Two of the top five teams in the Premier League table will clash on Saturday as Crystal Palace play hosts to an in-form Everton outfit at Selhurst Park.
Crystal Palace and Everton be aiming to protect their 100 percent record in the 2020/21 Premier League when they lock horns at Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon in matchweek 3.
Crystal Palace kicked off the new campaign with a 1-0 win over Southampton in the league. And even though they were dumped out of the Carabao Cup by Bournemouth on penalties, the Eagles soared back in fine fashion, beating Manchester United 3-1 in the league last weekend, following which they sit fifth in the table.
Everton have been on fire since the start of the season, with four wins in four games in all competitions. The Toffees head into the weekend after registering back-to-back 5-2 wins against West Bromwich Albion (Premier League) and Fleetwood Town (Carabao Cup). Second in the table, Carlo Ancelotti’s men will be looking to extend their brilliant run on Saturday.
The corresponding fixture last season had seen Palace play out a goalless draw against a ten-man Everton side, who had Morgan Schneiderlin sent off for the final fifteen minutes. And ahead of their latest meeting this weekend, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
Roy Hodgson has a host of roster issues heading into the game, with as many as eight players likely to miss out on Saturday. Nathan Ferguson, Gary Cahill, Patrick van Aanholt, Connor Wickham and James Tomkins are all ruled out while Scott Dann is a doubt for the game. Christian Benteke and Jairo Riedewald will undergo late fitness tests to determine their availability.
The manager is unlikely to tinker with the 4-4-2 system that has worked so well for the team so far this season. Vicente Guaita will be the man in goal and will be in for a busy outing, given the form Everton are in. Joel Ward and Tyrick Mitchell will be the two full-backs flanking Cheikhou Kouyate and Mamadou Sakho at the heart of the defence.
Andros Townsend, who scored last weekend against Manchester United, will provide the width on the right side, with Jeffrey Schlupp operating on the opposite flank. New signing Eberechi Eze is also an option for the left flank, after impressive cameos in his first two Premier League outings.
Hodgson is likely to stick with the central midfield partnership of James McCarthy and James McArthur, meaning Luka Milivojevic will have to contend with a spot on the bench again.
Wilfried Zaha has made a scintillating start to the season and will be aiming to carry that form forward against the Toffees. He will have Jordan Ayew as his partner in the two-pronged strikeforce, with on-loan Chelsea ace Michy Batshuayi an option from the bench.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Guaita; Ward, Kouyate, Sakho, Mitchell; Townsend, McArthur, McCarthy, Schlupp; Ayew, Zaha
Carlo Ancelotti will have to make do without the services of Mason Holgate, Jarrad Branthwaite, Jonas Lossl, Cenk Tosun and Jean-Philippe Gbamin on Saturday. The big news for the Toffees is that key man Dominic Calvert-Lewin has recovered from a minor thigh injury he picked up in midweek against Fleetwood and is available for selection.
Ancelotti made a number of alterations to his starting XI for the cup tie earlier in the week, but is expected to revert to his strongest XI on Saturday. Starting in goal will be Jordan Pickford, who will have to prove himself amid doubts over his status as the first-choice custodian for Everton.
Seamus Coleman ought to return at right-back at the expense of Jonjoe Kenny while Lucas Digne moves to the left-back slot, after featuring as a centre-back in midweek. Yerry Mina should also make his way back into the starting XI after sitting out the cup game. He will pair up alongside Michael Keane at the centre.
New signing Allan has already made a huge impact for Everton and is a surefire starter at the base of the three-man midfield unit. He will have support from former Barcelona ace Andre Gomes, while Abdoulaye Doucoure will look to provide the forward thrust from the centre of the park.
James Rodriguez enjoyed a brilliant game against West Bromwich Albion last weekend. He should start on the right flank, although he will look to veer inwards and pull the strings in the final third. The fit-again Calvert-Lewin will spearhead the attack, while Richarlison, who scored a brace in midweek, is a certainty on the left wing.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne; Gomes, Allan, Doucoure; Rodriguez, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison
- Everton to win @ 2.10
- Crystal Palace are winless in each of their last 11 Premier League games against Everton since a 3-2 win at Goodison Park in September 2014 (D6 L5). They have failed to score in six of these matches.
- Each of the last three Premier League games at Selhurst Park between Crystal Palace and Everton have ended in draws, with the last two finishing in goalless stalemates.
- Everton have suffered just one defeat in 11 visits to Selhurst Park in the Premier League (W5 D5). That came way back in October 1994.
- Crystal Palace have kicked off a top-flight campaign with two consecutive victories for the first time in their history. They last won their first three league games in a single season in the 2006/07 Championship.
- Everton are looking to start a Premier League campaign with three straight wins for the first time since 1993/94.
Player to Watch
The 23-year-old has started the new season where he left off last time out and after two rounds of matches, is sitting at the top of the goalscoring charts in the Premier League. Having scored the only goal of the game against Tottenham in the season opener, Calvert-Lewin backed it up with a sensational hat-trick against West Bromwich Albion last weekend.
There was a minor injury scare in midweek against Fleetwood Town, which saw him get withdrawn at half-time. However, now that he has mounted a full recovery, the Englishman will be looking to build on his first career hat-trick and lead Everton to another victory on Sunday.
Crystal Palace 1-2 Everton
Both teams have been in top form since the new season began. Crystal Palace, despite having a number of key defenders missing, have been solid and resolute at the back, while Wilfried Zaha’s form means they are in with a great chance to win on Saturday.
However, the way Everton have played in the last two matches, with the front three of James Rodriguez, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison running riot, they will be hard to stop. That, coupled with their impressive record at Selhurst Park is why The Hard Tackle is predicting a 2-1 win for Carlo Ancelotti & co. this weekend.