Sixth placed Everton have lost eight points in their last four Premier League games. Four games ago the Toffees were in a strong position with regards to qualifying to next season’s Champions League but away losses to Liverpool and Tottenham and an away draw to West Brom mean that a fourth-placed finish looks increasingly unlikely.
If they are to have a shot, a home win against Crystal Palace, resurgent under Tony Pulis, is vital. Romelu Lukaku is unlikely to play which means Everton’s midfielders, especially Kevin Mirallas and Ross Barkley, must deliver the goals.
Crystal Palace will not roll over, however, and they arrive with confidence after their excellent 3-1 home win against West Brom brought them up to 14 in the table, three points from the relegation zone. The Eagles were the leagues bottom side when Pulis took over in late November. Seven wins, six losses and one draw later, however, have the Eagles flying and well organised Palace could well upset Everton.
KICK-OFF: Wednesday, 7.45pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS:
Crystal Palace 0 Everton 0, Premier League, November 2013
Everton 4 (Cahill 2, Arteta, Vaughan) Crystal Palace 0, Premier League, April 2005
Crystal Palace 1 (Hudson) Everton 3 (Gravesen 2, Bent), Premier League, August 2004
Romelu Lukaku scored seven goals in Everton’s first 13 league games. In the last twelve the big
Belgian has scored only once.
Crystal Palace’s away form of two wins and 10 losses is ranked 18 in the League.
Everton lost only once in their first 17 league fixtures. Since then they have lost three in eight.
Crystal Palace have scored just 18 times in 25 matches. That is the league’s lowest goal tally.
Everton to win: 1.44
Crystal Palace to win: 8.5
TV: Highlights on BBC1 at 10.35pm