Conor Gallagher’s brace earned Crystal Palace a much-deserved 3-1 victory over Everton in the Premier League, ending a run of three consecutive losses for Patrick Vieira’s side.
The young Englishman has established himself as the signing of the season after two goals today, including a wonderful long-range effort in injury time, has now been directly involved in nine goals for the Eagles (6 goals 3 assists). The Chelsea loanee has been giving an excellent account of himself in south London and is now surely in Thomas Tuchel’s long-term plans at Stamford Bridge.
He is Palace’s leading scorer in the division, and it isn’t surprising because the young Englishman always gets himself into great positions as his goals this evening prove. But it’s not just his work in attacking areas that has stood out, as his work out of possession has also been excellent. The 21-year-old embodies the perfect example of a midfielder in the modern game and there have not been many better than him in the top-flight this year. He has already earned his first England cap, and while his call-up came as a result of players pulling out, it was fully merited and given his showings this season, there should be many more to come.
Vieira will be delighted with the performances he is getting out of the loanee, who is flourishing in the Frenchman’s system. He is playing more freely in this expansive style of play which is very different to the role he had with West Bromwich Albion last season, and he is thriving at Selhurst Park - with his second goal of the evening something to behold. As Seamus Coleman rushed to get the ball up the field, he intercepted a pass and then curled the ball into the top corner from 25 years to seal all three points for the Vieira's side.
Palace were thoroughly deserving of their win over an Everton side that could not pick up where they left off on Monday night. Jordan Ayew had an excellent chance in the early stages but he hit his effort straight at Jordan Pickford when he had the option to lay the ball off for Wilfried Zaha to score. The Eagles were in complete control of proceedings in the early stages and were constantly attacking Everton’s third. The Toffees did grow into the game and Demarai Gray had their first attempt of the game, but it was a comfortable save for Vicente Guaita. Chances then started to come at both ends and the deadlock was broken just before the break. A weak pass from Gray gifted the ball to Ayew who played the ball across to Gallagher who smashed the ball into the back of the net.
Everton struggled to match Palace in the second half and they conceded a second from a corner as Ben Godfrey missed the ball and it left James Tomkins to poke the ball home from close range. That goal came after the travelling fans were irked with Rafa’s decision to substitute Richarlison and replace him with Salomon Rondon, but that decision paid off as the Venezuelan was able to pull one back for Benitez’s side. The Toffees even had a great chance to equalise through Anthony Gordon, but he was denied by Guaita. Then Gallagher was on hand in the dying stages to curl in a delightful effort into the top-right corner to wrap up the three points for the hosts.
Mason Mount and Jamie Vardy are the only Englishman to have had more goal involvements in the Premier League this season than Gallagher and if he keeps up this sort of form, he could well top that chart come May. One thing is for sure, Chelsea have another gem on their hands.