Conor Gallagher and Crystal Palace gave Everton a reality check as the Eagles beat the Toffees in a hard-fought Premier League encounter.
Everton seemed to have regained some confidence after ending their eight-game winless streak with a victory over Arsenal last Monday. However, Crystal Palace were on hand to give them a reality check. The Eagles entered the clash on a three-match losing run and secured a much-needed victory over Rafael Benitez’s men.
Following Crystal Palace’s loss to Manchester United, Patrick Vieira made necessary changes to his side, who came out firing in the first half. After periods of pressure on the Everton defence, Jordan Ayew penetrated the backline and squared the ball for Conor Gallagher to get the opener.
Palace continued to keep up the pressure and did not allow Everton a chance to get back into the clash. And James Tomkins controlled the ball well at the far post from a Will Hughes corner to double Palace’s advantage in the second half, as Vieira’s men looked destined to secure three points seamlessly.
Everton made a surprise change by taking off Richarlison against his will, and it reaped the rewards as substitute Salomon Rondon pulled a goal back to set the tone for the contest. The Toffees then started dominating the game as Anthony Gordon came close to scoring an equaliser.
However, as Palace went about killing time and keeping possession of the ball, an error from the Toffees let Gallagher have a go and get his second of the evening and all three points for his team. The result brings the pressure back on Benitez heading into a busy fixture schedule.
In the coming seven days, Everton now face tricky fixtures against Chelsea and Leicester City. Palace, meanwhile, have Southampton and Watford next, against whom Vieira will be hoping to secure six points. Here is how the players fared in Crystal Palace’s 3-1 victory over Everton.
Vicente Guaita: 6/10
Guaita had a quiet evening until Everton started piling the pressure on his goal. He could do nothing about Salomon Rondon’s strike, although he did make amends with a save to deny Gordon, which would have let Everton equalise.
Joel Ward: 5.5/10
Ward suffered some nervy moments, but had a decent outing and did his job well to keep Demarai Gray quiet on his side.
James Tomkins: 7/10
A good shift from Tomkins at the back, and he crucially scored the second goal which gave Palace some breathing room in the second half. Defensively, he was sound enough to keep Palace out of danger.
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 12, 2021
Marc Guehi: 7/10
Guehi was a rock-solid presence at the back and could have had the chance to score, but his effort went narrowly wide. He kept things quiet until the Toffees increased the pressure late in the game. Guehi was somewhat at fault after losing the ball to Rondon for the only Everton goal.
Tyrick Mitchell: 6/10
Mitchell got exposed a lot in the period when Everton piled on the pressure in the second half. However, before that, he was solid on his flank, combining well with Wilfried Zaha whenever Palace attacked from his side of the pitch.
Will Hughes: 7/10
Hughes produced some moments of individual brilliance on the pitch and was a solid presence in midfield in a start out of the blue. He got an assist from the corner that was converted by Tomkins for his first goal since 2019.
Chiekhou Kouyate: 6.5/10
Kouyate kept things simple for the defenders by doing the dirty work in midfield and winning the majority of the duels there.
Conor Gallagher: 9/10
What a big performance from the midfielder, who came up with two goals at the end of an all-action display. He could have scored another and often found space for himself in the box. Superb performance from the Chelsea loanee.
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) December 12, 2021
Jordan Ayew: 7.5/10
Ayew had a chance to end his goal drought, and Vieira may not be too worried about his stats, as the forward put in another hard-working shift. He created the first goal for Gallagher.
Odsonne Edouard: 6/10
Edouard produced a hard-working performance upfront and showed some neat touches to bring others into play.
Wilfried Zaha: 7/10
A battling display without any potentially threatening moments in the final third. Zaha had a good battle on the left-hand side with Seamus Coleman, albeit to mixed results. His runs into the final third often caused chaos among those Everton defenders.
Jeffrey Schlupp: 5/10
Schlupp came on in place of Hughes to shore up the midfield and did a fine job until the end.
Christian Benteke: 6/10
Benteke replaced Edouard and maintained the composure in his position with his usual style.
Nathaniel Clyne: N/A
Clyne replaced Mitchell, who looked tired by the end, and did a decent job in the dying embers of the game.
Jordan Pickford: 5/10
Pickford had no chance to stop any of the goals scored by Crystal Palace, although he could have barged ahead to deal with the corner from Hughes. He made some important saves during the game to keep the scoreline from getting embarrassing.
Seamus Coleman: 4/10
Coleman had mixed results with his battle with Zaha on his flank. His tame clearance from inside the box led to Gallagher’s opener. Later on, his quickly taken free-kick at the death essentially gifted the Palace midfielder his second of the night.
Mason Holgate: 5.5/10
At times, Holgate seemed to charge rashly at the Palace attackers, giving away needless free-kicks. Otherwise, he had a decent game defensively, making plenty of recoveries in the process.
Michael Keane: 5/10
There was no composure in his game as Keane often found it difficult to deal with the threat of Edouard and Ayew.
Ben Godfrey: 6/10
Godfrey, playing as a full-back, continued to be unconvincing, although he made some darting runs with the ball to give Palace a few problems. He faded in the second period, despite Everton keeping most of the ball and applying the pressure on the opposition.
Andros Townsend: 6/10
Not the kind of return to Selhurst Park he would have wanted, but Townsend had a decent game with the ball and tried to create the openings for his teammates.
Abdoulaye Doucoure: 5/10
Doucoure had a tough time dealing with the midfield battles, and he was sloppy in possession while giving the ball away too many times.
Fabian Delph: 7/10
Delph battled hard to keep Everton in the midfield battle, winning a couple of tackles and making seven ball recoveries. He was subbed off rather surprisingly as Everton looked for goals.
Andre Gomes: 5.5/10
Gomes struggled while playing on the wings. The Portuguese international faded away after a bright start and was one of those at fault for Gallagher’s second strike.
Demarai Gray: 5/10
Gray compounded the woes from Coleman’s terrible clearance and gave the ball away to allow Ayew to win the ball and set Gallagher for the opener. Other than that, he had a difficult night, failing to put pressure on the Crystal Palace defence.
"He lost the game based on that decision!"
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) December 12, 2021
Richarlison’s apparent unhappiness at being substituted early in the second half might have been nothing from than a temper tantrum, as the Brazilian had a terrible game until then.
Salomon Rondon: 7/10
Rondon added something different after coming on for Richarlison and pulled one goal back to give Everton a glimmer of hope in the match.
Anthony Gordon: 5.5/10
Gordon had a terrific chance to score, which was saved brilliantly by Guaita. Alternatively, Gray was open in the centre, and the winger could have passed instead of shooting, missing out on Everton’s best chance to net an equaliser.