Score: Crystal Palace 3 Everton 1FT
Crystal Palace opened the doors to Selhurst Park as they welcomed Everton to London. In what was expected to be a significant game for both sides. Crystal Palace wants to build on some momentum to climb the table; on the other hand, Everton put together a stunning display against Arsenal last weekend, but that doesn’t ignore the pressure that will continue to build on Rafa Benitez if things don’t start to change. It may not have seemed like it, but from the outside, it sure felt like there was a lot at stake in a mid-table clash. Crystal Palace looked very comfortable the majority of the first half. Everton has difficulty dealing with the challenge, particularly in the first half. Crystal Palace had somewhat aggressive toward them as they continued to chip away and get themselves in dangerous positions with a high likelihood of scoring. Eventually, that fell to Conor Gallagher; the high Press forced Demari Grey into a mistake. Crystal Palace capitalized Connor Gallagher converted in front of goal to give Crystal Palace a 1–0 lead. Crystal Palace held the lead into the second half as they opened it up and looked explosive once again. Just a couple of minutes into the second half Crystal Palace got themselves another coming off a corner kick, falling to James Tompkins; he converted, picking out the bottom corner beating Jordan Pickford to his far post as Crystal Palace took a 2–0 lead. Everton was barely in this game at all as they were being outplayed throughout; however, for 10 minutes, they looked rather dangerous. Mounting pressure on the crystal palace defense before cashing in as Rondon got a goal back for Everton. However, they never really got a grip into the game as it truly was the Conor Gallagher show at Selhurst Park as the young midfielder hit an absolute bomb late to secure the points in stoppage-time Crystal Palace put together a very entertaining and effective display securing a 3–1 victory at home as pressure mounts on Rafa Benitez’s Everton.
After preparations and predictions, the match was about to get underway on Sunday evening in London at Selhurst Park. As a neutral, I may not know all that much about these two teams and what they’ve been through this, but right out of the gate, I was immediately very impressed with Crystal Palace. They were handling themselves quite well at home against Everton. Playing a very entertaining style of football, pushing the ball forward getting into dangerous areas pretty regularly. Crystal Palace had a significant ball possession advantage; they held a 70% possession in the first half Everton, for the most part, mismanaged the possession they had and looked like a team that is in deep trouble. They were not handling themselves well at Selhurst Park as Patrick Vieira’s side looked strong from the very kick off the ball. In the opening 10 minutes, Jordan Ayew cut into the box, administering the first blow of the game striking from inside the penalty box but was dealt with by Jordan Pickford collecting the save. Crystal Palace continued to push the tempo as Connor Gallagher looked for the spectacular stretching a deep strike but could not reach the target. From this point, Crystal Palace ran riot with essentially constant attacking play. A minute later, Wilfried Zaha Inside the Box before whistling a shot at Jordan Pickford but the Englishmen that got his hands on it. Three minutes later, Connor Gallagher was at it again, hitting a blistering strike from outside the box, forcing Jordan Pickford into a save this time. Everton provided absolutely nothing; there was nothing about how they were playing that sent any signal that they were capable of handling this away from home. They barely had any of the ball; they had difficulty creating anything that could even formulate into a chance. They had a rare chance when Demari Grey misfired from Deep. Minutes later, it went back into Crystal palace’s favor. Zaha is trying to put something together Inside the Box before a shot was blocked trying to reach the target. Just before the half-hour mark Edouard tried to test Jordan Pickford but could not reach the target once again. At the half-hour mark, Demari Grey provided perhaps the only legitimate chance from Everton in the first half putting his foot through Ben Godfrey’s cross coming close but was denied. About 10 minutes later, Crystal Palace finally broke through something that felt like a long time coming. A mistake by Demari Grey in the 41st minute allowed Connor Gallagher to get into a dangerous space from close range struck the ball past Jordan Pickford in the bottom corner as Crystal Palace earned a 1–0 lead it would be the fifth goal of the season for the Midfield as Crystal Palace finally breakthrough. Crystal Palace held a deserving 1–0 lead at the break as they continue to play Everton off the park in London.
