No false dawn for Everton this time as Sean Dyche’s side shine in their thrilling win over Crystal Palace… with fighting spirit, togetherness and feel-good factor on show after struggles
- Everton continued their impressive run in the capital after beating Crystal Palace
- Sean Dyche’s side are eight points clear of the relegation zone after the victory
- Why we should get excited about Cole Palmer – Listen here to It’s All Coming Up
London Euston is a hive of activity every Saturday evening as many football fans arrive back to the capital or embark on long journeys back up north. This weekend, all you could see or hear was the euphoric hum of Evertonians toasting another away win.
They cared little that many of the direct trains back to Merseyside had been cancelled. ‘Everton, we’ve never shone so brightly,’ they sang. ‘Everton, spirit of the blues.’ And it felt apt. The fighting spirit, togetherness and feel-good factor has not shone so brightly for some years.
In beating Crystal Palace, the Toffees recorded their third win in London this season – they also beat Brentford and West Ham.
They now have more away victories than in the entirety of the last campaign. They have not been so clear of a relegation zone, eight points, in 21 months.
It also felt apt that this result came against Palace, who have been the opposition for many a key game of the last two years.
Everton moved eight points clear of the relegation zone after their victory over Crystal Palace
The triumph for Sean Dyche’s side does not feel like a false dawn with their form on the up
A 4-0 FA Cup defeat underlined Everton’s deep-lying frailties in early 2022 but then Frank Lampard’s men sealed top-flight safety with a last-day win over the Eagles.
Then the best day of his reign came with a 3-0 win. That was a false dawn and the last three points of the Lampard era, which culminated in a 10-match winless streak that saw Everton plummet into another relegation battle.
But this win at Palace does not feel like a false dawn. Everton picked up just one point from their first five games but have now won six of their last nine in all competitions, including a Carabao Cup run in which they host Fulham in the quarters.
‘Let’s say we’re earning our luck at the moment,’ said impressive midfielder James Garner. ‘We’re playing well, looking like a real team.’
And they are. Though this was not their best display, they have a mental resilience to grind out consistent results.
It is not pretty at times. In a hard-earned point against Brighton last week, they had 20 per cent possession. At Selhurst Park, they had 32 per cent but rode a storm and were clinical when they ventured forward.
Though they conceded two cheap goals at Palace, Everton look like a real Dyche team: well-drilled, tough to beat and efficient in possession.
As he said: ‘The mentality of the side was questioned before I got here and had been probably for a couple of seasons.
‘Now you are seeing signs of a team that is growing, changing the way it connects, the way it defends, the way it is committed to the cause. I think that is changing.’
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