Everton v Crystal Palace: Disappointment as Champions League Hopes Slip

Clive Brunskill

Everton get smacked at home as 4th place and Champions League is now out of our hands

The less time we spend with this match report the better...

Martinez went with a very attacking and inventive squad that many people (including me) hailed as a great strategy. Unluckily, it backfired. Martinez started Lukaku, McGeady, Mirallas, Barkley, Deulofeu, and Barry along with the normal back line. This led to way too many moving parts for Everton. They held possession quite well (Before the goal by Crystal Palace it was 72% towards Everton) but couldn't do anything inventive with the ball. It seemed like a recurring nightmare from the David Moyes era had crept back up.

To the groans of the Goodison crowd, an in-form Jason Puncheon scored from a Marouane Chamakh assist in the 23rd minute. Martinez brought on Steven Naismith for Deulofeu at half time to spur Everton closer to a goal. Everton tried to compose themselves and started attacking even heavier than before, but a 49' open header from Scott Dann shocked the crowd further. Everton had dominated possession until then, but when Crystal Palace got their feet on the ball they made Everton pay (4 shots on target, 3 goals). Crystal Palace seemed intent on pushing hard towards goal when they got possession even though they had sit back to defend when Everton had the ball. Too many misplaced passes and lack of creativity (yes we are bringing this back) had plagued Everton until Martinez made major substitutions.

Martinez decided to being on a double change of McCarthy and Osman for McGeady and Barry in the 59th minute. Naismith then scored in the 61st minute after a pass on the goal line from Baines. Unlucky for Everton though, Cameron Jerome decided Wednesday was the day he was going to start scoring again and after some poor defending he curved the ball past Howard in the 73rd minute.

Jerome's dagger was just too much and a deflected through ball put through the net by Mirallas wasn't enough to spur on Everton to even a draw.

Though there were some close efforts near the end of the match, it was just too little too late in a frustrating day for Everton fans.

Everton take on Manchester United on Sunday in a do or die match. There is no more room for error and Everton need to hope for a misstep by Arsenal (even with their easy schedule) and a blazing finish by Everton in order to sneak in at 4th place.

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