Three things we learnt as Everton were held by an impressive Palace team
The weekend’s fixtures began at Goodison Park where Everton were held to a 1-1 draw against an in-form Crystal Palace on Friday night.
Romelu Lukaku gave Ronald Koeman’s side the lead by scoring his first ever free-kick in the Premier League just before half-time, before fellow Belgian Christian Benteke levelled things up by heading in his third goal in four games.
Everton stay in third place following the result, whereas Palace move up to seventh position on 11 points.
Here’s what the Friday night fixture taught us:
Both sides have a similar game plan – dependent on wingers
At times it did seem like the sides were cancelling each other out. Both had strong, commanding strikers and pacey wingers with an eye for a cross. During the match, Everton put 32 crosses towards Lukaku, and Palace tried 31. It was Alan Pardew’s team that found the right one however, as Benteke found the net. He now has scored 35% of his goals with his head.
Damien Delaney also found the net, only to be ruled out for off-side. This was an end-to-end fixture with both sides playing a similar way and quite possibly should Palace keep this run up, they will both finish in similar positions in the table. Frustration boiled over at times as the sides struggled to dominate, with nine yellow cards being issued – the most in a League game this season.
Benteke is at the right club
With Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend, Benteke will get cross played into him constantly. This is exactly what the Belgian needs, and was reflected in his man-of-the-match display. He now has three goals in his last four games since his move from Liverpool, and all of them are headers. That makes a total of 19 headers scored since his arrival to the League, and nobody has a better record than that. It is now time to see the big striker go back to the free-scoring player he once was in the Premier League.
Pardew’s signings have taken Palace up a level
Palace didn’t sneak a draw at Goodison Park, one of the most feared grounds in the country, they were comfortable and at times looked more likely to get a winner. Pardew’s side have completely raised their game, and now have ten points earned in September alone. This is, in part, down to the manager getting in the right players. James Tomkins, Steve Mandanda, Townsend and Benteke all started, and featured in a valiant draw for the away side. It says much about the quality of the squad that Yohan Cabaye was on the bench.
It is perhaps too early to say how far the team can go, but on the basis of recent form, it has the potential to be an exciting season for Palace fans.
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