Idrissa Gueye scored a late winner for Everton as they eventually came out on top of an entertaining contest with Crystal Palace, with their 3-2 victory lifting them up to 14th and a point off the top half.
The sub combined with fellow goalscorer Abdoulaye Doucoure in the 86th minute to put Everton in front for a third time – and there was no way back then for a Palace side who had twice come up with equalisers.
Few would have predicted such a thriller between two sides which have had their issues in front of goal this season but both had hit the net inside four minutes.
It took Vitalii Mykolenko just 54 seconds to score his second goal in two games, heading in Jack Harrison’s inviting cross from close range. But Palace were swiftly back on level terms when the standout Eberechi Eze won a penalty and coolly converted from the spot. A fine way to celebrate his new long-term contract.
He thought he’d earned another penalty midway through the half but was instead booked for simulation, with a VAR check ruling the decision shouldn’t be overturned with potential contact from Jarrad Branthwaite – who had given away the first spot-kick – hard to judge. Everton’s players felt he should have been shown a second yellow for clipping James Garner just before the break.
The visitors made another fast start at the beginning of the second half, with Doucoure quickest to react when Mykolenko’s volley came back off a post. But Palace piled on the pressure and eventually broke through again when Odsonne Edouard converted after Jefferson Lerma looped a header into the box.
With fit-again Michael Olise subbed on in the second half for his first appearance of the season and Eze electric, the momentum seemed to be firmly with the home side. But in a rare foray forwards Gueye played a one-two to get into the area and came up with a clinical finish. It’s his first goal of his second spell at Everton and one he enjoyed.
The win keeps up Everton’s dominant record over Palace – they’ve lost just one of their last 18 meetings now – but perhaps more importantly gives them hope they are on course for a positive campaign this term. Palace missed out on a chance to go into the top 10 and sit 12th, a point ahead of Everton.
Crystal Palace: Johnstone (6), Ward (7), Andersen (7), Guehi (6), Mitchell (6), Lerma (7), Hughes (6), Eze (8), Ayew (7), Edouard (8), Schlupp (7).
Subs: Olise (6), Mateta (N/A), Ahamada (N/A)
Everton: Pickford (8), Young (7), Tarkowski (8), Branthwaite (7), Mykolenko (7), Harrison (7), Garner (7), Onana (6), McNeil (6), Doucoure (8), Calvert-Lewin (6).
Subs: Gueye (7), Beto (6), Patterson (N/A)
Player of the match: Abdoulaye Doucoure (Everton)
How Everton eventually came out on top
These sides had served up a poor 0-0 when they met at this venue in April but this was action-packed from the first whistle. Mykolenko struck inside a minute, meeting Harrison’s stood-up centre to give Sam Johnstone no chance and stun the home supporters.
- Crystal Palace: Eberechi Eze returned to the midfield in place of Cheick Doucoure, while fit-again Michael Olise made his first appearance in a matchday squad this season
- Everton: Amadou Onana took Idrissa Gueye’s midfield spot after overcoming a calf injury.
Everton almost instantly lost their advantage when Jeffrey Schlupp saw a penalty appeal against James Tarkowski waved away but it was gone with just four minutes on the clock. Ref Samuel Barrott – in just his fourth Premier League game – pointed to the spot when Eze was caught by Branthwaite’s dangled leg. The No10’s finish into the corner was so calm, so casual.
It contrasted with the livewire nature of the rest of his performance, as Palace pressed for a second and James Tarkowski was forced into a series of blocks.
Eze was centre of attention again midway through the half when he produced a wonderful turn past Amadou Onana in the box and hit the deck as Branthwaite slid in – but this time there was only a yellow card for simulation. Replays hinted at the faintest of touches but VAR opted not to overrule.
That decision came into focus just before the break when Eze clipped Garner on the edge of the box and no foul – or second yellow card – was given.
A penalty shout from Edouard for a challenge from Tarkowski, rightly turned down, and a good piece of Joel Ward defending to deny Dominic Calvert-Lewin were other dramatic moments from a thrilling half and the action continued after the break.
Everton again came out quickly, with Palace punished for half-clearing a corner when Doucoure tucked in after Mykolenko’s unfortunate effort hit the upright.
Palace’s defenders were sleeping for that goal but the home side came to life from there, with Jordan Pickford having to save from Eze and then keep out what would have been an own goal from Gueye.
Branthwaite also had to dive in to deny Edouard but there was no denying the big striker when he latched on to Lerma’s header. It looked like he had set up a big finale for Palace – but it went the other way.
Gueye – close to disaster in his own box – was the hero in the end for an Everton side who have now won back-to-back away games and are looking optimistically up the table.
