Everton’s long wait for a return to winning ways ended on Saturday as Romelu Lukaku’s close range finish handed the Blues a 1-0 win at Crystal Palace.
Crystal Palace 0 Everton 1: Lukaku Ends Long Wait
By Eoin Leeson
IT took the big Belgian just two minutes to tap home Julian Speroni’s parry from a Steven Naismith cross and that proved to be enough for the Toffees to claim victory at Selhurst Park.
It wasn’t an easy game. Once Lukaku scored, Palace were on the attack and for periods in the game it was a back to the walls job.
However, unlike many other times this season, we were resilient, defended really well and saw out the win. It may not have been pretty, but this type of victory is exactly what we needed.
I would struggle to fault anyone who played on Saturday as everyone put in a fantastic shift and worked hard to earn us a massive three points.
In particular, Phil Jagielka was sensational at the back. His clearance off the line soon after we scored was superb. If he hadn’t made it, the game would have changed completely.
It’s difficult to criticise the team after ending our abysmal run but finding an extra level of creativity to provide ourselves, namely Lukaku, with more chances to score is important.
It didn’t matter in the end yesterday but in the future we need to be able to kill games off. Better teams will find a way through our defence.
One major positive, was keeping a clean sheet. It wasn’t just down to Jagielka either. Joel Robles was very safe in goal while Seamus Coleman, the improving Gareth Barry and the brilliant Muhamed Besic all gave excellent defensive displays.
I was really impressed by Aiden McGeady’s desire to track back and defend too.
Another big positive was beating Alan Pardew. Ending his winning start as Palace manager made the smile on my face at 5pm even bigger.
It really was glorious to have that winning feeling again and I thought Roberto put it nicely in his post-match interview when he said the game was satisfying.
We’re up to 12th with this win and I am so hoping that this game is the one that sees us find some momentum and go on good run.
Whether it will be is seriously debatable considering our next four games include the derby and trips to Stamford Bridge and the Emirates. Good, credible performances in those three games should be the aim.
Any positive results would be a bonus. A win at home to Leicester before the Arsenal game is an absolute must.
There’s a tough month ahead Blues but I hope this win has left you feeling more positive and confident than you would have been a month or so ago.
Man of the Match: Phil Jagielka