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Player Ratings: Everton 2-3 Crystal Palace

Another home defeat and an awful performance to go along with it. Everton, that.

Jan Kruger

Tim Howard - 1

From hero to zero. Howard was Everton's star man in the Europa League win over Wolfsburg, but put in an absolutely shambolic performance against Crystal Palace. Part of a terrible Blues defence, the keeper ambled out ponderously to bring down James McArthur for the Palace penalty, before going on to inexplicably miss a deep cross in the second half, allowing Frazier Campbell to nod into a conspicuously empty net. Goals conceded: 3. Saves made: 0.

John Stones - 3

Forced to play out of position once again, Stones had a miserable time against the pace and trickery of Yannick Bolasie. Aside from winning a couple of superb, trademark slide tackles, Stones was ripped to shreds time and time again by the Palace winger, and his dawdling, along with Phil Jagielka, allowed McCarthur to slip through and win his side a penalty from nothing. The absence of Seamus Coleman was keenly felt.

Sylvain Distin - 4

Panicked on the ball, predictable in possession and shaky against the threat of Campbell and Jason Puncheon from the Palace right, Distin looked every one of his 36 years in the game on Sunday. If you're looking for positives, then at least he wasn't directly responsible for any of the goals...

Phil Jagielka - 3

Equally culpable, along with Stones and Howard, for the Palace penalty, the Everton skipper was short of pace, imagination and, seemingly, confidence again at the weekend - much as he has done all season. That Jagielka completed 103 of his 104 passes speaks more to the side's infuriating lack of adventure or impetus than anything else.

Leighton Baines - 6

The only member of the Toffees' back line to save face, Baines did a decent job of neutralising Jason Puncheon, though in fairness the same is true vice versa. Inhibited both by Roberto Martinez's use of a 4-3-3, and Samuel Eto'o's placement on the left flank, Baines was frequently left with no viable options going forward. Only when Kevin Mirallas was introduced did the full back finally begin to work his way into some dangerous positions, but despite another coolly dispatched penalty, it was too little, too late.

Gareth Barry - 4

Everton's string-puller in chief was completely ineffective, barring a lively first 15 minutes or so. A dearth of movement ahead of the midfield didn't help things, but Barry was unable to create anything of note, and completed just over 60% of his passes in the attacking third, a stat that reflects the poor standard of his forward play.

James McCarthy - 5

McCarthy spent the first 20 minutes playing like a man possessed, raiding forward and unsettling the Palace defence as well stifling any opposition excursions into the Everton half. But as the game went on his energy faded, and he was eventually shunted out to right back to try and cope with the threat of Bolasie, who then proceeded to score.

Leon Osman - 3

Osman comes in for a lot of criticism even when he plays well, but on Sunday the moans and groans of the Goodison crowd were entirely justified. A lovely assist for Romelu Lukaku aside, the veteran midfielder produced little of any value until playing a decisive part in a second half goal - Palace's third.

Christian Atsu - 4

A debut to forget for the on-loan winger. Atsu had a torrid time against the excellent Joel Ward, repeatedly miscontrolling and unable to make use of his frightening pace against a tight Eagles back line. When allowed the chance to run at his opponents, the Ghanaian can wreak havoc - only a goal-line clearance denied him a superb assist for Lukaku - but this was decidedly not the game for him.

Samuel Eto'o - 4

A huge disappointment after Thursday's excellent cameo, Eto'o was a passenger throughout against Palace, after a couple of promising early pieces of skill. Stationed wide on the left for most of the game, I honestly forgot he was on the field at one point.

Romelu Lukaku - 5

Played through the middle in the wrong system, Lukaku spent most of the game dropping deep and struggling to control balls into his feet. The Belgian finished his one real chance with aplomb, and was unfortunate not to add another in the second half, but a link player he is not, and that was extremely apparent on Sunday.


Steven Naismith - 6

Finally introduced with half an hour remaining, Naismith did what no one else in the Everton side seemed capable of doing and made use of the space between the Palace lines, flitting about and doing his best to, heaven forbid, play a through ball. Had he and Mirallas been on the pitch longer, the blunt Blues' attack may have had more of an edge.

Kevin Mirallas - 6

Like Naismith, Mirallas gave Everton something they'd been missing before his introduction - a runner - and proved a more dangerous attacking force in 30 minutes than most of his teammates did in 90. Having said that however, he was unable to go as far as actually creating a goal.

Darron Gibson - N/A

Man of the Match - Leighton Baines

The best of a very bad bunch, Baines kept it together in an ailing defence, and at least attempted to make things happen going forward; albeit mostly unsuccessfully. Without Mirallas or Pienaar to scheme with on the left-hand side, the defender's options were limited, but he persisted, and was predictably ruthless when converting from the spot.