Everton dropped into the bottom three on Saturday despite gaining a valuable point on the road against a Crystal Palace side that has looked rejuvenated since the return of Roy Hodgson. The Blues held the Eagles to only two shots on target across the entire match despite fielding a rag-tag back-line including Mason Holgate at right back, who would eventually be sent off for a second yellow with ten minutes to play. Most Evertonians would have taken a draw before kick-off, but it’s clear that the Toffees need to start winning or their time in the top flight may well be over.
Here are 5 Telling Stats from Everton’s draw at Selhurst Park.
1. Chances at a Premium
Saturday’s game was devoid of quality opportunities for either team. Everton’s best chance came in the second half when Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s sharp turn found him in on goal, but his left-footed strike rocketed wide due to a Palace defender’s pressure. Neither team registered a single attempt at goal with an xG value of 0.10 or above, showing just how scarce opportunities were. The Toffees registered 5 shots on target in the first half, mostly from distance, but were unable to force Sam Johnstone into a save in the second half.
C Palace (0.47) 0-0 (0.41) Everton— The xG Philosophy (@xGPhilosophy) April 22, 2023
2. Minutes in the Tank
Dominic Calvert-Lewin made his long-awaited return on Saturday, making it all the way to second-half stoppage time before being replaced by Neal Maupay. Although he didn’t have too many clear-cut opportunities, his presence was certainly noticeable, and it’s great to see him back. Lord knows that he will be crucial in the run-in if Everton want to escape the mess they find themselves in.
[91’] Everton Sub: Dominic Calvert-Lewin is replaced by Neal Maupay. 0-0.— Everton Extra (@Everton_Extra) April 22, 2023
Super shift, Dom!
3. Inability to Impose
Despite dominating Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace side at Goodison Park back in October, Everton couldn’t find a second win against the Eagles, meaning they have failed to beat a single team twice this season. That’s now two years in a row that Everton have failed to do so after having managed at least one double in every season since 1997/98.
Everton have failed to do a league double over an opponent for the second consecutive season. This is the first time in their history that they have failed to do a league double in back-to-back seasons. #EFC— EFC Statto (@EFC_Statto) April 22, 2023
4. Discipline Deficiency
In this match, Everton kept their first clean sheet since the victory over Brentford six games ago; something they must continue to do in order to survive. Something they must not continue to do, however, is finishing the game with 10 men, as that is a recipe for disaster. Mason Holgate was initially booked in the 37th minute, and it was clear that Jordan Ayew had the beating of him all game.
Sean Dyche, however, decided not to take him off at any point in the second half despite everyone and their dog knowing he was likely going to make another clumsy challenge, and that he did. Holgate is to blame for his stupidity, of course, but Dyche must also be on the hook for this one, especially with both Godfrey and Patterson available on the bench. I believe Holgate shouldn’t have been selected for this game in the first place, but at least we won’t have to worry about him playing on Thursday when Newcastle United come to Goodison Park.
5. Away Wins Necessary
Although a point on the road against an in-form Crystal Palace is a good result in isolation, the fact remains that Everton likely cannot rely only on their home matches to find a path to survival. The Toffees only have three more games at Goodison this season, with two of them coming against teams currently in the Top 4. The Bournemouth game at the end of the season may well resemble that of the Crystal Palace match last season, but Everton must find a win like the one against Leicester last season as well. That could come against the Foxes themselves with a monumental trip to the King Power coming up soon, while a loss in that game would likely spell the end for Everton’s Premier League ever-presence.