Crystal Palace will play hosts to Frank Lampard’s Everton in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on Sunday.

The FA Cup is back this weekend for the quarter-finals, with a place in the Wembley semi-finals at stake, as Crystal Palace and Everton lock horns at Selhurst Park on Sunday afternoon.

The Premier League rivals are experiencing contrasting fortunes in the top flight this season. Everton are scrapping for Premier League survival, while Crystal Palace have had a strong season, presently sitting in 11th place following a four-match undefeated streak.

The Eagles have played an attractive style of football under Patrick Vieira, and a trip to Wembley could top off a successful first season in command. Crystal Palace come into this game on the back of a resilient 0-0 draw against Premier League leaders Manchester City.

The hosts have not faced Premier League opponents en route to the quarter-final, having eliminated Championship sides Millwall (2-1) and Stoke City (2-1), as well as fourth-tier Hartlepool United (2-0). Everton, meanwhile, will look to build on their morale-boosting Premier League win over Newcastle United when they travel to south London for the tie.

There was a big sigh of relief among the Goodison Park faithful at the final whistle earlier this week, with Everton now three points clear of the drop zone with two games in hand over 18th-placed Watford. The Merseyside outfit defeated Hull City (2-3), Brentford (4-1) and Boreham Wood (2-0) on their way to the quarter-finals, scoring nine goals in the process.

Everton have the chance to reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup for the first time since 2016 with a win on Sunday, which will boost the squad’s confidence ahead of what looks to be an incredibly tough Premier League fixture list following the international break.

Team News & Tactics

Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira has no fresh injury concerns following his side’s superb display to keep Manchester City at bay last weekend, with only long-term absentee Nathan Ferguson confirmed to be unavailable.

Both Joel Ward and James McArthur are back in contention after returning from spells on the sidelines. The home side will also be welcoming back skipper Luka Milivojevic and Will Hughes, after the midfield duo missed the Manchester City draw through illness.

Vieira will line his side up in his favoured 4-3-3 formation, with energy, free-flowing expansive football and defensive solidity at the core of their style of play. Despite his outstanding performance against Manchester City, goalkeeper Vicente Guaita may be relegated to the Crystal Palace bench, giving Jack Butland a chance to impress.

Joachim Andersen and Marc Guehi should retain their roles at the heart of the defensive line, with the latter recently receiving his first senior international call up to the England squad after impressing for Crystal Palace this season. Nathaniel Clyne will need to give a good account of himself at right-back, whereas blossoming full-back Tyrick Mitchell will look to keep up his consistent performances down the left.

The likely midfield trio will include Jeffrey Schlupp and Conor Gallagher on either side of Cheikhou Kouyate, as they look to dominate the proceedings in the middle of the park. Jean-Philippe Mateta and Wilfried Zaha will carry most of the goal-scoring responsibility for the Eagles up top, while Michael Olise will pose a threat with his trickery from the right flank.

Probable lineup (4-3-3): Butland; Clyne, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; Gallagher, Kouyate, Schlupp; Olise, Mateta, Zaha

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Everton

Everton are set to be without the services of Yerry Mina, Fabian Delph, and Tom Davies due to their respective injuries. Defender Jarrad Branthwaite is also a major doubt for the tie.

With Allan serving a three-match suspension after picking up a red card last time out, and each of Donny van de Beek, Anwar El Ghazi and Dele Alli cup-tied, Lampard might have to pick from a significantly weakened squad for this contest.

Jordan Pickford missed the crucial win over Newcastle through illness, so Asmir Begovic should keep his place in the Everton goal, with the Toffees lining up in a 4-2-3-1 formation in front of the Bosnian shot-stopper.

A reshuffled defensive line is expected from Lampard. The central defensive pairing of Michael Keane and Mason Holgate will keep their places in the starting lineup after their solid performance against the Magpies.

Jonjoe Kenny will provide fresh legs at right-back after returning from suspension to replace Seamus Coleman, with the 33-year-old in need of rest. Vitaliy Mykolenko will get a nod on the opposite flank, with makeshift left-back Ben Godfrey working his way back to full fitness.

Andre Gomes will replace Allan in midfield to form a double-pivot alongside Abdoulaye Doucoure. Young academy product Anthony Gordon has been a bright spot for Everton all season, and his versatility should see him shift into a number 10 role.

Meanwhile, Alex Iwobi will look to build some momentum with another impressive performance from the right wing after scoring the winner against Newcastle. Dominic Calvert-Lewin returned to action from the bench on Thursday night and could start in the central striker role at the expense of Richarlison, who will move to the left wing.

Probable lineup (4-2-3-1): Begovic; Kenny, Holgate, Keane, Mykolenko; Doucoure, Gomes; Iwobi, Gordon, Richarlison; Calvert-Lewin

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Key Stats

  • Crystal Palace’s 3-1 Premier League victory against Everton in December was their first win over the the Toffees since 2014. They had been winless in the 13 meetings between the two clubs previous to that result (D7 L6).
  • The last FA Cup meeting between the sides was played in 1972, when Everton came out on top 3-2 after a replay.
  • Everton have reached the FA Cup quarter-finals for the 47th time, the most of any team in the competition’s history. In 57 per cent of those ties (26/46), the Toffees advanced to the semi-finals – most recently in 2015/16 under Roberto Martinez.
  • Everton have scored at least two goals in 5 of their last 6 FA Cup games.
  • Everton have not lost successive away games at Crystal Palace since 1971, and they have never been beaten twice by the Eagles in the same season.

Player to Watch

Michael Olise

The Crystal Palace playmaker is enjoying a stunning debut season at Selhurst Park since joining from Reading for £8 million last summer. The exciting 20-year-old winger has earned plenty of plaudits for his stellar displays and has recently received his first France Under-21 call-up.

In the FA Cup, no player has been involved in more goals this campaign than Olise (4), with Olise scoring two and assisting two of the Eagles’ six goals in the competition this term. The wonderkid will be looking to continue his red-hot cup form and make a major impact in this encounter with his exceptional ball control, dribbling and technique.

Prediction

Crystal Palace 2-0 Everton

Despite the fact that Everton gained some vital momentum on Thursday night, weariness and team rotation will almost certainly play a role here. The Eagles head into the game as the clear favourites on the balance of how the season has unfolded for both sides, and their freshness relative to the visitors.

Everton’s FA Cup run has been a much-needed distraction for the Toffees faithful given their torrid season, but clearly, Lampard’s men must solely focus on their survival bid. The Hard Tackle predicts a close contest on Sunday as both teams will be eager to make it through to the semi-finals. However, Crystal Palace should come away with a win and a clean sheet.

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