Everton’s attack breaks through
Everton have been largely ineffective in the opposing half for the majority of this season. Regardless of manager, Everton have struggled to put goals in the opponents’ net. Thanks to huge performances from Theo Walcott and Gylfi Sigurdsson, Everton were able to put up more than one goal for only the third time in nearly three months.
Everton received a boost from the decision to play Wayne Rooney in the hybrid number eight role. The Everton captain has been deployed all over the pitch this season seems to have found a new home in a position he played towards the end of his time with Manchester United. Without the pace or athleticism to be effective at striker or attacking midfield, Rooney was able to quietly turn the tables in Everton’s favor with some excellent play out of central midfield. This seems to be a favorable position for the veteran especially against poorer teams without midfield firepower.
Mangala continues to struggle
Eliaquim Mangala was brought in to shore up Everton’s struggling defensive ranks, but in his short time with the club he appears to be doing anything but. Despite being known for his size and strength Mangala was bullied on several occasion by Crystal Palace’s attackers. There also seems to be a general lack of awareness on Mangala’s part that is further hampering his ability to contribute to the team.
Some of this could be chalked up to unfamiliarity with his defensive partners, but at the present, Mangala appears to be another Everton defender that can’t help Jordan Pickford in any meaningful way. Ashley Williams appeared to have a more positive effect on the team when he replace Mangala after the latter went down with an injury. Perhaps when Ramiro Funes Mori returns from injury he can provide even more competition at the left-sided center back position.
Schneiderlin receives chilly reception
One of the secondary storylines from this match was the reception Morgan Schneiderlin received from Everton fans upon his arrival on the pitch. A steady stream of boos greeted the midfielder, who has been struggling to live up to his price tag.
Like many, I have not been impressed with Schneiderlin’s performances this season, I feel the booing was somewhat uncalled for. In a match where Everton were up 3-0, the decision to boo Schneiderlin struck me as a bit odd. Sure, if Everton had been losing or were in any way putting in another subpar performance, I could understand some jeering. But this was one of the more impressive performances that Everton have put in as of late and the jeering put somewhat of a damper on the match.