Everton beat Crystal Palace 3-1 at Goodison Park on Saturday as Carlo Ancelotti continues to work his magic on the Toffees.
[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]
Dominic Calvert-Lewin continued his great form to make it 3-1 late on and he could have added another too. With the win Everton move on to 36 points and up to seventh in the table, while Palace are six points off the drop zone but have played a game more than most of their rivals.
3 things we learned
1. Everton in European battle: All of a sudden Everton are one point off fifth place. Carlo Ancelotti has won five of his first eight Premier League games in charge of the Toffees and they have lost just once under the veteran Italian coach so far, and that was 2-1 at Man City. At the start of this season under Marco Silva they were supposed to be in a push for European qualification. Finally they are and if the Toffees can clean up sloppy defensive errors they can sustain this push for Europa League qualification. They have a tough run of games coming up but they have momentum.
2. Palace, Zaha low on confidence: There is always one team which sinks towards the relegation scrap and it looks like being Crystal Palace. Wilfried Zaha has gone off the boil and that has coincided with Palace not winning any of their last seven games, winning just one of their last 11 in the PL and they’ve now lost three straight. The Eagles have gone from top six hopefuls to relegation candidates in a matter of a month. Scoring goals has been a problem all season long as Zaha has three goals all season and Jordan Ayew is their top scorer with six. Palace now have a slightly more favorable run of games but their next four against Newcastle, Brighton, Watford and Bournemouth now seem like must win.
3. Richarlison’s quality clear: Many people raised several eyebrows when Barcelona reportedly put in a $105 million bid for Richarlison late in the January transfer window. But should we be that surprised? The Brazilian striker is just 22 years old and he already has 27 PL goals in 97 appearances in the competition and Palace couldn’t handle his direct running and threat in the air and in the box. Alongside Calvert-Lewin he has someone to feed in attack and the duo have a great understanding.
Man of the Match: Richarlison – Scored a superb goal, his header lead to another and ran Palace’s defense ragged.
At the other end Palace hit the post from a tight angle as Patrick Van Aanholt‘s low effort took a deflection onto the woodwork.
Everton deservedly took the lead less than halfway through the first half as Theo Walcott whipped in a delicious cross from the right and Bernard was on hand to volley home at the Gwladys Street End.
That was Walcott’s final act of the game as he was forced off through injury and Djibril Sidibe replaced him after a short delay as he took his time in the tunnel area.
Bernard almost set up Dominic Calvert-Lewin who couldn’t get on the end of the ball as the attempted a diving header.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
Palace started the second half well as Yerry Mina failed to clear and Zaha failed to make the most of a good opportunity at the back post.
Zaha then played in Benteke after Palace won a few second balls and the Belgian striker sent a tame effort on target which somehow squeezed through Jordan Pickford and in. It was Benteke’s first Premier League goal in 34 games and it sprung Palace into life.
Moments later a corner caused havoc at the near post as the ball hit Benteke and then hit the post as Everton were all over the place defensively.
Everton then regained the lead as a long ball forward was flicked on by Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison raced onto it and finished calmly into the bottom corner.
In the closing stages the game turned into an end-to-end encounter as Benteke was then denied brilliantly by Pickford who spread himself to save his header from close range.
Gylfi Sigurdsson was then denied just as brilliantly by Vicente Guaita as he danced through the Palace defense but the Spanish goalkeeper saved his dinked effort.
Everton dominated late on and Richarlison’s header from a corner hit the bar and Calvert-Lewin was on hand to wrap up the win with his sixth goal in eight games under Ancelotti.