Crystal Palace looks like a far superior side in the first half Everton needs to find some way into this game because based on the way the game was played, Crystal Palace with piercing through them. At the start of the second half, we saw more of the same from Crystal Palace look strong with the ball pushing it Forward into dangerous areas, continually testing Jordan Pickford. About five minutes into it, Wilfried Zaha sent in a cross into Connor Gallagher; the midfielder got on the end of it trying to push it into the bottom corner, but his header drifted a bit, coming very close to another goal. A few minutes later, Connor Gallagher again got into a dangerous position, nearly scoring from an impossible angle. A through ball was sent in by Jordan Ayew. Connor Gallagher retrieved the ball as the ball was rolling towards out of bounds; he followed through on the strike, nearly beating Jordan Pickford, but England’s number one managed to make the save in a crucial moment. However, just a few minutes later, Palace would get themselves another. In the 62nd minute coming from a deep corner, it drops to James Thompkins, who picks out the bottom corner Palace takes a 2–0 lead; it is the first goal of the season for the defender going for the first time in quite a while. Everton was in a hole now, and they tried to get out of it quickly. Andre Gomes attended a shot on goal before it was blocked. Demari Gray came close, stretching it from outside. Then finally, Everton found a moment and was able to capitalize in the 70th minute. Everton was pushing forward with Rondon; he ended up supplying a pass the ended up bouncing back his way, sliding the ball into the back of the net with the goalkeeper out of position as Everton and getting one back. Everton were not playing very well. Crystal Palace was in total control; all of a sudden, they had a sequence of minutes in which they looked like they could do something; they got a goal back now it’s game on. However, even though there was a spurt in which Everton looked very strong shortly after the goal, Crystal Palace regained their momentum, continuing to try to break through to kill the game off once and for all. Connor Gallagher and Christian Benteke both came intending to kill it; however, both attempts were deflected and blocked the defense. With about four minutes remaining Anthony Gordon nearly found an equalizer in what turned out to be a world-class save from close range drilled the ball at the keep getting his fingertips to it before the Crystal Palace defense cleared it out in what was a very defining moment of the match for Everton. Then in the 93rd minute in stoppage-time, Connor Gallagher made his presence known once again; he takes the ball off Everton and, from long range, rips a screamer that slides into the top corner with a slight touch of the bar, scoring one of the goals of the season as Crystal Palace took a 3–1 lead in the final minutes. It was the sixth goal of the season for Connor Gallagher as the Chelsea loanee is having a superb season with Palace. At the full-time whistle, Crystal Palace won 3–1 as it truly was the Conor Gallagher show at Selhurst Park.
It was another very enthralling Premier League match from mid-table. Watching this game on Sunday, I realized they even though the teams at face value may not be as challenging to play, they are pretty evenly matched. Everton has been a massive disappointment this season with Rafa Benitez coming into the side; there were at least some expectations that they would finish in the top eight; they are worse off now than they were last season. Even though they beat Arsenal last weekend, this game usually felt important to Everton, and they simply did not show up in the way they needed to. From an entertainment standpoint, Patrick Vieira Crystal Palace side is just extraordinary gripping to watch. They play a very attractive football style and put pressure on the backline. Crystal Palace, to me, is one of the most exciting teams to watch in English football doesn’t necessarily translate to them being a great team; they’re an outstanding team that’s in the middle of the table that wants to climb, but I was completely enthralled in it the majority of the game in which Crystal Palace dominated throughout they put together a hugely impressive performance they never looked concerned or worried about not securing the points I was very impressed with them at least from that standpoint. I am not claiming to be a premier league expert I know the big teams and the big players; that is why I’m always interested in the prospect of learning and adapting to teams outside of the top six. I didn’t know very much about Conor Gallagher going into this game. I heard his name in passing, I knew he played for Crystal Palace, but that’s the significance of how much I was aware of. He was remarkable; his performance was breathtaking, scoring a brace including an absolutely stunning strike from outside the box at the very end to kill the game off once and for all. Just based on this performance alone, I’m going to keep my eye on what he does this season. Four a player that didn’t know that well to perform as well as he did was very interesting to watch. I have learned that he is on loan from Chelsea; if his performance showed anything, it Justified like he does have a spot on Thomas Tuchel side in the years to come; he has the qualities and the skills to be a vital part of Chelsea next season. He came out exceptionally well in his postgame interview; on top of that, it was a truly remarkable performance, and even though he’s only on Crystal Palace this season, he is adored at Selhurst Park the way they feed off of him when he has the ball and doing extraordinary things and what he did on Sunday was nothing short of that.