Well that was depressingly familiar in terms of Everton dominating a game before conceding a goal from a set piece and desperately trying to scramble an equaliser/winner. Some would even describe it as ‘Everton that’.
Let’s look at how it went though before condemning Everton to being poor and unable to beat a Palace side that, to be fair, is solid, has pace, and also had a hell of a lot of luck on Monday night.
The width of the post and the bar saw three shots hit the woodwork before Lukaku got his deserved goal towards the end of the game, and whilst Barkley and Deulofeu weren’t at their best they were trying to break though the 10-man defence time after time throughout the match.
I must admit that I really enjoyed the game. At times we played some wonderful football between our attacking 4 with Cleverley supporting excellently behind in possibly his best game for us.
As the ball fizzed in between the players it only missed the assured crossing of a winger to score a hatful. Deulofeu was getting plenty of abuse I saw later on social media for not having the quality expected every time, but he’s possibly the most exciting talent we’ve had at the club since Andrei Kanchelskis if he develops at the pace he’s going so far.
Time after time he got the ball and ran at defenders before trying to get a cross in – until finally he managed to squeeze one through to Lukaku via a slight deflection from Gareth Barry (note: I’m still fuming at Premier League Fantasy Football for giving Barry the assist, and not Ged).
Elsewhere there were no real poor performances. The goal was daft again and you could complain that Howard let in another header inside his 6-yard box, but the performances across the defence were good and the midfield did its job of keeping the pacey wingers of Palace in check.
Actually in terms of the defence two things: 1) let’s hope that Funes Mori doesn’t try any lunges at players in the box like he did with 5 minutes to go again. I don’t know one person in that ground apart from the ref/linesman who didn’t think that was a penalty; 2) bringing on Baines against a side with pace wasn’t the best idea when Galloway was having such a good match.
Actually, only having one sub brought on is perhaps the only criticism I have all day. Mirallas or Lennon for Kone or Barkley would maybe have been a good idea for the last 20 minutes?
At times it was like a basketball match – we’d attack, commit 4 or 5 men forward and if we lost the ball then Palace would come streaming forward. Isn’t that what we want from a Martinez side? It’s only a few weeks since his team was being accused of being too defensive and not taking chances. He may have listened, or got slightly lucky with the form of certain players, but either way we have a team that really want to drive directly at teams and give it a go.
That for me is hugely important and I suddenly can’t wait for our next game away at Norwich on Saturday lunchtime, even if it is a headache to get to!