Crystal Palace v Everton - Story of the Match
Everton earned a third win in four when Seamus Coleman's 87th-minute goal gave them a deserved 1-0 Premier League victory at Crystal Palace and ensured their season continued to gain momentum.
They had last week unexpectedly defeated Manchester City 4-0, but despite that free-scoring performance appeared at risk of dropping two points amid Palace resiliently defending their consistent and convincing attacks.
Victory strengthens Everton's grip on seventh place, and leaves relegation-threatened Palace in the bottom three, but the hosts may yet take some consolation in knowing new manager Sam Allardyce's influence is beginning to be felt.
Tweet of the match
"86 mins Palace 0-1 Everton. Coleman scores with a powerful finish after Davies' through-ball. Feels harsh, but Everton superior overall" - https://twitter.com/decwarrington/status/822846966761684992
STAR MAN: Wayne Hennessey. He will be frustrated at not earning the clean sheet his performance deserved, but at a time when Palace have been conceding too many goals and need far more solidity and stability, he produced an impressively resilient performance to limit Everton to only one goal, and none before the 87th minute. Without his defiant performance, the visitors could have easily won by four or five goals.
VIEW FROM THE BENCH: A third win in four for Everton suggests Ronald Koeman's squad is adapting to his methods after an indifferent first half to the season, and should give them significant confidence for the remainder. He is a good manager with a good squad, and there is little reason Everton cannot make significant progress in the coming 18 months having recruited Morgan Schneiderlin and Ademola Lookman, and amid the emergence of Tom Davies and Mason Holgate.
That Palace defended so well, perhaps for the first time since their form began to decline under Sam Allardyce's predecessor Alan Pardew from 2016, also said much about the manager's influence beginning to show. They were outclassed by Everton, but showed many of the qualities that will be key if they are to climb out of the bottom three, and which have been missing.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE MATCH: It did not produce a goal, and came amid Ross Barkley's numerous attacks, but the way Kevin Mirallas chested possession on the turn before testing Hennessey with a dangerous shot was as classy a sequence as any that may unfold in the Premier League this weekend. An underrated player when he is in such form.
Wayne Hennnessey: 9 (Out of 10)
James Tomkins: 6
Scott Dann: 7
Damien Delaney: 7
Joel Ward: 7
Jeffrey Schlupp: 6
James McArthur: 7
Yohan Cabaye: 6
Jason Puncheon: 5
Christian Benteke: 7
Loic Remy: 5
Lee Chung-yong (for Remy, 61): 6
Joe Ledley (for Cabaye, 72): 5
Andros Townsend (for Schlupp, 88): 5
Joel Robles: 7
Mason Holgate: 7
Ashley Williams: 7
Ramiro Funes Mori: 7
Seamus Coleman: 8
Leighton Baines: 6
Tom Davies: 7
Gareth Barry: 7
Kevin Mirallas: 8
Ross Barkley: 8
Romelu Lukaku: 8
Morgan Schneiderlin (for Barry, 59): 6
Ademola Lookman (for Mirallas, 72): 6
Phil Jagielka (for Barkley, 90+2): 5
Who's up next?
Crystal Palace v Manchester City, FA Cup fourth round, January 28
Stoke v Everton, Premier League, February 1