Bloggin’ the Blues: Palace come to Goodison

EvertonCrystal-Palace-F.C.-Logo

 

Everton escaped the Stadium of Light with 3 points, and now play host to an underrated Crystal Palace side in a match that, on paper, the Toffe’s should win.

The two teams played to a scoreless draw back in November at Selhurst Park, and while the season has obviously gone Everton:CPdifferent ways for each respective club, this tilt could prove to be just as tightly contested.

With a visit from Manchester United lurking on the horizon this weekend, Everton will need to stay focused on the match at hand and not look past a Crystal Palace team that’s been on somewhat of a roll themselves, winning their last three including a home match against Chelsea.

Palace have been surprisingly strong in the back this season, and have conceded the 4th fewest goals in the league with 34, behind only Chelsea, Everton, and Manchester City. Everton must be more creative in the final third than they were against Sunderland if they’re to find the back of the net, and capitalize on any chances given because they’re likely to be few and far between.

Conversely, Palace’s attack has lacked consistency and a real goal-scoring threat up front. Their 18 goals scored is the lowest in the league behind Norwhich City with 26. So while they may struggle to find room to score goals themselves, our Blues should be able to keep the ball out of their own net providing they keep up their current form. They will have to perhaps pay close attention to Jason Puncheon who has netted 3 goals over the past two matches.

All told, a win probably means more for Everton as they’ll take back the coveted 4th place after Arsenal jumped back into the position with their victory over West Ham, but Palace aren’t quite out of the relegation shadow just yet and a win – or draw – would likely go a long way in securing their Premier League spot for next season.

Prediction: Everton 2 – 0 Crystal Palace

 

Projected Lineup

 

Everton lineup

 

  • Martinez had the luxury of resting Mirallas for the Sunderland match, but he’ll be needed for this one and will likely start over Deulofeu who started last week and played 77 minutes.
  • Barkley came on as a sub in the second half last week, but should get the nod here as the Blues will need his energy, pace, and creativity in the middle.
  • Jagielka is reportedly ready to return to action, but word is Martinez is saving him for the United match on the weekend. Stonesy’s been magnificent in his stead, so we should be able to survive another week without Jag’s.

 

Fantasy Focus

Up front, Lukaku is really the only one you can trust. Other than basically being non existent against Sunderland, he’s been in good form, scoring 4 goals and providing 2 assists over the six game win streak. I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody else ends up on the score sheet, but it’s tough to trust anyone up front right now other than the beastly Belgian.

As far as defensive options go, Baines and Coleman are obviously always strong plays as they get forward quite a bit and are often integral in the team’s attack, but with a solid chance at a clean sheet, Distin, Stones, and Howard all make for strong plays as well.

 

Be sure to check out my match notes after the contest tomorrow, and follow me on Twitter for more EPL and Everton talk at @LTtheGreat

 

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