Eagles Come Up Just Short In Defeat At The Hands Of Everton

Once again, VAR will be talked about far more than what was a very entertaining game between two sides playing good football in just the third Premier League weekend of the season.


26th September 2020


Crystal Palace 1-2 Everton


Selhurst Park Stadium, Holmesdale Road, Selhurst, London SE25 6PU


Behind closed doors


REFEREE – Kevin Friend

ASSISTANTS – Simon Beck, Eddie Smart, Gavin Ward (fourth official)

VAR – Anthony Taylor, Gary Beswick (assistant)


BOOKINGS – Wilfried Zaha (23), James McArthur (45), Joel Ward (58), Richarlison (60)


Dominic Calvert-Lewin (10), Cheikhou Kouyate (26), Richarlison (40 pen)


Cheikhou Kouyate


Let us address the elephant in the room to begin with. The penalty awarded against Joel Ward should never have been awarded – it was neither handball and had VAR allowed the play to continue, an Everton player would have been offside had the ball not hit the hand. The common response has been that Palace gained from a similar decision last weekend against United, but we said then that was also not a penalty but that was not the decider.

It was a shame as that one decision ruined what was a good game at Selhurt Park between two sides in good form. After going in at the break a goal down, Palace really gave it a go in the second half and did not really allow the visitors another clear cut chance on goal. The pleasing thing is that if the Eagles continue to be this competitive this season then there will be nothing to worry about with plenty of options at Roy Hodgson’s disposal.

Special mention to Ray Lewington prowling the touchline the whole game encouraging every single Palace players out there.


Two penalty claims on Joel Ward for handball. The first not given, the second was after referee Kevin Friend was sent to take a look for himself at the screen. We can hardly complain after the award at United last weekend but neither should have been awarded.


“I thought Everton were the better side in the first half and Palace were in the second. The Toffees had more penetration in the final third though and looked likely to increase the lead rather than be pegged back. I thought Eze and Townsend were a threat and they look like they will give teams a hard time this season. I was relieved at the final whistle but make no mistake this was Everton’s toughest game so far so I’m delighted to get the win. All the best to Palace who I think can have a good season playing like that.”BARRY CASS


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.

“Overall a competitive high tempo game between two well matched teams. Both sets of players closed the opposition space down effectively allowing few goal scoring opportunities from open play for either team. Unfortunately though much of the post match discussion will centre around the award of a penalty for handball against Ward following a VAR review. It’s becoming obvious that even players are nonplussed by the interpretation of the handball rule. Personally, handball should always be awarded by deliberate use of the arm to gain an unfair advantage. Using slow motion in the application of VAR also sometimes gives the impression of unnatural movement by the arm. The ball striking Ward’s arm didn’t satisfy either of the aforementioned criteria. Referee Friend’s interpretation ultimately decided the outcome of the match.

Everton’s first goal was well crafted although from a coach’s viewpoint, Mitchell probably got caught ball watching and measured against his usual high standards Guaita maybe could have done better dealing with a ball at a comfortable saving height. However, to the amazement of most Palace supporters we equalised from a corner kick with Kouyate arriving late at the far post against poor zonal marking by the Everton defence. The disputed penalty award allowed Everton to go into the half-time interval with a 2-1 lead.

Palace controlled a significant part of the 2nd half with decent possession without creating a clear goal scoring opportunity. Although substitutions or lack of by Hodgson have been a continuing complaint from Palace fans, at least today, although we may not agree with the personnel, he did make all three changes in an attempt to score an equaliser.

On individual performances, I think Eze made a promising contribution in his first start at this level. He certainly has that x-factor and with more experience his decision making when in possession will undoubtedly improve. Also a special mention for Townsend who had another assist today but more importantly is back to the player we saw during the 2018/19 season. However, in another decent team performance today, my man of the match goes to Kouyate who not only scored our only goal but was a colossus in defence reading the game well whilst making a number of timely interceptions and tackles.

Onwards we go to Stamford Bridge for our next fixture. Up the Palace!”


31 VICENTE GUAITA (6) – Should have done better for the opening goal but no chance for the penalty. Not particularly tested for the rest of the game.

2 JOEL WARD (6 – BOOKED!) – Busy game for the defender making his 250th club appearance. Survived one penalty claim, not so lucky with the second but not sure what he was supposed to do with his hand that close to the ball.

