February 29, 2024

Garth Crooks has claimed Everton were lucky to avoid conceding a second penalty against Crystal Palace after Jarrad Branthwaite’s challenge on Ebere Eze was dismissed.


This was despite replays appearing to show that the Palace man had not dived, as was the decision by the on-field official Sam Barrott, who was quick to draw his yellow card.


Crooks also suggested that playing at Goodison Park may become an ordeal for the players due to the high demands of the fans, particularly after their strong away form so far this season.


Crooks was writing for his Team of the Week column on BBC Sport, as he shared: “Everton were lucky as Eberechi Eze was certainly caught the first time by Jarrad Branthwaite – resulting in a penalty – and the Toffees defender was let off by the referee for a similar challenge on the same player moments later.


“Everton have won more games away already this season than they did during their last campaign. Goodison Park is a wonderful place to play but Everton’s fans can be demanding. I hope playing at home isn’t becoming a bit of an ordeal for their players.”


Ultimately over the course of a season, Everton just like every other Premier League team will have decisions go in their favour and they will have calls go against them, it’s just the way football is.


It must be said that if the on-field official had given the penalty, it’s unlikely it would have been overturned, but having decided against it, VAR concluded there was not enough in the decision to overturn the referee’s call.


Crooks’ suggestion that Everton were lucky may be right in a sense, but the call could have gone either way. In terms of the pressure of Goodison Park, we will have to wait and see whether the home form replicates that of their recent strong away shows.


Victories over West Ham and Crystal Palace in London were big results for Dyche and his men, but home defeats to Wolves, Fulham, and Luton especially have highlighted that playing at home may be more of an issue than it seems this season as expectations rise.

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