BPL Mid-Week Recap: Crystal Palace stall Everton fourth place dreams, Arsenal recapture the spot, more


Staff Writer

Everton had a fantastic chance to keep their hold of fourth place and a coveted Champions League place. Winners of six in a row and Crystal Palace winners of three, something had to give.

Unfortunately for Everton, Palace ran out 3-2 winners at Goodison Park.

In Palace’s strong run to Premier League safety, Jason Puncheon continues to be a vital part. With four goals now in three games, he put the Eagles ahead in the 23rd minute. Yannick Bolasie‘s cross was parried by Tim Howard, but it fell to Marouane Chamakh. He picked out Puncheon, who fired home to open the scoring.

The lead was doubled in the 49th minute. Bolasie again was very much involved. It was his corner that found the head of Scott Dann, who nodded home.

Everton never quit and pulled a goal back in the 61st minute. It was second half substitute Steven Naismith that found the back of  the net. Kevin Mirallas found the head of Leighton Baines with his cross. The left back headed towards Naismith, who was able to get the ball over the line.

However, it was Palace who again stunned the Goodison crowd, scoring a third. Puncheon found Cameron Jerome, who coolly slotted the ball home in the 73rd minute.

Everton was able to find another goal to keep them hoping they could get a result out of the match. Mirallas ran onto a through ball from Ross Barkley and fired his shot past Julian Speroni.

With six minutes of stoppage-time, Everton continued to poke and prod for an equalizer. In the end, they couldn’t find one, dropping a massive three points.

The Toffees now sit a point behind Arsenal in the table, while Palace have just about wrapped up Premier League safety.

Here are the match highlights:

Other Premier League Results

1. Podolski Fires Gunners To Fourth– Arsenal weren’t full of confidence throughout the FA Cup semi-final against Wigan and again looked off the pace for most of the opening half against West Ham, but managed to put it all together for a late run and victory.

The visitors were able to get on the score sheet as the first half neared a close in the 40th minute. Matt Jarvis headed home at the back post after Antonio Nocerino‘s initial effort was saved.

Going down a goal seemed to wake Arsenal up. Lukas Podolski equalized just four minutes after falling behind. Santi Cazorla found Podolski in the box, who did ever so brilliantly to spin and fire his shot on goal. Olivier Giroud gave the Gunners the all important advantage in the 55th minute. Thomas Vermalen lobbed a pass towards Giroud as Winston Reid and Andy Carroll tried to block him off. However, the Frenchman had a fantastic touch to bring the ball down with his left foot and then fired with his right through Adrian‘s legs.

Podolski then added a third in the 78th minute. Giroud crossed in from the right as Aaron Ramsey did well to head the ball towards Podolski, who fired the ball to the back of the net.

Arsenal now control fourth spot in the race for a Champions League place.

2. Manchester City Stunned By Black Cats– Manchester City’s title hopes were still in sight with a visit from Sunderland on the cards. At the final whistle, those hopes look further in the rearview.

City took the lead after two minutes and it appeared it would be easy sailing for the title hopefuls. After some nice interplay from Alvaro Negredo and Sergio Aguero, the former stepped over a return pass, allowing Fernandinho to score at the back post. 

However, City never built upon that early goal. Without putting Sunderland away, the Black Cats were always within striking distance. That is exactly what they did with a pair of goals from Connor Wickham. The first came in the 73rd minute. Emanuele Giaccherini floated in a cross and Wickham was on hand to turn the ball into the net. The two combined again for the second. Giaccherini raced from his own half, picked out Wickham who delivered the goods, beating Joe Hart. 

A mistake from Black Cats goalkeeper Vito Mannone cost the club a vital three points. Mannone got his fingertips to Samir Nasri‘s shot, but the ball trickled over the line.

The goal saved City’s blushes, but certainly did not save their title dreams.