Everton 1-1 Crystal Palace
- Goals: James Rodríguez (£7.7m) | Michy Batshuayi (£5.7m)
- Assists: Seamus Coleman (£4.8m) | Jeffrey Schlupp (£5.3m)
- Bonus points: Rodríguez x3, Coleman x2, Batshuayi x1
Monday-night goalscorer James Rodríguez‘s (£7.7m) return from injury could be the catalyst Everton need to solve their problems at home this season.
The Colombian international was a standout star as Crystal Palace held the Toffees to a 1-1 draw in Gameweek 30, although his colleagues failed to live up to his level of performance.
Everton now have just one win at Goodison Park in their last eight Premier League matches there and, after winning four from a possible seven before that, Carlo Ancelotti’s men have drawn twice and lost five home outings.
However, in a rather strange paradox, Goodison Park has been the scene of Rodríguez’s best performances this season, which implies Fantasy Premier League managers could get value for money between now and Gameweek 38.
Not including Fantasy assists, he has been involved in 12 goals in 14 home matches in all competitions since joining Everton. In the league, he has produced five goals and three assists at Goodison, working out at 0.7 per game.
It must be said that Everton’s latest home disappointment was not without persistence on their part, arguably more encouraging than if they were failing to create chances.
Against Palace, they mustered 15 shots, their second-highest tally in a league match this season, behind only their 5-2 win over West Bromwich Albion in Gameweek 2 (17).
Crucially, on the Fantasy Football Scout Season Ticker, Everton rank inside the top six for fixtures over the next seven matches.
During that period, they host Spurs, Aston Villa, Sheffield United and Wolves, four teams who have struggled for clean sheets of late and could allow Rodríguez to continue his notable home form.
That’s provided the Colombian international can stay fit, of course, having missed two significant chunks of the 2020/21 campaign and only just returning from his most recent absence on Monday.
Still, Ancelotti appears to be on top of managing that issue. Long-term absentee Jean-Philippe Gbamin (£5.0m) replaced Rodríguez in the 79th minute in Gameweek 30 to allow him some rest.
“Gbamin is here for at least two years. He has a strong desire to play. I have a strong possibility to give him minutes.” – Carlo Ancelotti
Meanwhile, potential Rodríguez punters should remember Everton’s run-in also includes trips to Brighton, Arsenal, West Ham and Manchester City. And, it must be said, the former Real Madrid man has offered little in the way of Fantasy returns on the road this season with one goal and one assist in eight such appearances.
With a sizeable backing behind Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.6m) in Gameweek 30, it was his strike partner Richarlison (£8.0m) who dominated the shot count on Monday night.
The return of Rodríguez had suggested Everton might play a front-three like earlier in the season, with the Colombian flanking a spearheading Calvert-Lewin on the opposite flank to Richarlison.
However, against Crystal Palace, Rodríguez sat in a number 10 role behind a more traditional two-man strike-force, a set-up that has traditionally favoured Richarlison, and not Calvert-Lewin, in terms of volume of shots.
In the sixth minute, a Luka Milivojevic (£5.6m) mistake allowed André Gomes (£5.3m) to slide the Brazilian in rather than Calvert-Lewin.
In the 20th minute, Seamus Coleman‘s (£4.8m) cross was too high for Calvert-Lewin before Richarlison nodded over.
The former Watford man burst through the middle again just two minutes later only for Vicente Guaita (£4.8m) to make two smart saves.
Prior to nodding over a Rodríguez free-kick, Richarlison also weighed heavily into a debate over who would strike a 39th-minute direct dead-ball opportunity, holding off interest from Lucas Digne (£6.2m), Gylfi Sigurdsson (£6.8m) and Rodríguez – although he put his effort over the bar.
And in the closing stages, Richarlison forced a low, stretched save from Guaita.
Whether or not his persistence can turn into attacking returns in the coming Gameweeks remains to be seen, although Richarlison remains Everton’s third-highest points-scorer this season, his tally of 96 behind only Calvert-Lewin (138) and Michael Keane (100).
Interest in Everton defenders is expected to deteriorate, especially with a host of Wildcard squads expected to appear after the Gameweek 31 deadline.
With matches against West Bromwich Albion, Burnley and Crystal Palace on offer, Digne earned 250,000 new owners after Gameweek 25 but he has largely failed to deliver on his price tag.
In their last four matches, Everton have conceded four goals and registered just one clean sheet. Upcoming meeting with Spurs (Gameweek 32) and Arsenal (Gameweek 33) will hardly inspire confidence in a buck to that trend.
On the injury front, Alex Iwobi (£5.9m) and Allan (£5.2m) missed out with minor knocks while Gomes was forced off with a hamstring problem during the first half.
“We had a little problem in the last few days with Iwobi and Allan. Not a big deal but they are not able to play.” – Carlo Ancelotti
Everton XI (3-4-1-2): Olsen; Holgate, Mina, Keane; Digne, A Gomes (Sigurdsson 31′), T Davies, Coleman (Godfrey 76′); Rodríguez (Gbamin 79′); Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin.
Crystal Palace XI (4-4-2): Guaita; van Aanholt, Cahill, Kouyaté, J Ward; Eze, Riedewald (Schlupp 68′), Milivojevic, Ayew (Batshuayi 84′); Zaha, Benteke (Mateta 77′).
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