Bernard’s beautiful strike
Despite Everton’s improvement in the second half of the season they are not usually a team that scores beautiful goals. Instead they are usually a team that has beautiful goals scored against them, usually at the hand of one of the top clubs in the league. But early in the first half, Bernard scored an absolute beauty thanks to a great assist from Theo Walcott.
The lead up to Everton’s opening goal also featured excellent play from some of Everton’s most derided players. The sequence began with a well won ball in the attacking third from none other than Morgan Schneiderlin. Gylfi Sigurdsson then had his brief moment to shine, keeping tight control of the ball before passing things off to Theo Walcott. Walcott made an excellent turn before launching a point perfect cross to Bernard who buried the ball off the volley.
It was splendid football from beginning to end and something Everton supporters are generally not accustomed to seeing. If Carlo Ancelotti can get more of this play out of his side then Everton will be very dangerous moving forward
Everton’s erratic performance
Everton may have started out the match strong, but that trend would not continue. Going up a goal against a team that has not won since Boxing Day may have seemed like a guaranteed victory, but this is Everton we’re talking about.
After Theo Walcott left the match with an injury Everton seemed to try their best to slide back into their old ways. At the start of the second half Crystal Palace started to take control of the match. Everton struggled to assert themselves and eventually Christian Benteke scored one of the weakest goals of his career on Jordan Pickford. What should have been a routine save was completely botched by Pickford and Palace were very much back in the game.
Luckily Richarlison was able to single-handedly put his team back in front and this tipped the scales permanently in Everton’s favor. The Brazilian was a key part of Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s goal that put Everton up 3-1 and nearly added an assist a few minutes later.
Morgan Schneiderlin is an often-vilified squad member, with a significant proportion of the fanbase insisting that he is too lazy a footballer, but those same supporters will have little to complain about after yesterday’s performance by the Frenchman.
The 30-year-old set himself about quite impressively, leading the way with the most touches of any Everton player, an 86% pass completion rate and making four tackles, four interceptions and four clearances.
While it was a delight to watch him yesterday, it comes with the added frustration that he cannot consistently put in performances of this nature, or else he’d continue to be a mainstay of the central defensive midfield position.