After some pulsating action in the midweek Premier League fixtures, the action continues over the weekend as we see Everton welcome Crystal Palace to Merseyside.
Everton were in action in the midweek against Newcastle United away from home. Unfortunately for the Toffees, their losing run continued as Frank Lampard’s men suffered their third straight defeat on Wednesday night. The Merseyside Blues were thoroughly dominated by the Magpies who ran out deserved 1-0 winners at St. James’ Park as Everton looked toothless and let the hosts dominate possession early on.
Newcastle took the lead just past the half-hour mark after which the visitors general play improved, but they still could not make an impression on Nick Pope’s goal. Everton were never the favourites going into the game against a resurgent and rejuvenated Newcastle United, but the Toffees supporters will have desired more in terms of performance from their players, which was lacking under the lights in Tyneside. However, they have no time to dwell on their mistakes as their next game comes up in less than 3 days.
Crystal Palace are in somewhat good form at the moment, having lost only one of their last six games, which was a narrow defeat at the hands of Chelsea. However, the Eagles have won 2 and drawn one of their last 3 games, including a comeback victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers at home on Tuesday night. The visitors took the lead through Adama Traore’s header, but Wilfried Zaha and Eberechi Eze inspired the Eagles in the second half with some very good finishes to a hard-earned 3 points.
Selhurst Park was full of energy as the crowd edged Patrick Vieira’s men and Palace were able to complete the comeback with some brilliant attacking play. Their second-half performance was especially good and morale boosting win took the Eagles to 10th in the table, just a point off Brentford in 9th with a game in hand. They now travel to Goodison Park to take on a team that is in dire need of a positive result, and Vieira and his boys will look to capitalize on their poor fortunes.
WHEN & WHERE?
Date: Saturday, 22nd October 22.
Time: 3.00 pm BST.
Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool.
Referee: David Coote.
Assistants: Nick Hopton, Neil Davies.
Fourth official: Graham Scott.
VAR: Lee Mason.
Assistant VAR: Adam Nunn.
Everton welcomed back Dominic Calvert-Lewin to the lineup on Wednesday night, as the striker made his first start of the season. The Englishman looked rusty, but provided an added aerial threat to Lampard’s team and it remains to see if he is preferred to Neal Maupay up front again on Saturday. Nathan Patterson, Yerry Mina, Ben Godfrey, and Andros Townsend continue to remain on the sidelines, with no new injury concerns ahead of the tie against Palace.
Crystal Palace have a number of long-term ailments, including Nathaniel Clyne (ankle), James McArthur (groyne), Jack Butland (wrist), Nathan Ferguson (foot), and former Bayern Munich defender Chris Richards (leg). Tyrick Mitchell started in the win against Wolves after recovering from an illness, and will be expected to start again on Saturday.
Frank Lampard’s Everton has had a topsy-turvy opening 11 games so far in the league. The Toffees went without a win in their first six games, losing the first two and then drawing the next four in a row. However, that unbeaten run of four games – which included a solid performance against Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby – was followed by two wins on the trot and it looked like things were finally clicking for Everton. It seemed as if the team had started gelling together on the pitch, and it was translating into their performances.
However, since their last win against Southampton at the start of the month, the Toffees lost to Manchester United at home and Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United away from home. They did not register a single shot on target in their last two games, and totalled a combined 5 shots attempted in more than 180 minutes. Everton’s 1 shot attempted against Newcastle was the joint-lowest they have managed since November 2016 versus Chelsea. The last few games have highlighted even more their creativity issues and the lack of service to their attackers. Dominic Calvert-Lewin looked lost on the pitch against Newcastle with close to no service from his midfielders.
Crystal Palace have looked like a settled team under Patrick Vieira, who is in his second season with the Eagles. There were flashes of the attacking, attractive football that the Frenchman wanted to play in his first season, and now the team has begun adopting his philosophy quite well. He has fully utilized flair players like Eberechi Eze and Wilfried Zaha, with the latter often regarded as one of the best players outside the Big Six.
Vieira has adopted a more possession-based football, but likes play to progress up the pitch quickly with short, precise passes. Frank Lampard will have a choice to make if he wants his team to press Palace high up or to defend deep and play on the counter. Everton’s defense, while shaky, has come up as the most reliable in a very erratic team, and it would make sense for the Englishman to use it and play on the counter, optimizing the pace of the likes of Anthony Gordon, Demarai Gray or Dwight McNeil.
Palace are an incredibly tough team to break down, but their poor away record combined with the vociferous Goodison Park crowd against them could give Everton a good chance to create an upset and break their losing streak here on Saturday.
Everton’s standout player in recent weeks, Onana will be keen on continuing to deliver notable performances moving forward. Having emerged as a boisterous figure on the pitch, the midfielder’s physical dominance combined with his ability to break into the box is likely to add a dynamic to the Toffees’ prospects on set-pieces this weekend.
Eberechi Eze was the standout performer against Leeds United last weekend, bagging his first Premier League goal of the season, and then following it up with another goal against Wolverhampton Wanderers in midweek. He finished Michael Olise’s cross excellently after making a late run at the back post and nodding it in Jose Sa’s goal. In recent weeks he has showcased why he is one of the most exciting and promising attacking midfielders in the country. The 24-year-old is excelling within his new role for Patrick Vieira, taking up that free-8 role alongside Olise in a 4-3-3 shape and exerting his creative class and technical excellence alongside Wilfried Zaha.
His marauding runs from deep, excellent link-up play, wonderful vision and capabilities to pick out telling through balls that Kevin De Bruyne would be proud of are all part of unique weaponry in Patrick Vieira’s arsenal. Again, the former QPR man will be a key facet this weekend as the Eagles aim to pick up their first away win of the campaign.
Everton predicted XI vs Crystal Palace: Jordan Pickford; Seamus Coleman, Conor Coady, James Tarkowski, Vitaly Mykolenko; Alex Iwobi, Idrissa Gueye, Amadou Onana; Demarai Gray, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Anthony Gordon.
Crystal Palace predicted XI vs Everton: Vincente Guaita; Joel Ward, Joachim Andersen, Marc Guehi, Tyrick Mitchell; Jeffrey Schlupp, Cheick Doucoure, Eberechi Eze; Michael Olise, Odsonne Edouard, Wilfried Zaha.