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Venue: Goodison Park
Premier League
Monday 5 April 2021; 8:00pm
Everton
1 1
C Palace
Rodriguez 56'
Half Time: 0 - 0 
Batshuayi 86'
Attendance: BCD
Fixture 29
Referee: Kevin Friend

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EVERTON
  Olsen
  Coleman (Godfrey 76')
  Keane
  Mina booked
  Holgate
  Digne booked
  Davies
  Gomes (Sigurdsson 31')
  Rodriguez (Gbamin 79')
  Richarlison
  Calvert-Lewin
  Subs not used
  Virginia
  Tyrer
  John
  Nkounkou
  Broadhead
  King
  Unavailable
  Allan (injured)
  Bernard (injured)
  Delph (injured)
  Doucouré (injured)
  Iwobi (injured)
  Pickford (injured)
  Branthwaite (loan)
  Gibson (loan)
  Gordon (loan)
  Kean (loan)
  Simms (loan)
  Tosun (loan)
  Walcott (loan)

CRYSTAL PALACE
  Guaita
  Ward
  Kouyate
  Cahill
  Van Aanholt
  Milivojevic
  Riedewald (Schlupp 68')
  Eze
  Ayew (Batshuayi 84')
  Zaha
  Benkete (Mateta 77')
  Subs not used
  Butland
  Dann
  Mitchell
  Kelly
  Hannam
  Townsend

Match Stats

Possession
47%
53%
Shots
15
13
Shots on target
7
6
Corners
3
4

Premier League Scores
Saturday
Arsenal 0-3 Liverpool
Chelsea 2-5 West Brom
Leeds 2-1 Sheff United
Leicester 0-2 Man City
Sunday
Aston Villa 3-1 Fulham
Man United 2-1 Brighton
Newcastle 2-2 Tottenham
Southampton 3-2 Burnley
Monday
Everton 1-1 C Palace
Wolves 2-3 West Ham


Match Report

Everton threw away another two points at home and dampened talk of them sneaking into the top four this season as Crystal Palace punished them for a slew of missed chances to grab a late draw.

True to form this season, Carlo Ancelotti's side tried to hold on to a vulnerable 1-0 lead once James Rodriguez's precise finish had finally put them ahead after a combination of profligacy from Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison and an excellent performance from Vicente Guaita in the Palace goal had kept things goalless for 55 minutes.

However, the Toffees' defence was opened up all too easily with four minutes left of the 90 and substitute Michy Batshuayi drilled past Robin Olsen to wreck Everton's hopes of drawing themselves back onto the shoulders of the top six.

With midfielder Allan ruled out with what was, in the manager's words, a “small problem”, Ancelotti opted for a three-man central defence of Mason Holgate, Yerry Mina and Michael Keane in front of the returning Robin Olsen and paired Tom Davies with André Gomes in midfield behind the roving Rodriguez.

Lucas Digne and Seamus Coleman operated as wing-backs when the Blues went forward and the skipper played in integral part in what was a more effective team performance going forward once Everton had settled following another questionable start.

The visitors were the ones moving the ball around more effectively in the opening stages and Mina had to block an early shot from Wilfried Zaha but it was the hosts who looked to have created the first genuine opening when Gomes split the defence with a pass for Richarlison but he was eventually flagged offside.

In what would be a harbinger of failings to come, however, Richarlison contrived to make a mess of the chance before the whistle blew, cutting a square pass behind Calvert-Lewin and out of his strike partner's reach.

At the other end, Jordan Ayew and Eberechi Eze exchanged passes neatly inside the box and the latter forced a first save from Olsen before Everton squandered a succession of opportunities of their own. First, Holgate picked Calvert-Lewin out with a brilliant ball over the top in the 20th minute but instead of trying to lift it over the advancing keeper, the England international fired straight at him.

A minute later, Coleman crossed for Richarlison but he mis-timed the header and it dropped over before Gomes threaded him in a couple of minutes after that but the Brazilian was foiled by Guaita, first with a one-handed save and then when he tried to dribble around the Spaniard who pounced on the loose ball with Calvert-Lewin begging to be found in space a few yards away.

Two minutes after that, Rodriguez deftly brought down another Coleman cross from the right but couldn't keep his half-volley down and it sailed over the crossbar.

