Everton extends 71 years Premier League stay

by Oviri Kelvin, Sports Editor, Abuja

Everton have survived the Premier League relegation struggle after a late minute header from Dominic Calvert-Lewin crumbled Crystal Palace 3-2 to extend their 71-years stay in the English topflight League.

The terrific clash would have kept the home team at Goodison Park to seek their qualification at the hands of top-four fighting side Arsenal in the season’s final fixture after the Eagles blasted in two goals in the first half.

But the undeterred Toffees came all out like wounded lions in the second half to turn around the outcome in what will forever be indelible in the history of the club.

As the second most-long serving club in the top tier of the English topflight league, Frank Lampard’s side ensured that preserved the record to see them included on June 16, 2022, Premier League draws for the 2022-23 season.

In doing so, the resilient Toffees on the resumption of the second half redefined their priority in the game which is, a must-win. Michael Keane’s 54 minutes goal paved way for the resurgence that catapulted Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s goals to earn a vital 3-2 win.

Everton players celebrating their equalizer against Crystal Palace at Goodison Park
Everton players celebrating their equalizer against Crystal Palace at Goodison Park

Everton manager, Frank Lampard expressed the character of the club and its fans help propelled the team to survive the relegation scare.

“What we’ve just seen, it’s Premier League safety, it’s not Champions League. But what it means to the club and the circumstances they were given in,” Lampard said in a post-match interview.

“The character of this club, the fans, players, just got us through. The spirit of the club was immense.

”There are a lot of people who work so hard for that, the players, the board, the fans, my staff. It’s a huge night for Everton and now we want to take that forward,” he added.

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Lampard, who inspired the players in the dressing room after a disappointing first half, stressed that he worked more on the Toffees’ emotions and psyche than resort to tactical changes.

He continued: “If you’re honest you have to fake it, act a bit. Not show your feelings. You have to turn people and inspire them. Dele Alli came on and was amazing.

“My point was it’s not the tactical change, it’s the emotions and the character. Can you energise the crowd and score an early goal? Then it’s the energy, the players deserve immense credit.

Everton Manager Frank Lampard after Everton beat Crystal Palace 3-2
Everton Manager Frank Lampard after Everton beat Crystal Palace 3-2

“If we don’t get that first goal, it’s difficult to win. I expected Burnley to get something. That goal was crucial, once it went in you felt the players, and the night, there was something special there. The crowd reacted, we created a special night in Everton’s history.

“We needed the fans tonight and at 2-0, it was easy to expect the worst. But they’ve been doing it for a long time, since the Chelsea game. After the Burnley defeat, it was difficult. Again, the atmosphere was on another level, and it was great to see them on the pitch. We don’t condone it but it was in such good faith,” Lampard added.

With their heads up high after sealing their Premier League fate, Everton travels to the Emirates Stadium for their final fixture to crack down a top-four struggling Arsenal on Sunday to end the season. A win for Arsenal and a loss for Tottenham which is unlikely, would mean Arsenal would qualify for the group stages of the Champions League since 2006.

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