In a cagey game at Goodison, Silva’s late substitutions proved vital as the Blues made it three in three, seeing off a stubborn Palace side.
Everton once again lined up with Richarlison leading the line with Bernard, Sigurdsson and Theo Walcott making up the spearhead of the Toffees attack. Fans finally got to see loanee Andre Gomes in action as the midfielder paired up with ever-present Idrissa Gueye in the middle. Seamus Coleman also started after missing the previous five games.
For the most part the encounter was a very close affair with chances few and far between. The first half was certainly forgettable, both sides struggled to create and were wasteful in possession on numerous occasions. The high press once again deployed by Everton saw the Blues forcing the Eagles into mistakes. The first real chance fell to Gylfi Sigurdsson just before the half an hour mark as the midfielder latched onto a ball from Seamus Coleman before forcing Hennessey into a good save. A few minutes later and it was the hosts that could perhaps count themselves lucky as Everton once again looked vulnerable from a corner. James Tomkins found himself in space inside the box but was unable to direct his header, putting it wide.
With the visitors now starting to feel their way into the game, they began to cause problems and on 36 minutes the best chance of the half fell to Cheikhou Kouyate. The Palace midfielder again found space from a corner and forced the ball onto the bar from close range as the scores remained level.
Gylfi Sigurdsson also came close before the break curling an effort from outside the box just wide of the Eagles goal.
The second half began brightly for Everton as the hosts looked to quickly assert their authority. Palace immediately found themselves on the back foot and struggled to keep the ball as the hosts continued to pin Hodgsons men back. After efforts from Micheal Keane and Andre Gomes had failed to improve proceedings, the Toffees were left to regret the wastage of their pressure, as on the hour mark, Seamus Coleman was deemed to have tripped Wilfried Zaha inside the box. Usually reliable Luka Milivojevic stepped up from twelve yards before putting his spot-kick down the centre where Jordan Pickford was able to keep the ball out with his leg and keep the game all square, much to the Goodison faithfuls relief.
Following the wasted opportunity, the Toffees now looked to turn it up a gear. Theo Walcott had a fantastic chance to open the scoring just past the hour but his strike was well saved. With Silva looking to break the deadlock, the boss introduced Cenk Tosun as the striker replaced Bernard. Everton were now throwing everything forward but Palace bravely resisted, remaining compact and organised.
Just ten minutes from time, Silva went for broke and made the last of his inspired substitutions. Ademola Lookman and Dominic Calvert Lewin came on for Theo Walcott and Andre Gomes, who had began to tire on his debut. The pace and freshness of Everton now began to cause the Palace backline headaches and in the 87th minute the breakthrough finally came.
Ademola Lookman found space on the edge of the box before clipping a delicious chipped ball into the box where Dominic Calvert Lewin found himself unmarked and able to head the ball home as the substitutes combined, despite Wayne Hennessey getting a hand to it.
Just two minutes later and Everton put the game to bed. With Palace now pushing forward for a late equaliser, Micheal Keane played a high ball over the visitors defence seeking out Cenk Tosun. The Turk found himself in space to run onto the ball before lashing home, making it 2-0 and securing the points.
Three wins in three and eighth in the league, the side is beginning to find a way to consistently get the job done. Today the performance wasn’t great but finding a way to clinch three points in a game where the team hasn’t performed to full capacity can only be a good thing. Silva deserves huge recognition for having the bottle to chase the game as he did and get his deserved rewards. Apart from the chances off the corners and the penalty, the defence remained solid. Yerry Mina also being on the bench only shows the depth that the side now has. Overall a great win and clean sheet after an afternoon that was far from straight forward.
A huge positive i thought today was Micheal Keane, the defender was solid and a huge presence for the Blues. He was calm and controlled when asked and also looked comfortable on the ball. His assist for Cenk to also kill the game off deserves a mention after being so perfectly placed. Jordan Pickford also enjoyed a great afternoon, his penalty save was obviously hugely important but whenever asked the goalkeepers distribution was second to none.
MOTM: Micheal Keane
Next For Silva’s Men:
Up next for the Blues is a trip to Old Trafford in next Sundays late kick off.