Everton lost ground in the race for seventh place in the Premier League as they were held to a goalless draw by Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Substitute Cenk Tosun’s brilliant back-heeled effort was saved by Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita in the closing stages, while winger Bernard and left-back Lucas Digne also hit the post for Everton in the second half.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin missed opportunities to put them ahead in a lively first half, but was denied by Guaita from close range and failed to hit the target from Seamus Coleman’s cross.
Palace had chances too, as Max Meyer fired wide early on and James McArthur struck the side-netting during a positive spell for the Eagles after the interval.
The result lifted Marco Silva’s Everton into eighth in the table, although they are now four points behind Wolves, who won 2-1 at Watford on Saturday.
Seventh place could still offer a spot in next season’s Europa League, should Manchester City beat Watford in the FA Cup final on 18 May.
Palace, who secured their Premier League survival with victory over Arsenal on Sunday, remain 12th.
Missed chances cost Everton
A 4-0 demolition of Manchester United last weekend – Everton’s fourth win in the past five games – hauled them back into contention for a seventh-place finish.
They began with an intensity reminiscent of their Goodison Park display last Sunday, but lacked a cutting edge as they failed to score despite registering 22 shots, only three of which found the target.
Calvert-Lewin could perhaps have done better from Coleman and Richarlison’s inviting crosses, but the 22-year-old showed plenty of promise with his energy and runs in behind the Palace back-line.
Everton, who have now kept seven clean sheets in their past nine league games, looked solid once again, with Kurt Zouma bullying the Palace forwards off the ball on several occasions as his central defensive partnership with Michael Keane continues to develop.
Everton face Burnley and Tottenham in their final two games of the season and will hope Fulham and title-chasing Liverpool can play their part in dislodging Wolves from seventh.
Silva has said he is confident the club will back him in the summer transfer window, and Everton’s recent showings will have increased confidence among fans that he can take them forward next season.
“No doubt we were the best team on the pitch. We deserved the three points. From the first minute, we tried everything,” said the Everton manager.
“We had chances to score but we have to be more clinical. It’s something we keeping working to achieve. The most important thing is that we did everything. The connections between the players are coming more easily.”
Palace maintain fight despite safety
Manager Roy Hodgson said he did not fear complacency setting in among his Palace players after they achieved their earliest confirmation of Premier League safety.
They were forced to withstand periods of intense pressure from Everton, but stuck to their task and retained a desire to close down their opponents quickly.
Palace’s home form in 2018-19 will certainly be a concern for Hodgson – only bottom side Huddersfield have taken fewer points and failed to score more often.
Despite being on the back foot for much of the first half, the hosts dominated immediately after the interval.
McArthur did well to control with his chest before unleashing a shot which went narrowly wide, although Palace failed to register a shot on target the whole match.
While Everton kept forwards Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke quiet, Patrick van Aanholt – reintroduced as Hodgson’s only change to the Palace line-up – was heavily involved at both ends of the pitch and produced an excellent tackle as Richarlison threatened to race clear into the penalty area.
“I’m pleased to get a point. I must give the players a lot of credit for sticking at their task and showing character,” said Hodgson.
“I’m a little disappointed that today, after the euphoria of last week’s result, we didn’t come here and put on a splendid show. But football gives you those type of games. It wasn’t for lack of trying.”
Man of the match – Idrissa Gueye (Everton)
Palace’s winless run against Everton – the stats
- Crystal Palace have not beaten Everton in the past nine Premier League meetings, dating back to a 3-2 win in September 2014.
- Everton have kept seven clean sheets in their past nine league games, one more than in their first 27 games this season.
- This was the eighth time Palace have failed to score in a home league game this season – only Huddersfield, with nine, have failed to do so more often.
- Everton have won only two of their past 20 away league games in London, losing 10.
- Everton had 22 shots in this match – their most in an away league game since May 2017 at Arsenal.
- This was Palace’s fourth goalless league draw of the season – no side has done so more often.
Everton host Burnley on Friday (20:00 BST), while Palace travel to relegation-threatened Cardiff on Saturday (17:30).