It was supposed to be about the return of Crystal Palace’s dynamic duo, but Everton clearly hadn’t read the script. Sean Dyche’s side had taken the lead twice thanks to goals from Vitaliy Mykolenko and Abdoulaye Doucouré, with Eberechi Eze capping a virtuoso performance with Palace’s first goal before Odsonne Édouard finally took advantage of one of several chances that came his way.
But even with Michael Olise coming off the bench for the first time this season and the hosts feeling blood, it was Everton who maintained their dominance against these opponents, thanks to substitute Idrissa Gueye’s late winner four minutes from time.
Palace’s dismal record against Everton dates back to September 2014, with Palace having won just one win in 18 Premier League games since their second successive 3-2 win at Goodison Park. Eze’s first start since late September in the week the England midfielder finalized his future until 2027 – not to mention Olise’s first time in the matchday squad this season – gave home fans optimism that there could be a different outcome this time. But after avoiding relegation last season and suffering a difficult start to this campaign, Everton have done well of late and are now unbeaten in four games in all competitions.
It took Mykolenko just 60 seconds to give them the lead after his shot was initially blocked and the Palace defense struggled to clear the ball. This allowed Jack Harrison to pick out the unmarked left-back for an easy header.
Selhurst Park seemed stunned. But Eze, who was left out of the England squad this week as he continues his return from a hamstring injury, had other ideas and within three minutes Palace equalized. His mesmerizing dribbling left several Everton defenders dead and was ended by a clumsy challenge from Jarrad Branthwaite. The referee, Sam Barrott – a 30-year-old in charge of only his fourth Premier League game – didn’t hesitate to point to the penalty spot and Eze calmly fired the penalty past Jordan Pickford.
The hectic start showed no signs of slowing down as Palace increased the pressure and Everton almost regained the lead when Dwight McNeil fired a volley straight at Sam Johnstone. Then Eze was shown a yellow card for falling to the ground inside the penalty area following a foul by Branthwaite; Much to the Palace midfielder’s disappointment, the VAR decided there was not enough conclusive evidence to overturn the decision.
James Tarkowski seemed more comfortable marking Odsonne Édouard and came to Everton’s aid when the French striker hesitated after a pass from Eze. After being offside on several occasions, Édouard finally managed to test Pickford just before half-time, but failed to get past the England goalkeeper.
Dyche brought on Gueye at half-time as a replacement for Amadou Onana and the Senegalese midfielder was involved in the substitution that put Everton back in the lead four minutes into the second half. Mykolenko’s volley from the edge of the box bounced off the post and Doucouré reacted quickest, firing the ball past Johnstone after Jeffrey Schlupp had played it onside.
Once again it was Eze who led the fightback, linking up with Joel Ward before bursting into the box and forcing Pickford into a save at the near post. Pickford then had to rip the ball off his line after Gueye got into an altercation with Branthwaite, almost giving Palace an equaliser. Jefferson Lerma should have done better after being set up by Édouard, but his shot went wide.
Olise’s introduction was greeted with one of the loudest cheers of the afternoon and he wasted no time in announcing himself with a shot from distance that deflected over the crossbar. Hodgson was just about to put Édouard out of his misery by bringing on Jean-Philippe Mateta when Everton failed to clear and Lerma’s header put Tarkowski to sleep and the Palace striker gratefully gobbled up his fifth Premier League goal of the season.
But Palace’s hopes of victory were dashed when, four minutes from time, Gueye played a one-two with Doucouré and fired home past a desperate Johnstone, sending the traveling fans into raptures.