with it every week.
Back to DCL, his confidence has improved and his all-round game has improved, so in pre-season to focus on centre-forward positional play in the box and finishing. If he can add this to his game, then he'll be a very good player.
But we can't wait and must get a striker who can finish as, aside from DCL, we have no back-up, and rumours via a Turkish mate say that he will go back to Turkey this summer, but we shall see.
Let's hope the results go our way this week, and we may well still be in with an genuine chance of Europa League next season.
32 Posted 29/04/2019 at 19:07:08
33 Posted 29/04/2019 at 19:13:53
Fulham in good form though, won their last 3 ?, and Brighton got a draw at Wolves a couple of weeks ago so it is not pure fantasy that Fulham can get us result.
34 Posted 29/04/2019 at 19:23:54
The glass is full, and heres to a good week for a Evertonians.
35 Posted 29/04/2019 at 19:26:55
As for the top 6. Sadly long term they will destroy their own business model as people will eventually become bored.
Sport journo said tonight about how exciting the PL race is. Funny how the Leicester year was far more exciting nationally
36 Posted 29/04/2019 at 19:31:44
I think the best we can hope for is a striker who can become top class in time. Its possible of course that we already have one.
37 Posted 29/04/2019 at 20:18:07
Fox News in the US reports that BOTH bus drivers fell asleep.
38 Posted 01/05/2019 at 05:04:39
39 Posted 01/05/2019 at 07:08:06
Not sure what you really expect from these players other than the goals you mention. Because I feel both have been creative this season, given the struggles of the whole team at times.
In my opinion, both players, should we be able to keep Gomes, will become huge assets for us next season. Still, everyone to their own opinion. I just happen to disagree with yours quite strongly.
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