Everton vs Crystal Palace by FP
Crystal Palace have a good record at Goodison Park, and have won on both their visits here - both by a 3-2 scoreline including the game last season. They were ruthless in beating Newcastle last time out and responded in style to going 1-0 down early on to hammer Steve McClaren's side 5-1 in the end. The problem that Alan Pardew has is that his side are very inconsistent. The Newcastle win ended a run of three home games without a victory which included a disappointing 1-0 defeat to struggling Sunderland. Palace have also lost two out of their last three away games, although the one win was very impressive as they beat Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield. You never know which Crystal Palace side will turn up as they are either very good or not very good at all. Palace will be without the services of winger Wilfred Zaha as he misses out through suspension. Fellow winger Bakary Sako is also still out through injury.
Everton are on a six game unbeaten run and are looking to make it seven with home advantage being an obvious plus. The Toffees beat Championship side Middlesbrough 2-0 in the Capital One Cup last time out, although they did concede an unlikely equaliser deep into stoppage time to draw 3-3 away to Bournemouth in their last Premier League game. Martinez will be keen to get back on the winning trail in the league, but a slight concern for him will be the form of goalkeeper Tim Howard. He has been the first name on the team sheet for a long time now, but the recent statistics do not make good reading. Only one goalkeeper has failed to claim more crosses than him this season - he seems to be getting very indecisive and is either coming for the ball and missing, or failing to leave his goal line at all. In fact Everton have conceded more goals from headers than any other team in the Premier League and also conceded the most headers on goal overall. Howard needs a string of good performances to stop the doubters. Martinez has a decision to make at left back as Leighton Baines is now fit again after an absence - his return would go some way towards securing a defence that seems quite leaky both with the performances of Howard and also maybe due to the continued absence of defender Phil Jagielka. Midfielder James McCarthy faces a late fitness test but should play his part.
I have a strong view on this match. I think that the absence of wingers Zaha and Sako is important as Palace are at their most effective when on a quick counter attack, and they may struggle to get crosses into the box to expose Everton's main weakness. I also am not convinced by the Crystal Palace strikers - although Palace scored five against Newcastle, they do not have a regular goalscorer in the team. Wickham and Bamford are the central strikers but are without a goal in six starts and eight sub appearances between them so even if Palace did manage to get crosses into the box I wouldn't expect the strikers to score from them. Yannick Bolasie does not look like the type of player who could lead the line, although he will pop up with the occasional goal as he did against Newcastle. I much prefer the shape of the Everton team as Lukaku leads the line well, supported with the wing play of Deulofeu, the excellent Ross Barkley and the undervalued Kone who does an unselfish job for the team. Barry and McCarthy provide the balance in the middle of the park and I think the structure of the Everton team will cause problems for Palace and keep them on the back foot. I will be backing Everton in the draw
|Everton draw no bet||10bet||1.50||10||1-1 PUSH (Stake return)|
* Odds as of post published time and are subject to change.