Frank Lampard’s tactical switch that saved Everton’s Premier League status

Frank Lampard was quick to deflect praise for Everton’s dramatic 3-2 comeback win against Crystal Palace onto his players and supporters, but to ignore his own role would be underselling its importance.

The Toffees needed a win over the Eagles to ensure their fight for Premier League survival wouldn’t go down to the final day, with Everton facing a difficult trip to Arsenal while relegation rivals Burnley and Leeds United play at home to Newcastle and away at Brentford respectively.

As he has done throughout Everton‘s recent revival, Lampard lined his team up in a 3-4-3 formation, aiming to provide strength in numbers at the back, stifle Palace‘s exciting attacking players such as Wilfried Zaha and Eberechi Eze, and still leave enough in attack to be dangerous in transition.

Things didn’t go to plan, though. Within 36 minutes, Everton were 2-0 down thanks to goals from Jean-Philippe Mateta and Jordan Ayew. Their defending was shambolic, almost laughable at times. But the biggest problem was in midfield.

Throughout the opening 45 minutes, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Andre Gomes were outnumbered by a trio of Palace midfielders. The latter looked especially off the pace, unable to match his opponents physically.

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