Hodgson: Conceding a third goal hard to take; Eze not a diver
Crystal Palace head coach Roy Hodgson: “When we equalised [at 2-2] my major thought was we had done very well to come back from those cold showers at the start of each half and if we continued playing sensible football we might even get a winner – but I wasn’t hell bent on that at the expense of conceding a third goal. I don’t think we opened ourselves up. We conceded from a good move.
“It’s sad. Frustrated. We had to work hard to come from behind twice. We put in a very good effort and worked hard to create those chances and half chances. To then concede a third goal was hard to take.”
On Eze being booked for diving: “He doesn’t simulate. If he gets into a situation where he’s beaten someone on the goal-line and is looking for a chance to shoot and score or pass to someone else, he doesn’t simulate. Whether it’s a penalty I don’t know. It only makes a difference that Eze has to be very careful after that. He bumps into someone and they’re shouting for him to be sent off.
Dyche: We’re changing the Everton story
Everton head coach Sean Dyche: “Topsy turvy. We started so well, they responded with a moment we should have defended earlier. Second half I thought they were very good, we had to work hard. The mentality I’ve tried to work with the players on is finding different ways to win games and we’ve done that. We’re beginning to change the mentality towards these games – trying to find ways to affect the game even when it’s not your day, and we showed that.
“It’s a work in progress. It’s taken time. We can only offer guidance. The players have got to own it and I think this group are. There’s real talent here. But what about when it’s not your day, the hard yards? The questions Everton have had – are they soft, can they win games? We’re making steps towards changing that story.”
Analysis: Eze for England
Sky Sports’ Peter Smith at Selhurst Park:
With James Maddison out injured, Gareth Southgate surely has a simple decision to make when he calls up a replacement. Eberechi Eze for England.
The Crystal Palace No 10 was electric on Saturday. Back from injury and fresh from signing his new long-term deal with the club this week, Eze brought energy and quality to Palace’s attacking play, which has lacked drive at times this season.
He was at the heart of every good move the home side created in the first half, including winning and converting the penalty which got his side back on level terms. It really was the most relaxed spot-kick you’ll see.
Eze thought he should have been awarded another penalty soon after but was instead booked for simulation. VAR replays were inconclusive as to whether Jarrad Branthwaite made contact after Eze’s sublime skill took him past Amadou Onana but a yellow card seemed harsh. “Eze doesn’t simulate,” said Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson afterwards. It hardly knocked him off course, though.
Hodgson – who knows a thing or two about international football – said Eze would be a suitable alternative for Southgate in the absence of Maddison. On this evidence, he looks more than ready for another call-up.
Everton on a roll in London
Sky Sports’ Ben Grounds:
It is quite remarkable to think Everton have now collected more Premier League wins in London than in Liverpool so far this season. Having conquered the west with victory over Brentford and overcome West Ham in the east, their most impressive result came in the south against Crystal Palace.
Roy Hodgson had arguably the game’s best player in Eze, and Michael Olise’s second-half return off the bench meant this wasn’t exactly the best time to be facing the Eagles.
But Everton emerged with all three points, thanks in no small part to their improving left-back Vitalii Mykolenko.
The Ukrainian has scored two goals in his last two Premier League matches for Everton, which is twice as many as he managed in his previous 53 league appearances for the club.
Mykolenko didn’t start the season due to injury, but since the first international break of the campaign, Sean Dyche has shown faith in him. Following his precise header just 52 seconds into this contest, he was soon faced with his primary challenge of keeping Eze quiet.
While Palace immediately responded, Mykolenko shook off that setback, was heavily involved in his side’s second goal and showed he is becoming increasingly streetwise as he picked up a late booking in preventing Olise from dribbling past him at a key moment in stoppage time.
It was a yellow card worth taking and this is a smarter outfit this season that means Everton sit the furthest away from the drop zone than ever before in the past 743 days.
Opta stats – Everton leave it late after fast start
- Everton have scored more goals in the opening minute of Premier League games than any other side in the competition’s history (13).
- Only Erling Haaland (13) and Callum Wilson (10) have more Premier League away goals since February 4 2023 (Sean Dyche’s first game as Everton manager) than Abdoulaye Doucoure (7).
- Crystal Palace’s Odsonne Edouard has now scored as many Premier League goals this season (5) after 11 appearances as he did in the whole of last season (5 goals, 35 appearances). His five goals this season is as many as he managed in his previous 44 Premier League games.
After the international break, Crystal Palace travel to Luton on Saturday November 25; kick-off 3pm.
Meanwhile, Everton host Man Utd on Sunday November 26, live on Super Sunday on Sky Sports; kick-off 4.30pm.