Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira says the club is enjoying an “exciting period” after booking their place in the FA Cup semi-finals with a dominant 4-0 win over Everton at Selhurst Park.
First-half goals from Marc Guehi and Jean-Philippe Mateta put them in full control before Wilfried Zaha and Will Hughes secured the win, as the hosts’ verve and attacking purpose overpowered a poor Toffees side.
“Going to Wembley is fantastic,” Vieira told ITV after the game. “You can hear the atmosphere in the stadium, the fans; this is what they wanted and we wanted to give it to them.
“They’ve been fantastic in getting behind the team. It is just a step forward; there is a long way to go. This is an exciting period for us, we will enjoy it and we will enjoy today.”
Palace will meet Chelsea, who beat Middlesbrough on Saturday, for a place in the final.
Such a heavy defeat for Everton looked unlikely as they made a ferocious start, almost taking the lead inside the first minute through Michael Keane before Richarlison tangled with Guehi but was ruled to be offside.
Vieira admitted his side were under pressure from the start, but said not conceding an early goal was key to the result.
“We went through difficult times in the game, especially the first 15 or 20 minutes. But we didn’t concede; when we scored first, we started to believe more and managed to win the game.
“The crucial point was the first 15 minutes because they were on top of us; they had momentum.
“We showed maturity because we went longer and played for the second ball – it got us into the game.”
After Everton’s Andros Townsend was forced off with an injury, the hosts settled down and Guehi put them ahead on 25 minutes with a powerful header from Michael Olise’s pinpoint corner.
Everton’s poor marking almost cost them again moments later as Zaha got across Godfrey to meet Mateta’s byeline cross, only to fire narrowly wide.
With half-time looming, Palace made it 2-0. Eberechi Eze combined with Zaha, who reversed roles with Mateta, crossing low for the striker to finish emphatically past Jordan Pickford.
Striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin was summoned at half-time by Everton, but there was no immediate upturn in fortune for Frank Lampard’s side, who lacked ideas and energy.
Zaha made the result sure 11 minutes from time, slamming home the rebound after Olise’s looped shot came back off the post.
And, after a VAR check for handball, Hughes compounded Everton’s misery with a close-range finish in the closing stages.
Zaha no longer the only star at Palace
There was a time when Palace needed Zaha to shine if they were to get a result, but this was another great example of Patrick Vieira’s side now having plentiful routes to victory.
The Ivorian played his part with an assist and a late goal, but there was also much creativity on show in the final third from Eze, who has recently returned from a long-term injury, and Olise.
Conor Gallagher put in another superb performance, dictating the play against an Everton side with no ideas in response. Whoever meets Palace at Wembley will face a tough task.
Toffees come unstuck again
If Thursday’s victory over Newcastle offered hope of a late-season revival for Everton, Sunday was a stark reminder of why they have struggled so much.
Their good start needed to lead somewhere, and the fact that a break in play stunted their rhythm to such a degree shows just how fragile their confidence is.
Calvert-Lewin is not yet fully fit, but he was unable to make a difference after his introduction.
And Lampard will be searching for more inspiration in the battle against relegation from the Premier League.
- 8KouyateSubstituted forHughesat 83′minutes
- 10EzeSubstituted forMilivojevicat 71′minutes
- 7OliseSubstituted forBentekeat 83′minutes
- 14MatetaSubstituted forEdwardat 71′minutes
- 23ColemanSubstituted forIwobiat 73′minutes
- 21Andre GomesBooked at 64mins
- 2KennySubstituted forCalvert-Lewinat 45′minutes
- 14TownsendSubstituted forGrayat 17′minutes
- 24GordonBooked at 62mins
Match ends, Crystal Palace 4, Everton 0.
Second Half ends, Crystal Palace 4, Everton 0.
Foul by Will Hughes (Crystal Palace).
Demarai Gray (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Goal! Crystal Palace 4, Everton 0. Will Hughes (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box to the bottom left corner.
Attempt saved. Conor Gallagher (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Odsonne Édouard.
Attempt missed. Nathaniel Clyne (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left following a corner.
Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Ben Godfrey.
Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Anthony Gordon (Everton).
Substitution, Crystal Palace. Will Hughes replaces Cheikhou Kouyaté.
Substitution, Crystal Palace. Christian Benteke replaces Michael Olise.
Attempt saved. Demarai Gray (Everton) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Michael Olise (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by André Gomes (Everton).
Goal! Crystal Palace 3, Everton 0. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box to the centre of the goal.
Michael Olise (Crystal Palace) hits the left post with a left footed shot from the centre of the box. Assisted by Wilfried Zaha.
Attempt blocked. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Odsonne Édouard with a headed pass.
Foul by Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace).
Demarai Gray (Everton) wins a free kick on the right wing.