The Toffees' rhythm was briefly interrupted by the loss of Gomes to a hamstring injury after half an hour but, after Gylfi Sigurdsson had replaced him and Holgate had blocked a shot from Christian Benteke, Everton finished the first half on the front foot.

Richarlison insisted on taking a direct free-kick after he was tripped by Cheikhou Kouyaté but curled his effort over, James narrowly missed with a low shot that skidded past the far post, and Richarlison planted another header over following another free-kick, this time from the right flank.

While the front two had failed to find the clinical edge needed to break the deadlock for the Blues, Rodriguez provided it 10 minutes into the second half. Guaita was there again to foil Sigurdsson and turn the Icelander's shot to the side but Coleman collected it and laid it back to James who placed an unerringly accurate through the gap and in off the post to make it 1-0.

Calvert-Lewin had a great chance to double the lead just a couple of minutes later but was denied by the goalkeeper yet again and it was after that that Ancelotti's men began to sit back and try to manage the contest with a more defensive posture.

Eze had a shot parried away by Olsen, Davies's mistake in midfield went unpunished as Zaha's low drive was safely smothered and the Swede was also equal to a decent effort by Ayew all in the space of three minutes. But it was when Coleman went off, to be replaced by Ben Godfrey, and the tiring James made way for the long-awaited return of Jean-Philippe Gbamin that Everton lost some of their shape and defensive discipline.

It might not have mattered had Richarlison made better contact with Digne's cushioned lay-off of a deep Calvert-Lewin cross and Guaita not tipped the Brazil international's bobbled shot over the bar with nine minutes to go but Palace sounded the warning in the 83rd minute when Zaha passed to Jeffrey Schlupp and the substitute dragged his shot across goal, and then when Mina had to put in an excellent lunging tackle to deny Batshuayi.

But the Toffees were undone when one ball too many was allowed to be played straight through their midfield, this time to Schlupp just outside the box and, when he played it on to Batshuayi, the Belgian made no mistake with a powerful drive across Olsen into the far corner.

Everton still had the chance to win it with two minutes to go when Calvert-Lewin threaded Richarlison in but Guaita palmed away the effort that was searching out the bottom corner, while Olsen had to be alert to foil Jean-Philippe Mateta in stoppage time.

Lyndon Lloyd

Matchday Updates

After an utterly dreadful first half of incredible missed chances, Rodriguez gave Everton the win they needed... until Palace sub Batshuayi equalized to steal 2 vital points from Everton's faltering attempts to secure European football next season.

James Rodriguez made a most welcome return to the starting line-up.

Abdoulaye Doucouré is missing with a stress fracture in his foot while Bernard and Fabian Delph have been ruled out, but Tom Davies is available despite missing the England Under-21 match against Croatia. Both he and Ben Godfrey missed that decisive game for their country in midweek but Ancelotti says he expects them to shake off their respective knocks although

Jordan Pickford needs more time to overcome the rib muscle injury he aggravated against Burnley. Robin Olsen was passed fit and takes his place between the sticks at the expense of young stand-in Joao Virginia who is on the bench.

Finally, Jean-Philippe Gbamin makes his long-awaited comeback after more than 18 months out of action. The Ivorian midfielder is on the bench, alongside Sigurdsson Godfrey, King and two goalkeepers; no place for Allan in the squad this evening as he has a minor problem.

Crystal Palace kicked off and there were few long balls kicked around as the game looked for some sort of pattern to be established. For Everton, that meant playing it back to Olsen, then playing out from the back but DIgne suffered a forearm smash to the neck that he did not appreciate.

The pattern that did emerge early on was not too encouraging: short back and sides followed by a punt forward that loses possession. Benteke looked to barge his way through but four defenders presented him with a brick wall at the expense of the first corner, cleared after a session of head tennis that saw Richarlison break after a mistake by Milivojevic and, with an opportunity to shoot, he strangely played an awful pass in the direction of Calvert-Lewin... but someone was offside anyway.

Palace were having more of the possession but couldn't much with it; on the turnover, Davies was fouled but Everton again played it backwards. Rodriguez played one of thiose classic crossfield passes to Digne's bootlaces but the Frenchman strangely lobbed it straight to the Palace goalkeeper.

Anther frustrating session of playing out from the back ended with an overhit drive forward that went behind. Eze was caught by Davies but it was Mina who got a very early card. for a pull-back off the ball. Richarlison got a talking to from referee Friend after he thought he had won the ball. Still the game was a shapeless mess.

