A place in the top half of the table will be on the agenda for Everton, when they welcome Crystal Palace to Goodison Park on Sunday evening.

After a loaded fixture list on Saturday, the action in Gameweek 9 will mellow down with just one match on show on Sunday. This game will feature two sides that have held aspirations for a top half finish this season, but have been unable to do so for some reason or another – Everton and Crystal Palace, who will meet at Goodison Park.

Everton are beginning to find their feet under Marco Silva after a slight stutter in September. But, with two successive wins have seen them ascend the Premier League table to be placed 11th with 12 points. The Toffees now need to go on a run if they are to establish their credentials as potential European qualifiers.

Crystal Palace, on the other hand, have tailed off massively after a promising start to the season. The Eagles have managed to win just twice so far this term and sit perilously close to the relegation zone, with just seven points from their first eight games. A win at Goodison Park is thus, imperative for Roy Hodgson’s men, if they are to avoid getting sucked into a relegation battle.

The corresponding fixture last season ended in a 3-1 win for Everton, a result with Crystal Palace will be dreading. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides on Sunday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the Premier League encounter.

Team News & Tactics

Everton

Will Everton spur on from their big win over Leicester? (Photo by Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images)

Will Everton spur on from their big win over Leicester? (Photo by Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images)

Marco Silva has been greeted with a barrage of positive news ahead of the visit of Crystal Palace. On Sunday, the Everton boss might be without only two first-team players, with both only being slight doubts due to minor niggles.

While Seamus Coleman is battling a foot injury, Idrissa Gueye is dealing with an ankle complaint. Jonjoe Kenny and Morgan Schneiderlin are expected to be the respective replacement for the duo, should they fail to prove their fitness ahead of Sunday’s encounter.

But, the good news comes in the form of Yerry Mina (foot), Andre Gomes (hamstring) and James McCarthy (leg), who have all trained this week after recovering from their respective injuries. While the three players are not expected to start, Silva could give them a few minutes in the second half, depending on the status of the match.

Mina, in particular, misses out as Kurt Zouma and Michael Keane seem to have forged a strong central defensive partnership and will thus, have to bide his time. The back four, meanwhile, will be completed by Lucas Digne, who has settled in quickly at Everton since his summer move from Barcelona.

Tom Davies should don the armband once again, having cemented his place in the Everton midfield. Up ahead in attack, Gylfi Sigurdsson is revelling in a central, free role behind the striker, who is set to be Richarlison once again, with the Brazilian being a revelation as the focal point for the Toffees. Summer signing Bernard will thus, get another chance on the left flank.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Kenny, Keane, Zouma, Digne; Davies, Schneiderlin; Walcott, Sigurdsson, Bernard; Richarlison

Everton

Crystal Palace

The injury situation in the two camps is like chalk and cheese. While Everton are set to boast a clean bill of health soon, Crystal Palace have no such luxury, as Roy Hodgson could be without as many as eight first-team players when the South Londoners visit Goodison Park on Sunday.

Those definitely missing out are Scott Dann, Joel Ward, Jonny Williams (all match fitness) and Christian Benteke (knee). The availability of Max Meyer, Alexander Sorloth (illness), Connor Wickham (match fitness) and Wilfried Zaha (thigh) is in doubt.

Hodgson will be sweating over Zaha’s fitness, in particular, with Crystal Palace depending heavily on their star man. But, with the Ivory Coast international not training all week, it looks likely that he will only be fit enough to make the bench.

Should that indeed be the case, Jeffrey Schlupp could end up replacing Zaha, with the Ghanaian joining Jordan Ayew and Andros Townsend in attack. In the middle of the park, James McArthur and Cheikhou Kouyate are likely to join captain Luka Milivojevic, who will need to find his magic touch to inspire Crystal Palace back to winning ways.

The key men though, will be the defenders, who will need to produce a dogged performance, particularly Mamadou Sakho and James Tomkins at the heart of the Crystal Palace defence. Meanwhile, Patrick van Aanholt and Aaron Wan-Bissaka will be crucial with their exploits in the final third as well as in defence.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Hennessey; Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins, Sakho, van Aanholt; Kouyate; Milivojevic, McArthur; Townsend, Ayew, Schlupp

Crystal Palace

Key Stats

  • Everton are unbeaten in seven Premier League games against Crystal Palace (D4 L0), since a 3-2 defeat at Goodison Park in September 2014.
  • But, Crystal Palace have won more away Premier League games against Everton than against any other side (4), although they’ve won none of their last three there (D2 L1).
  • 15% of the goals scored in Premier League matches between Everton and Crystal Palace have been penalties (7 of 48) – the joint-highest percentage of any fixture in the competition to have seen at least 40 goals (level with Arsenal vs Stoke City).
  • Everton are looking to record three consecutive Premier League victories for the first time since January 2017 – the third win in that run also came at home against Crystal Palace.
  • Marco Silva has lost both of his Premier League games against Crystal Palace, losing with Hull City in May 2017 (0-4) and Watford in December 2017 (1-2).

Betting Odds

Favourable Bets

1. Everton to beat Crystal Palace @ 1.80

Player to Watch

Mamadou Sakho

Can Sakho help stop the Crystal Palace rut? (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Can Sakho help stop the Crystal Palace rut? (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

It has been a torrid time for Crystal Palace in the Premier League, having managed to win just one game since their victory over Fulham in the opening week of the season. The Eagles need to return to basics to have any chance of getting back to winning ways soon enough, starting with defence.

It is here where Mamadou Sakho needs to raise his hand as the senior figure in the team, and use all of his experience in order to produce a dogged performance and keep Everton at bay. If they manage to do so, the opportunities will present themselves as the game wears on.

Prediction

Everton 2-1 Crystal Palace

Everton seem to be discovering a sense of consistency for the first time under the tutelage of Marco Silva and their win over Leicester City before the international break could be a major turning point. Crystal Palace, on the other hand, seem to be in sixes and sevens, just failing to hit the next level and get closer to a place in the top half of the table.

The form of key men, coupled with the possible absence of Zaha puts this tie heavily in favour of Everton who should have enough firepower to get past the Eagles. But, Crystal Palace are unlikely to go down without providing a fight, and The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 win for the Toffees.

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