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Misfiring Everton settle for draw with Crystal Palace as top-four opportunity goes begging

Michy Batshuayi’s late goal at Goodison has dealt a huge blow to Everton’s Champions League hopes, with the Toffees now five points behind West Ham.

Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton could have joined Liverpool and Tottenham on 49 points with a win, but optimism surrounding a late push for Champions League football is now fading.

The game started well for Everton, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin being played through by Mason Holgate. However, the Englishman could only fire his shot straight at Vicente Guaita.

Richarlison found himself in a similar position when Andre Gomes played him in, but like his strike partner, the Brazilian shot straight at the goalkeeper.

Chance after chance went begging for Everton, before James Rodriguez made the breakthrough in the 56th minute.

The Colombian squeezed his right-footed shot into the bottom corner, as Everton fans breathed a sigh of relief. However, the game was not over yet.

More chances went begging for Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin, with the latter squandering a chance to win the game late on.

Roy Hodgson gambled on Michy Batshuayi in the 84th minute, sending the Belgian on from the bench in hope of a late opportunity. His faith was repaid when the Belgian’s driven shot flew past Robin Olsen in the 86th minute.

That setback sees Everton with just one league win in their last eight home games.

Man of the match: Vicente Guaita

The Crystal Palace shot-stopper was in inspired form on Monday evening, with the Spaniard putting in a brilliant display.

Guaita thwarted Everton’s attackers on multiple occasions, with his best save coming in the form of a fingertip stop to deny Richarlison.

There was also not an awful lot he could do for James Rodriguez’s brilliant finish.

If not for him, Everton would likely have been out of sight before Batshuayi’s introduction.

Toffees Champions League hopes now hang in the balance

This result could have a huge effect on Everton’s season.

A win against Palace would have seen the Toffees well-placed in the race for a top-four finish, with a win in their game in hand against Aston Villa possibly taking them up to fourth.

Now, they find themselves as part of the chasing pack.

Games against Tottenham and West Ham will be key, while a win in their game in hand against Aston Villa could be the difference between finishing the season with something, or with nothing.

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