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December 11 2017 11.04am

Player ratings: Palace v Everton

November 19 2017

Julian Speroni

Julian Speroni

The second consecutive 2-2 scoreline at Selhurst saw Crystal Palace drop two points against a lucky Everton side. Mike Scott rates the players…

It was almost destiny that Oumar Niasse, the player who came so close to signing for Palace on transfer deadline day, would ruin the game for the Eagles. The Senegalese striker dived for the penalty that led to the visitors’ first, before capitalising on Julian Speroni’s poor decision making to level again just ahead of the break…

Julian Speroni - 5

Whereas whenever Wayne Hennessey made a howler the crowd would be all over him, the Selhurst faithful forgave Speroni for his suicidal decision making that led to Everton’s second equaliser. Having said that, his inexplicable pass to Dann, laying the ball off to him when he was in an impossible position, was really poor. He had just made Ademola Lookman look like an absolute laughing stock too, which made Niasse’s cool finish even more frustrating.

Speroni actually had a decent game otherwise, including pulling out a quality save to another Niasse strike, but he didn’t have enough else to do to make up for the moment of madness.

Joel Ward - 6

A solid display from Ward, who will not have a quieter afternoon this season, which is a strange thing to say considering Palace conceded two. A mercurial Everton defence allowed Ward to make some very promising runs, culminating in the absolutely inch-perfect cross that fell to Zaha for Palace’s second. With his final ball having been under par this season for the most part, it was a really satisfying move to watch.

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Scott Dann - 5

Dann was involved in both of the visitors’ goals, without really being responsible for either. The first saw Niasse dive as he was challenged by the defender; the second saw him receive the ball from Speroni when he was the last man, surrounded by two Everton players. He was dispossessed and Niasse cooly slotted the ball home.

Other than that, he was strong in the air, particularly from Everton set pieces, but failed to connect well with a decent cross at the other end, heading a cross wide having been left open by a lacklustre defence.

Mamadou Sakho - 6

Sakho didn’t really put a foot wrong the entire game. It was another display peppered with ice cool, last-man displays of skill that test the nerves of even the most laid back Palace fans, but they always end with the same result: a well weighted pass to a vacant teammate. He, like Dann, was strong in the air and totally out-muscled a diminutive visiting attack. Very little got past him. Which just makes it even more frustrating that Palace conceded two.

Jeffrey Schlupp - 6

Hodgson clearly sees Schlupp as one of his real utility players and he started the game at the back, rather than his recent role as a floating midfield outlet. He did well, keeping Aaron Lennon quiet, while still managing to get forward. His positional prowess was not tested by the visitors, which has often been the issue with Schlupp; he’ll need another game at the back to see if it works like it did last season.

Luka Milivojevic - 7

The best performances from Milivojevic tend to be the ones where you haven’t really noticed him, but you haven’t noticed the opposition’s attack doing much of note either. This was one of those games. He was booked for a silly foul on Niasse, but otherwise got his boot into just about everything in the first half. A slightly quieter second half merely emphasised how little Everton produced.

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Yohan Cayabe - 7

The Frenchman’s work ethic continues to reach new heights, even if his set pieces perhaps lacked the real cutting edge that they had against West Ham. He started the move than led to McArthur’s goal and proved to be a menace throughout the first hour or so. He was subbed for Jason Puncheon (5) with a few minutes to go, who didn’t have a lot of time to do much, but did produce a couple of crisp passes.

James McArthur - 7

Not satisfied with scoring Palace’s first goal of the season in the Carabao cup, he now has Palace’s quickest too, volleying in the ball on 51 seconds, after it was parried away by Jordan Pickford. His endeavour caused Everton plenty of problems. They seemed to have underestimated his influence, perhaps expecting he wouldn’t start.

He was taken off with 15 minutes to go for the returning Christian Benteke (5), who looked short of match fitness, missing a diamond of a chance after Zaha had laid it off for him for a one-on-one. He did strike one other chance well, but straight at the keeper.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek - 8

The England man played with all of the swagger of a player who was, arguably, his country’s best player last weekend. His shot in the first minute was the one that keeper Pickford could only push away to McArthur; he must have been fouled half a dozen times by a defence who did not know what to do with him. A sublime 50-yard cross field ball to start a move for Schlupp and Zaha needs to be seen to be believed. He was unlucky to find himself up against Jonjo Kenny, by far the visitors’ best defender on the day. He was an absolute menace.

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Andros Townsend - 5

This was, perhaps, Townsend’s quietest game under Hodgson. He rarely seemed to find himself in promising positions to receive the ball as a false no.9, but also didn’t seem to make too many runs with the ball to cross it in either.

Wilfried Zaha - 7

Zaha has now scored three in the last five games, finishing with a tap-in from a divine cross from Joel Ward. But it was actually a frustrating afternoon for the talisman; he was marked well by the visitors, with two defenders often working on him at once. He still made it past them plenty, but there were few notable moments coming from getting in behind. Palace simply did not seem to be able to take advantage of how much Everton’s players had to gang up on him.

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