I had pretty high expectations ahead of tonight’s game…..
The Toffee Lady Review: Everton v Crystal Palace
On the back of a gritty performance away against Sunderland, we were back on our own turf so surely we would get all three points.
As you may remember from my previous post, I am quite superstitious when it comes to heading to the games.
With it being a mid week game, the routine is always different anyway, my dad works in Crewe, so he had to come home to pick us up, to then head over to Goodison. The route normally takes us around 35 minutes, but not tonight.
The tunnel traffic was merciless and we parked up at the ground with just 20 minutes to go ahead of the 7.45pm kick-off. We missed the opening minute of the game, the first time that has happened in my football-watching experience.
From then on I was uneasy, I could just sense things were not going to go our way. Everything leading up to the game had gone awry, so surely the game would too.
When the team news was announced, I was surprised but thought, yeah let’s try something new and as followers of my blog will know, I am a fan of Martinez, and in him we trust.
We heard Sharpy say on the radio that his main concern tonight was the height in Crystal Palace’s team and how we always seem to struggle against teams with big players and I agree, I think this played a part in tonight’s 3-2 defeat.
We don’t have a tall squad by any means and in the set pieces tonight, that really went against us.
I felt Leighton Baines was very off kilter tonight, not his usual self at all.
John Stones, for me, was outstanding, he battled on all game and just didn’t stop. For a player as young as him, he just seems to improve game on game, he made some excellent passes and his ability to pick out players is exceptional.
Although Ross Barkley had a few dodgy moments, overall, I thought he showed some great stamina, he just carried on powering through the tall Palace defence and created chances as much as possible.
When the double substitution was made, all around me in the stands were raised eyebrows.
Gareth Barry for Leon Osman?
I’m a fan of Osman and all, don’t get me wrong, but taking off Barry, one of the strongest, tallest players to replace him with tiny little Leon? It didn’t make sense to me, however he did inject some life into the game and managed to zip in and out of the Palace defence!
Tonight also proved why James McCarthy may well deserve Player of the Season ! We started without him, Martinez confirmed he had a muscle problem, but then introduced him to the game and again he proved pivotal. I think we missed his presence in the first half, though I’m glad Martinez rested him at the start.
No matter what we did we just didn’t take our chances.
I don’t know how many times this season I have thought, what if that had gone in or what if he had passed the ball instead of skying it?!
But that’s just part of the crazy world of football. To me, our passing didn’t seem to flow, it felt very out of sync and so many passes seemed to fall to Crystal Palace players.
I think these stats speak for themselves. OK, so we had the majority of the possession, but 17 shots, only 5 on target, 13 corners and we couldn’t convert them into winning goals? I think it was a very frustrating night all round for the Goodison faithful.
From the 86th minute when Mirallas scored, there was hope. I was personally convinced we had an equaliser in us, clearly I was proved wrong but for the last 4 minutes and 6 minutes of stoppage time (which was thoroughly deserved, thanks to Palace’s time-wasting keeper) the action was in and around the penalty area but it just wasn’t happening for us. The ball just didn’t find the back of the net.
I’m disappointed and deflated, but there is still hope for a Champions League spot.
It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings.
We’ve got Sunday to focus on now and we need to put tonight behind us and look ahead to the visit of the Red Devils.
Until next time Blues….