Palace were getting closer to scoring, Eze getting a shot on Olsen before Calvert-Lewin was easily blocked following a brilliant ball forward from Digne. Why oh why did he not shoot properly or take it around the keeper?

Coleman set up a lovely cross for Richalrlison, whose body position and neck twisting was all wrong: the ball flew harmlessly over the Palace bar. Richarlison was then set free and had to score... but utterly hopeless! His 'effort' defies description. And the second chance he got was also wasted. Unbelievable missed chances for Everton.

Rodriguez was next: he brilliantly controlled a cross in from Coleman but fired his shot over the bar! Zaha thought he'd show how it was done at the other end but drove across and wide of Olsen's goal. Gomes went down clutching his ankle on the half-hour and Sigurdsson was quickly readied for what passes in his world as 'action'.

Van Aanholt barged into Davies and came off worse. A blood-curdling scream from Ayew (maybe screaming his own name?) earned another yellow card, this time for Digne as Everton resolutely refused to take any control of the game. On the other side of the field, Rodriguez was on the receiving end of some rough stuff — blatantly ignored by Mr Friend.

Palace got forward again and this time it was Benteke whose shot needed to be blocked at close quarters. Everton tried to build but every avenue was a cull-de-sac. Richarlison won a dangerous free-kick and insisted, against all contrary advice, that he would take the set-piece, curled nicely around the wall... and the far post.

Rodriguez tried a snap drive but from a long way out, flying past that far post again. Another free-kick won by Richarlison but this one a lot further out and Rodriguez curled it in beautifully but Richarlison got 6 inches ahead of its path and could only head over rather than under the bar.

At least Palace were no better at attacking, a great ball to Benteke coming backwards off his heel. Thankfully, there were only 2 minutes more of what must be the most frustrating half of, yes, zombie football ever seen at Goodison Park. And this is the Premier League???

The second half kicked off and there was little evidence that things were going to improve, with the visitors edging the possession stats. It looked like Richarlison had fouled Zaha but miraculously Friend gave the free-kick Everton's way.

After a lot of Palace pressure, an Everton break seemed to fall perfectly for Sigurdsson but his drive looked weak and was deflected behind for a corner. The ball looked perfect but Mina barely glanced it causing Rcharlison to miss it completely.

A much more energetic move say Digne play a nice one-two back-heeled off Richarlison and it seemed Sigurdsson must scor but the chance seemed lost until Coleman calmly played it back to a certain Colombian genius and, with his right foot, he impossibly squeezes it in off the post with the goalkeeper right there, ut failing to block it. A superb quality finish from El Maestro!

Richarlson and Sigurdsson linked up to play in Calvert-Lewin for an even better cance than he squandered in the first half, but again, the goalkeeper was too close and the Sheffield Sniper fumbled it hopelessly yet again.

A brilliant curling shot from Eze forced an equally good punching save from Olsen as Palace tried to respond to the setback. Davies gifted Zaha with an open run on goal but the one-time Everton target showed he would fit in well at Goodison Park as he fluffed his lines.

Van Aanholt found himself scampering free but wasn't sure what to do with it as the Everton defence reformed. Everton had the goal they wanted and seemed to sit back a little more as Palace pushed a little harder. Rodriguez went off for Gbamin to return, wearing the No 13 shirt (unlucky for some!)

A great piece of wing-play by Calvert-Lewin led to Digne setting up Richarlison for yet another glorious chance that he booted into the ground. It bounced up and was palmed away by Guaita. At the other end, Schlupp seemed to have a great scoring chance that he pulled well wide.

Palace just would not give up and play dead. And Batshuaya, the last sub got behind the Everton defence to level up despite a desperate attempt by Godfrey to block him.

Calvert-Lewin turned provider with a lovely ball for Richarliso but his nemesis in the Palace goal stuck out an arm and deflected it away. Everton tried to vary the game a bit, Godfrey overlapping well but his header back to set up Sigurdsson was intercepted.

Kick-off: 6pm, Monday 5 April 2021 on Sky Sports

Everton: Olsen, Coleman (76' Godfrey), Keane, Holgate, Mina [Y:15'], Digne, Davies, Gomes (30' Sigurdsson), Rodriguez (79' Gbamin), Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin.
Subs:Virginia, Tyrer, King, Nkounkou, Broadhead, John

.

