Everton vs Crystal Palace
Venue: Goodison Park
TV: Sky Sports Main Event
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Everton will look to make it three wins in a row on Sunday as Palace try to get out of some sticky form when they visit the Toffees at Goodison Park.
The home side have had a steady start to the season, with just the two defeats in the losses column. Although they were convincing defeats to West Ham and Arsenal, they have bounced back impressively with wins over Fulham and Leicester. Palace, on the other hand, have hit a really poor vein of form, having failed to win in any of the previous three games, losing the last two.
It has been no surprise that the turn around in the level of performances has coincided with the upturn in form of key players for Everton. Toffees fans could not welcome back Brazilian forward Richarlison soon enough from suspension, and although it has taken him a couple of games to shake the rust, he did grab a goal in the last game.
Richarlison has benefited from the impressive impact his fellow countryman Bernard has made in his place on the left wing, allowing him to play in a more central position up front, in place of Turkish striker Cenk Tosun.
Along with the Brazilian duo, the biggest resurgence of form has been from Icelandic talisman Gylfi Sigurdsson, with three goals in the last two games; only a missed penalty away from completing a hat-trick against Fulham. He will be looking to continue his goal scoring form on the weekend, as he goes up against a side he has had a lot of joy against. In his last five games against the Eagles, he’s notched up three goals and three assists, grabbing one of each in his two games for Everton last season.
Since Palace’s return to the Premier League in 2004, they have only beaten Everton twice, back-to-back 3-2 victories at Goodison Park in 2014. Of the remaining ten fixtures between the two, the hosts have come up on the winning side in half of them, having won two in the last three, the last of which was at home in February 2018.
The South London side will take some confidence with them to Merseyside though, as its only in their away games this season that they’ve got their wins, and actually managed to find the back of the opposition’s net. For a side that had a lot of optimism going into the season, and a forward in Wilfried Zaha that looked to be in sparkling form, they have only scored three goals in the seven Premier League games since they’re 2-0 win at Fulham on the opening weekend. With Zaha a doubt for the game, and having lost all of their last twelve games without Zaha, they’ll be hoping he’ll shake off the groin injury, and get in amongst the goals again.
Everton Team News
There could be some returns and possible debuts as Everton return to Premier League action after the international break. At the start of October, Marco Silva said in reference to Seamus Coleman, André Gomes, and Yerry Mina, that “it looks as though everything will go in the normal way after the next break, and all will be available”.
James McCarthy comes back into contention for the weekend after playing in behind closed doors game, having recovered from the leg injury that’s kept him out of action. He was joined by a number of his teammates in the game with Mina, Gomes, Phil Jagielka, and Ben Baningime, as they all look to break into the side to face Crystal Palace.
There is fresh doubt over Idrissa Gueye, who came back from international duty for Senegal with a reported ankle injury. He’ll have a late fitness assessment ahead of the game on Sunday.
Crystal Palace Team News
The biggest news coming out of the international break was that of talisman Wilfried Zaha returning to London, with what has been described as a tight groin issue. He will be assessed with the hopes that it’s nothing serious as Palace will need him to play at Everton, and help pull the South Londoners out of the slump they currently reside in.
The problems with the lack of goals is not helped by the absence of Christian Benteke. The striker has been out of action since he withdrew from the Belgian team during the international break back in September. He has since undergone minor arthroscopic explorative surgery and washout of his knee after his injury had not settled with conservative management. The club has stated that there would be further updates in ‘a few weeks’ time’, so they will have to continue with Jordan Ayew and Alexander Sørloth in his place.
Returns for long term absentees Scott Dann and Connor Wickham draw closer, with the latter having played and scored in a friendly with Dulwich Hamlet during the international break, but both will still not feature over the weekend.
Predicted Starting XI’s
Everton: Pickford; Kenny, Keane, Zouma, Digne; Davies, Gueye, Walcott, Sigurdsson, Bernard; Richarlison.
Crystal Palace: Hennessey; Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins, Sakho, van Aanholt; Meyer, Milivojevic, McArthur; Townsend, Ayew, Zaha
Prediction: Everton 2 Crystal Palace 1
Taking into consideration the forms of the two sides, it’s hard to see anything but a home win in this one, especially if Zaha fails to recover in time. With the attacking threat of the Toffee’s front four of Richarlison, Sigurdsson, Bernard, and Walcott, it will be a long afternoon for the Palace defence, with not much of an outlet up front.