12 MAMADOU SAKHO (6) – Worked well with Kouyate and forming a decent partnership together which has been forced due to injuries.

8 CHEIKHOU KOUYATE (8 – GOAL!) – Great header from an excellent corner to equalise and should have had a second midway through the second half. Great battle with Calvert-Lewin and looking settled in the centre of defence.

39 TYRICK MITCHELL (6) – Caught out for the opening goal but did well after that working up and down the pitch. Fantastic challenge late in the game.

22 JAMES MCCARTHY (7) – We would be a poorer team without the Irishman who battles and shouts for everything and gets under the opposition players skin.

18 JAMES MCARTHUR (7 – BOOKED!) – The 200th Premier League appearance for the Scot and did what he has done with each of the previous 199 that has gone before. You know what you are going to get from him. Replaced by 44 JAIRO RIEDEWALD (6) on 88 minutes to provide much needed fresh legs as Palace pushed for an equaliser.

10 ANDROS TOWNSEND (8 – ASSIST!) – Found the head of Kouyate with a pin point corner to contribute to the equaliser and was very much on point with his deliveries all game. Put in a real shift up and down the pitch, one moment making a last ditch block in his own penalty area.

25 EBERECHI EZE (7) – First Premier League start for the new signing. Lively throughout and tidy on the ball. One run at goal decided to pass rather than take a shot as it looked to open up. Replaced by 23 MICHY BATSHUAYI (6) on 75 minutes but could not get into the swing of the game and grab himself a chance.

11 WILFRIED ZAHA (6 – BOOKED!) – Found himself in the book for a quite ridiculous coming together that Mina made a meal of but was always a threat. Could not find a clear opportunity in front of goal and was not really on par with his last two games.

9 JORDAN AYEW (6) – No lack of effort but no real goal threat from the Ghanaian. Replaced by 20 CHRISTIAN BENTEKE (6) on 82 minutes and looked threatening when he came on but nothing clear cut dropped his way.


13 Wayne Hennessey, 34 Martin Kelly, 4 Luka Milivojevic, 7 Max Mayer


1 Pickford, 23 Coleman, 5 Keane, 13 Mina, 12 Digne, 16 Doucoure, 6 Allan, 21 Andre Gomes, 19 Rodriguez, 9 Calvert-Lewin, 7 Richarlison

SUBSTITUTES – 2 Kenny, 10 Sigurdsson (replaced Andre Gomes on 76 minutes), 17 Iwobi (replaced Rodriguez on 86 minutes), 20 Bernard, 26 Davies, 27 Kean, 27 Davies (replaced Richarlison on 90 minutes), 49 Lossl


ROY HODGSON  “I predict what will happen is players will start flicking the ball on to a hand and screaming ‘handball’. A really good game destroyed by a decision. I do not believe in the rule. People in football find it hard to accept. The referee doesn’t think it is handball either. He doesn’t want to give it but has to because that’s what he is told to do. We have lost in a way I find totally unacceptable.”

CARLO ANCELOTTI  “I’m really pleased for the result. The first half was good, second half was more difficult because Palace put a lot of pressure on us. We defended well but we could play better with the ball. It is good to see the spirit in the team in this moment. We have started the season well. We have to look only for the momentum, that is good in this moment. In a busy time with another game on Wednesday, we have to keep the motivation and ambition. The danger is behind us all the time when we do not behave properly.”


The Who Scored man of the match was Cheikhou Kouyate (7.9) while the the most shots were from Dominic Calvert-Lewin (4). The most tackles were by Tyrick Mitchell (6) while Andros Townsend (4) had the most dribbles.

  • Team rating: 6.48 – 6.82
  • Total shots: 8 – 10
  • Shots on target: 1 – 5
  • Possession: 40.5% – 59.5%
  • Pass success: 77% – 84%
  • Passes: 370 – 524
  • Dribbles: 8 – 7
  • Aerials won: 13 – 20
  • Tackles: 22 – 18
  • Fouls: 16 – 15
  • Corners: 7 – 6
  • Saves: 3 – 0
  • Dispossessed: 11 – 15


Palace remain on 6 points after 3 games played which should be a top ten position when all the games are done across the weekend.


03/10/2020 Chelsea (a) – Premier League (12.30 kick off on BT Sport)

17/10/2020 Brighton & Hove Albion (h) – Premier League (3pm kick off)

24/10/2020 Fulham (a) – Premier League (3pm kick off)


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