Benteke Finds Net But Cannot Prevent Palace Falling To Defeat

A spirited performance was not enough as the Eagles returned the South London with nothing ahead of a week off that really must be used wisely ahead of the run in where points are very much needed.


8th February 2020


Everton 3-1 Crystal Palace


Goodison Park, Goodison Road, Liverpool L4 4EL




REFEREE – David Coote

ASSISTANTS – Lee Betts, Nick Hopton, Paul Tierney (assistant)

VAR – Stuart Attwell, Andy Halliday (assistant)


Yellow cards – James McCarthy (10)


Bernard (18), Christian Benteke (51), Richarlison (59), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (88)


Christian Benteke


Palace did not deserve the scoreline as they performed much better than it suggests but they did not do themselves any favours. All three goals conceded were avoidable and once again the players took a while to get into the game. Hit on the counter when dictating the game after equalising but there were too many average perfomances in a side that is crying out for some real quality. With 12 games left to play and a break coming up, we are sleepwalking into trouble unless we start to buck the recent trend of results. This formation and tactics week in week out are simply not working and Roy Hodgson and his coaching staff much start thinking outside the box to get us over the line.


A red card referral for James McCarthy while there was no second look at the penalty claim after Wilf went down in the area – work that one out.


Bob White was a coach at Palace under the tenure of Steve Coppell and Alan Smith and will be sharing his point of view each week in our review article.

“There is an established adage in the Premier League that the team who scores first in a game rarely loses and more often than not wins. Again today we started the game slowly, on the back foot, went a goal behind and then had to play catch up to gain anything from the afternoon. In summary, a poor one paced performance during the whole of the first half. On a positive note, we began the second half playing more directly and at a higher tempo. Consequently, Benteke converted with a drilled low strike under the body of Pickford. Hopes began to rise of us gaining all three points but all optimism was quickly extinguished by a fine individual goal by Richarlson. Cahill possibly ushered Richarlson the wrong way allowing him inside to open up a far post finish. Everton’s third goal finished the game as a contest. Worryingly we conceded again from a corner kick.

A usually secure defence has now conceded 8 goals in the last 4 games and our problems compounded with only 3 goals scored in the same fixtures. This is relegation form. Realistically, a 38 points total will probably ensure Premier League safety this season but as it currently stands it’s difficult to know where the points required will come from. Of course a win in our next game against Newcastle would change the mood of everyone involved with the club such are the ebbs and flows of football.

Going forwards in the short term, now is not the time to debate the pros and cons of our recruitment strategy, investment or infrastructure. Like it or not we are where we are. It’s a case of all hands to the pump to focus on quickly turning our fortunes around. As fans, we can play our part at every game by fully supporting the team until we at least guarantee safety

Tactically during the break, I hope Roy and Ray reflect upon the strengths and weaknesses in our squad. We lack the creativity in midfield to consistently unlock defences so an alternative approach is required. In my opinion it’s a tactical change to becoming more direct, with a higher tempo from the start, quality crosses and consistently more bodies in the opposition penalty box. A starting attacking line up of Tosun, Ayew, Townsend and Zaha with only two central midfielders (McArthur and Kouyate) should provide us with enough pace, skill and physicality to create problems for most defences. A focus on improving our corner kicks defensively and offensively wouldn’t go amiss either! Our next four fixtures will decide whether we are well on the way to safety or deep in the relegation mire. Up the Palace!”


31 VICENTE GUAITA (6) – Very little chance with the goals but made a cracking save from a Sigurdsson effort to keep the scoreline down.

2 JOEL WARD (6) – Another defender that had a difficult afternoon which has more to do with the failure to get another full back in. Replaced by 8 CHEIKHOU KOUYATE (6) on 79 minutes and got involved straight away but could not influence the game.

5 JAMES TOMKINS (6) – Another injury for the centre back who struggled all afternoon. Looked out of position for the opening goal and missed a challenge before the second. Replaced by 6 SCOTT DANN (6) on 61 minutes who slotted in and looked solid for the half hour he was called upon.

