Monday night was a prime opportunity for the Blues to kick towards the top with a victory at home to Palace. But, it just wasn't to be. The Toffees were not short of creating chances, nor were they finding it difficult to defend. It seemed at points throughout the game that the ball just didn't want to go into the net with Lukaku hitting the post and bar, Barkley's deflected free kick hitting the bar and Cleverley having a fine shot clawed out of the top corner.
Having said that Crystal Palace never really threatened Everton's goal so it came as a surprise in a way that it was the travelling team who took the lead mid-way through the second half. Scott Dann scored with a header, from yet another corner not defended by either Tim Howard or his defence. However, it didn't take long for Everton to respond with a goal that had been coming for a while. Another great run by Deulofeu and a fired pass across the box, touched on by Barry and Romelu Lukaku tapped home into an open net at the back post. The game finished 1-1, a result neither team will gain much from.
"What is so difficult about a corner kick?" I hear you plead! Well, it seems that it's a problem rife within the Everton team. The Blues won a total of 13 corners, its baffling to think that only three of those corners made it into what is classed as a dangerous area of the box (usually within in the centre of the box). That means that 10 of those corners didn't make it into the box (2), was taken as a short corner (1) or didn't beat the first defender (7). As a Premier League side with the talent and quality Everton has it literally doesn't make any sense, when you watch the ball hit the first defender time and time again.
Gareth Barry took the three corners that made it into a "dangerous area" of the box and the rest were taken by Gerard Deulofeu and one was taken by Ross Barkley in the first half. It has to be a concern, we build all this pressure and the only way a team can stop our attack is by giving us a corner. Yet, we have the chance to make something of the corner and of that pressure but we let the opposition off the hook with a poorly taken corner. It's basic, basic football.
There isn't really an answer or solution to this problem other than someone taking the time in training to practice taking a corner. A couple of theories as to why the corners maybe so poor have been banded around. They include that the advertising boards are to close to the corner flags or the players are rushing. some have made the point that the corners might not all be that bad, but instead it's up to the players to attack the near post and make something happen. Well, whatever the reason it needs work, the corner is going to be a crucial part of the game for Everton when teams are trying to stop an attack.
On the grand scheme of things Everton's performance was a positive one that just didn't seem to have a final touch. The performance obviously lacked the goals our play provoked. At times it lacked a bit of creativity in other areas of the pitch other than the right wing were Deulofeu picked the ball up time and time again. That continuous effort to give the ball to Gerard Deulofeu became predictable.
Ross Barkley had one of his quietest games he's had in a while. The attacking midfielder picked up the ball and took to passing the ball with no threat, instead opting for an easy pass. Now, a safe pass isn't always a bad thing but when it becomes persistent and the only way of passing it causes problems for the strikers. The game was crying out for Ross to grab the game as he so often does with one of his aggressive driving runs, it just didn't happen for him.
The other side of this decision-making coin lies with the manager. Everton made just one substitution throughout the game and that was a defensive sub as Brendan Galloway made way for Leighton Baines. In all honesty, when the Toffees equalised, there were a couple of players labouring towards to attacking end of our team. Deulofeu and Kone could have both been taken off in order to add a fresh pair of legs in Kevin Mirallas and Steven Naismith. It seemed like Martinez was trying to make a point to the players. It also came across to the fans the Roberto Martinez was happy with the draw. The lack of fresh legs in the end is arguably what cost Everton another goal after the equaliser. I've said it before in other articles "bad decisions, cost you games of football", although it didn't exactly cost us three points it certainly cost us another two.
The young Belgian joined some big names of our game in the history books with his goal on Monday evening. It was Lukaku's 50th goal in 100 appearances for Everton. It's been 46 long years since the last Everton striker completed such a feat, the last being Joe Royle.
Rom has also bagged 27 goals in 2015 so far, more than any other player in a calendar year since Adrian Heath way back in 1984. The stats and numbers keep coming as Lukaku has also scored 17 away goals, the only player to top that was Dixie Dean. The Belgian has now scored in five consecutive Premier league games and six consecutive goals in all competitions.
Some unbelievable stats so far. Hopefully Lukaku can keep breaking records for many more seasons in an Everton shirt.