Crystal Palace: Guaita, Ward, Kouyate, Cahill, Van Aanholt, Zaha, Milivojevic, Riedewald (68' Schlupp), Eze, Benteke (77' Mateta), Ayew (84' Batshuayi) .
Subs not Used: Butland, Dann, Townsend,Kelly, Hannam, Mitchell

Referee: Kevin Friend
VAR: Graham Scott

Michael Kenrick

Match Preview

Everton are back in Premier League action for the first time in 22 days following the FA Cup quarter-finals and the international break and they need to return to winning ways to bolster their hopes of qualifying for Europe this season.

The Toffees went into the hiatus for World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on the back of three successive defeats in all competitions and having dropped out of the top seven after losses to Chelsea and Burnley.

However, Chelsea's own defeat to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday and Tottenham's draw at Newcastle mean that Carlo Ancelotti's team can vault themselves back into the top-four conversation if they can complete the league double over Crystal Palace this season.

Everton won what would prove to be the third of four successive games to start the 2020-21 season when they came away from Selhurst Park with all three points in September, a fixture that saw James Rodriguez help create the opening goal during his impressive start to life in England.

The Colombian has struggled for fitness for the past few months, though, and hasn't featured for the Blues since his marvellous intervention in the Anfield derby where he played Richarlison in for an early goal. In his absence, Everton ground their way past Southampton and West Brom before losing those next three games but, having remained on the sidelines to work on his conditioning, James is expected to return to the starting XI against Palace.

"James is in good condition," Ancelotti said in his press conference on Friday. "He is motivated and his physicality is good. It's important for us to have James back at his best. At the start of the season, he helped a lot, above all in front.

"We hope he will do the same, I am quite confident because I see him in training showing a good condition and attitude."

With Abdoulaye Doucouré missing with a stress fracture in his foot, Everton have lacked dynamism in the middle of the park recently but they will be buoyed by the fact that Tom Davies will be available despite missing the England Under-21 match against Croatia.

Both he and Ben Godfrey missed that decisive game for their country in midweek but Ancelotti says he expects them to shake off their respective knocks although Bernard and Fabian Delph have been ruled out.

Jordan Pickford will need more time to overcome the rib muscle injury he aggravated against Burnley but there was good news on the goalkeeping front when Robin Olsen was passed fit and he will likely take his place between the sticks at the expense of young stand-in Joao Virginia who will have done his confidence no end of good with some excellent saves in the games against Burnley and Man City.

Finally, there is the prospect of Jean-Philippe Gbamin making his long-awaited comeback after more than a year and a half out of action. Ancelotti led his press conference by announcing that the Ivorian midfielder has come through his first two weeks of full training with the team and continues to be in good condition.

He cautioned that the player will need to be eased back into action after so long out but suggested that Gbamin could be “involved” in some form against Palace which may mean a place in the squad and, perhaps, a late cameo should Everton be comfortably ahead in the closing stages.

For Roy Hodgson and Palace, James McCarthy will be assessed to see if he can face his former club along with Tyrick Mitchell and Nathaniel Clyne. The Eagles come into the game sitting in 12th place but they have been in erratic form of late, winning two, drawing two and losing two of their last six matches.

The availability of Wilfried Zaha makes them a different prospect to the one they have been for the past few weeks while he was sidelined and they also pose threats like the aerial presence of Christian Benteke.

The Everton that has European aspirations should have too much for Palace but Ancelotti's men have struggled to impose themselves on inferior teams at home this season, a psychological failing that has, thus far, threatened to ruin their top-four dreams and could yet cost them a place in Europe.

The hope is that the manager has been able to use the international break to focus the players' attention and get them in the frame of mind that will see them seize the chance that could yet open up for them over the final 10 games of the campaign. As the season has amply demonstrated, a team that can string together a number of wins can make great strides amid the unpredictability of results. Everton need to make sure they're the team that puts together the excellent run of form that carries them to the finish they've longed for all season.

Kick-off: 6pm, Monday 5 April 2021 on Sky Sports
Referee: Kevin Friend
VAR: Graham Scott
Last Time: Everton 1 - 1 Aston Villa

Predicted Line-up: Olsen, Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne, Allan, Davies, Gomes, Rodriguez, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin

Lyndon Lloyd

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