Goodison Park will welcome two Premier League in-form sides on Monday evening, with Everton hoping to extend a six-match unbeaten run and join the race for the top 6 positions and Crystal Palace hoping to build on impressive triumphs over Liverpool and Newcastle United, hoping to make it five out of five in recent matches at Merseyside.
Everton may be sitting in the bottom half of the Premier League standings after 14 league games, but they are just two points behind top 6 positions and have a chance to climb to sixth in the standings with a win over Crystal Palace. And while defeating the in-form Eagles will be no easy task, the Toffees have plenty of reason for optimism of their own, seeing as they are currently on a six-match unbeaten run. Roberto Martinez’s charges appear to have finally stabilised their home form, having hammered Sunderland (6-2) and Aston Villa (4-0) in their last two outings at Goodison Park, whereas the comfortable win over very good Middlesbrough side in the Capital One Cup quarter-final was another major confidence boost. And if it hadn’t been for the late, late goal they conceded at AFC Bournemouth, the Toffees would boast a perfect record in the last few weeks, but they can obviously be pretty satisfied with how this season is unfolding nevertheless. With Romelu Lukaku and Rosso Barkley working their magic up front, the impressive scoring run looks likely to continue, although the absence of Phil Jagielka and possibly James McCarthy will damage team’s chances of preventing Crystal Palace from scoring.
Crystal Palace have come a long way since Alan Pardew took over the reigns at Selhurst Park and it is fair to say they have been on a constant uptrend. Playing exciting, attacking football, the Eagles defeated some of England’s top sides during that period and it is this in-your-face approach that will serve them well in the clash with Everton at Goodison Park. The former Newcastle United boss did well to reinforce the squad in the summer, but his star striker Connor Wickham has yet to register his first Premier League goal for the club. On that note, it is quite surprising how well Crystal Palace have done without an out-and-out striker in the squad, but it is pacey forwards Wilfried Zaha, Yannick Bolasie and Jason Puncheon as well as the powerful Bakary Sako who perfectly fit in Pardew’s counter-attacking style of play. While suffering narrow defeats to Arsenal, Man City and Tottenham, the Eagles have already defeated Chelsea and Liverpool this term, among other sides, so we have no doubts they head to Goodison Park with a positive mindset. The visitors do have some selection worries as Bakary Sako and Wilfried Zaha miss out through injury and suspension respectively, whilst Dwight Gayle faces a fitness test as he battles a hamstring problem.
Buoyed by some impressive attacking performances that saw them bag 16 goals in last 5 matches, Everton are widely expected to attack the opponents from the off and with Palace a serious danger on the break, chances are we will see goals galore at Goodison.
Verdict: Both teams to score
Best Odds: 2/3
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