A disappointing loss at Goodison Park but defeat can be a positive as long as the players, staff and fans learn something from it. Here’s what TEB learnt.
1. Mamadou Sakho is just as integral to this Palace side as Wilfried Zaha. The Palace back four is markedly better and more settled when the influential Frenchman plays, which was clear for all to see when he came on against Newcastle United last weekend. Against Everton, the makeshift partnership of James Tomkins and Timothy Fosu-Mensah were dragged wide for the first two goals, leaving easy finishes for Gylfi Sigurdsson and Oumar Niasse.
2. Debutant Alexander Sørloth looks promising. The £10million purchase of the big Norwegian seemed a big risk at the time but he coped well with the speed and physicality of the game against the Toffees. An goal early in his Palace career would be excellent to give him the momentum all strikers crave.
3. Roy Hodgson does not make substitutions because his bench is of poor quality, not because he is allergic to making them. The injuries and lack of investment has decimated the Palace squad, leaving Hodgson with a real lack of options. There was a suggestion that his unwillingness to make a change was a cause for the injury crisis, but this is certainly not the case. He is purely working with a decent starting eleven and a lack of options elsewhere. Unfortunately, nobody on the bench would have changed the game yesterday.
4. Jarosław Jach clearly has a long way to go before he is ready for Premier League football. The Polish defender featured for the under 23 side last Monday alongside Erdal Rakip, however, unlike Rakip he failed to even make the bench against Everton despite the injury crisis in the back line. Instead, Hodgson opted to move natural right-back Fosu-Mensah into the centre and pick veteran Damien Delaney in reserve. That is as clear evidence as possible that Jach is not deemed quite ready.
5. Palace need points from their next five games and they cannot be viewed as free hits. The Eagles face top six contenders Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool within their next five games, as well as a trip to relegation rivals Huddersfield Town. Points in these games kept Palace up last season and they might need to do so again this campaign. Momentum is needed heading into the final games of the season, which include games against fellow strugglers Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion.