Following a frustrating summer following the sale of and failure to replace Aaron Wan-Bissaka, as well as the Wilfried Zaha saga, a win against Everton on Saturday would’ve settled Crystal Palace nerves ahead of the new season.
It’s fair to say Palace would’ve probably taken a point after the 0-0 draw against Marco Silva’s side at Selhurst Park though, despite the visitors being a man down for the final 20 minutes.
Zaha very well could’ve been lining up against the Eagles in the Premier League opener, but the club’s ability to keep hold of him should fill supporters with plenty of optimism until at least January.
Next up for Palace is a trip to newly-promoted Sheffield United on Sunday where both sides will be vying for their inaugural wins of the 2019-20 campaign.
Who did enough against Everton to guarantee a starting place at Bramall Lane? Who could be in danger of missing out?
Here are the winners and losers from Palace’s forgettable stalemate…
Winner: Patrick van Aanholt
Van Aanholt is one of Palace’s better players and had a great game against Everton, massively contributing to the clean sheet. The Dutchman denied the Toffees on the goal-line and was regularly dominant in duels.
Loser: Luka Milivojevic
Milivojevic is likely to keep his place as designated captain, but his performance was fairly ineffective and he could feel pressured with Palace’s new midfield signings. Both Camarasa and McCarthy will be eyeing a starting spot in midfield, but he can’t let that affect his game.
Winner: Martin Kelly
Kelly was the more impressive of the two at centre-back, although Dann put in a good shift, and is likely to be Cahill’s partner once the new signing is fully fit and ready to go. Sakho and Tomkins are out for prolonged periods of time, so Kelly is now presented with a huge chance to impress.
Loser: Wilfried Zaha
All an attacker wants is to start his season off with a bang, but consistent transfer talk over the summer resulted in the 26-year-old to miss training towards the end of last week. He only managed 25 minutes off the bench against Everton, despite being the club’s strongest player, and will have to work hard to get into the starting line-up for Sunday.