Everton didn’t quite show up today, especially for about fifteen minutes in the second half, but were more opportunistic than visitors Crystal Palace in a 3-1 win at Goodison Park that sees the Toffees climb up to seventh place going into their winter break.
Bernard had opened the scoring in the first half and the scores stayed level into the break, but the hosts sleepwalked into the second stanza allowing the Eagles to come roaring back. Christian Benteke broke his decades-old scoring drought thanks to an awful mistake from Jordan Pickford, with the goalie then redeeming himself with a point-blank save from the same player.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin headed on for Richarlison to run through and score the go-ahead goal, before the Brazilian turned provider with his header coming off the bar for DCL to slot home and put the game on ice - all goals and highlights here.
Speaking after the game, manager Carlo Ancelotti was happy with the win but pointed out there was still room for improvement.
“The best thing today was the result. The performance was.. not so good. It was a difficult team, a lot of interruptions in the game, a lot of throw-ins, we were not able to keep our intensity in the game.
“In the end, at the worst moment for us, Richarlison had a fantastic counter attack and we won for this reason.
“This was a great victory for the fact that it comes before the winter break. For us it’s important to have a break, and to prepare for the next few games.”
On the developing partnership between Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin -
“Yes it’s working well. We know they have this kind of quality, Richarlison is a fantastic player on the counter attack. We use that situation well, Dominic flicked the ball, and Richarlison’s counter-attack was absolutely outstanding.”
Ancelotti has been getting more out of Theo Walcott in recent games too, but the Blues looked off-balance when he left the game with a knee injury.
“Honestly there’s no player in this squad that can replace the skills and ability of Walcott. We have used Sidibe in that position and he has done well, but he has more defensive qualities than Walcott.
“I hope that (injury) will not be serious, but we have to see tomorrow.”
Sidibe not realising he hasn’t got a sock on until he try’s to pull it up pic.twitter.com/UBjZNR81hN— Benj Winstanley (@benjwinstanley) February 8, 2020
The manager had looked quite irritated when the fullback was about to come on and then realized he didn’t have one sock on, which he then had to return to the dressing room to get, but was much more benevolent after the final whistle.
“It’s a new experience for me, in all seriousness.”
And then once again the question of qualifying for Europe, which seems to come every time the Blues pick up some points.
“Since I’ve arrived the team has done a really fantastic job, I really appreciate all that everyone has done.
“Now it is a real possibility to think about the Europa League.”