24 GARY CAHILL (6) – All over the place in what was probably his worst game in a Palace shirt. Should have showed Richarlison down the line instead of inside before he went on and scored the crucial second goal.

3 PATRICK VAN AANHOLT (6) – Had an effort deflected onto the post in one of very few forrays forward but guilty of missing the tackle out wide ahead of the opening goal.

4 LUKA MILIVOJEVIC (6) – As much as the defence looked fragile, the captain struggled to protect the backline enough.

22 JAMES MCCARTHY (6 – BOOKED!) – Early booking to his name against his former employers curtailed his usual combative style which led to his substitution. Replaced by 7 MAX MEYER (6) on 68 minutes who got more time from the bench but could not influence the game enough.

18 JAMES MCARTHUR (7) – Busy all afternoon. Found himself on the ball on one occassion but did not see Zaha who would have been through on goal. Terrier like performance, winning the ball back several times.

11 WILFRIED ZAHA (7 – ASSIST!) – Frustrating first half and contributed to the opening goal after losing the ball too easily. Had a big say as the game wore on with some tricky play and an assist. We really need him to be firing on all cyclinders from the off if we are to keep ourselves away from trouble.

9 JORDAN AYEW (7) – Not as effective as he was in the lone striker role but was good on the ball and in possession as he kept on trying to work an opening.

17 CHRISTIAN BENTEKE (8 – GOAL!) – Not much more could be asked of the Belgian striker, a real number nine performance with a goal, hold up play, flick ons and hit the crossbar. A popular goalscorer and we can all hope there is more to come before the end of the season.


13 Wayne Hennessey, 39 Tyrick Mitchell, 44 Jairo Riedewald, 10 Andros Townsend


1 Pickford, 5 Keane, 12 Digne, 13 Mina, 23 Coleman, 10 Sigurdsson, 11 Walcott, 18 Schneidelin, 20 Bernard, 7 Richarlison, 9 Calvert-Lewin

Substitutes – 22 Stekelenburg, 2 Holgate (replaced Sigurdsson on 86 minutes), 3 Baines, 19 Sidibe (replaced Walcott on 26 minutes), 17 Iwobi, 26 Davies (replaced Bernard on Bernard on 65 minutes), 27 Kean


ROY HODGSON – “We did not start as well as we would have liked, but when we equalised it was the result of quite a lot of pressure. We have a bit less than the team’s performance deserved and it is another defeat that we are unhappy about.”

CARLO ANCHELOTTI – “The best thing today is the result as the performance was not good. It was a difficult game with a lot of interruptions, so we were not able to keep the intensity. The target since I arrived was to get into Europe – now we have a possibility to think about the Europa League.”

CHRISTIAN BENTEKE – “This was the hardest moment of my career so far in England, so I was happy to score. But we did not win and we are in a really bad mood.”

JORDAN PICKFORD – “It was disgusting and I hold my hands up for that. I reset and I never let anything affect me.”


The Who Scored man of the match was Richarlison (8.8) who also had the most shots (5). The most tackles were by Lucas Digne, Morgan Schneiderlin, James McArthur and James McCarthy (5) while the most dribbles were from Jordan Ayew (7).

  • Team rating: 7.01 – 6.47
  • Total shots: 14 – 10
  • Shots on target: 8 – 2
  • Possession: 46.4% – 53.6%
  • Pass success: 73% – 77%
  • Dribbles: 12 – 16
  • Aerials won: 27 – 26
  • Tackles: 19 – 14
  • Corners: 4 – 6
  • Dispossessed: 8 – 12


Palace remain 14th in the table with 30 points from 26 games, ahead of Brighton in 15th and behind Southampton in 13th.


22/02/2020 Newcastle United (h – 3pm)

29/02/2020 Brighton & Hove Albion (a – 12.30pm)

07/03/2020 Watford (h – 3pm)


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