Competition: Premier League – Everton FC vs. Crystal Palace FC
Venue: Goodison Park – Friday, September 30 – 20:00 BST (15:00 ET)
Match Odds: Everton 4/6 – Draw 29/10 – Crystal Palace 19/5
Both teams come into the game inside the top seven and so an exciting contest is expected here.
Everton will be desperate to bounce back from a shock defeat at Bournemouth last weekend. That was their first loss under Ronald Koeman and they need to show that was just a blip, rather than anything more serious at this early stage.
The Toffees had won four in a row before that 1-0 loss and strolled past Middlesbrough in their last home game. They are expected to win Friday’s game but Palace look like they mean business.
Alan Pardew’s men showed incredible character to come from two goals down at Sunderland to win 3-2 last weekend. They have now won three on the spin and are looking for a third away win of the campaign.
Few would have expected the Eagles to be in the top half of the table after they took just one point from their first three fixtures but something has clicked and the arrival of Christian Benteke has giving them a focal point to build from in attack.
This will be the 15th Premier League meeting between the two sides. The worry for Everton is that they have failed to beat Palace at home in their last three league games (D1 L2) so the pressure is on the hosts to put on a show for the home fans.
Everton have four players ruled out of this one, with Muhamed Besic, Tyias Browning, Matthew Pennington and James McCarthy all unavailable. Leighton Baines is a doubt and could miss a second-straight game, while Darron Gibson isn’t expected to feature.
Crystal Palace will be without key defender Scott Dann, while Pape Souare is a long-term absentee. Loic Remy remains out, while Wilfried Zaha is a doubt after missing last week’s win with a hamstring problem.
Everton’s last five: W/W/W/W/L
Crystal Palace’s last five: L/D/W/W/W
Key Stat: Leaky – Crystal Palace have not kept a clean sheet in 11 consecutive Premier League games.
Key Player: Idrissa Gueye – The Everton midfielder has been excellent since signing from Villa in the summer and has made the most tackles in the Premier League so far this term. He will need to break up play here to give Everton the best chance of success.
Everton 2-1 Crystal Palace – Palace have been on an excellent run but Everton will be fired up for Friday’s game. The home support should help the Toffees edge this one, while the absence of Scott Dann is a worry for the Eagles backline up against Romelu Lukaku. Everton to win it by the odd goal.