And so Everton’s impressive win over Arsenal on last Monday seems to have been nothing more than a blip, as the Blues put in another bleak performance at Selhurst Park.
Unlike under the previous four Everton managers – none of whom won a game that they were losing – the redeeming feature of Rafa Benitez’ Everton side is that they are capable of turning things around – picking up 10 points from losing positions this season.
But, ultimately, Everton didn’t start playing until they were 2-0 down against Palace and even then it just wasn’t enough.
Palace seized this initiative in this game and they were comfortably the better side in the first half as Everton struggled to keep hold of the ball. Man-of-the-moment Conor Gallagher looked lively from the start and it was he who ultimately – and deservedly – took the headlines after opening the scoring and then closed the scoring in stunning fashion.
Both of his goals definitely could have been prevented though, with his first stemming from sloppy play from Demarai Gray and his second initiated after a hasty free-kick from Seamus Coleman – although that’s certainly taking nothing from his effort.
With Everton 1-0 down and limping, Rafa Benitez took the correct decision to make a double substitution in the 56th minute, bringing off Delph for Gordon, but then drawing the wrath of all Evertonians by bizarrely choosing to replace Richarlison with Rondon.
Things got even worse minutes later, as Palace plundered in a goal from yet another corner – a recurring problem under this Benitez side.
After going 2-0 down though, Everton did finally start to play, with some good centre-forward play from Rondon enabling him to bag his first goal in a “Blue” shirt.
The decision to bring on Rondon was necessarily the contentious part of the double substitution – that undoubtedly lay at bringing Richarlison off. Surely the Brazilian – who had admittedly been quiet – could have been moved to his preferred wide position at the expense of Andros Townsend instead.
Everton did press late on with Anthony Gordon again looking lively. But, in the end, it was too little, too late with Conor Gallagher guaranteeing Palace a deserved with three points in the final moments.
Yet again, it just wasn’t good enough from this Everton team.