PL Preview: Everton v. Crystal Palace

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  • Everton has 3 straight clean sheets v. Crystal Palace
  • Everton owns 19 points in 10 games under Carlo Ancelotti
  • These teams drew 0-0 in the opening game of the season

Everton has one more clear opportunity to continue its great form before slamming headfirst into a brutal stretch of games as the Toffees host Crystal Palace at Goodison Park on Saturday, with kickoff slated for 7:30 a.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

After this weekend, Everton breaks for two weeks before an upcoming fixture list that features consecutive matches against Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Leicester City, and Tottenham with Norwich City the only lower-tier side sandwiched into that group.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

The Toffees have won four of their last seven Premier League games, suffering just one loss over that span and finding themselves just four points back of fifth-placed Tottenham. One reason for the solid run of form is the relatively clean bill of health, which is only blemished by the long-term injuries to Andre Gomes – who will be returning soon – and Jean-Philippe Gbamin.

Crystal Palace has just one win in its last 10 league games, and while draws were sustaining the Eagles for a while, they have lost two in a row to Southampton and Sheffield United and desperately need a result to hang their hat on. They remain without striker Cenk Tosun who is out with a hamstring problem, while Mamadou Sakho and Jeffrey Schlupp remain long-term absentees.

Injuries/suspensions

Everton: OUT – Fabian Delph (suspended), Andre Gomes (ankle), Jean-Philippe Gbamin (thigh). QUESTIONABLE – [none].

Crystal Palace: OUT – Mamadou Sakho (hamstring), Jeffrey Schlupp (groing), Cenk Tosun (hamstring). QUESTIONABLE – [none].


Probable lineups

Everton: Pickford; Digne, Holgate, Mina, Sidibe; Sigurdsson, Schneiderlin, Walcott, Iwobi; Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin.

Crystal Palace: Guaita; Ward, Cahill, Tomkins, van Aanholt; Milivojevic, McArthur, McCarthy; Zaha, Ayew, Townsend.


What they’re saying

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti on Crystal Palace: “I expect a difficult game. Palace have their own quality and a manager with lots of experience. With the support of our stadium I think we can have three points. Now we have to be focused. It is an opportunity to climb the table [against Palace]. We have to close this period and prepare for the end of this season. The games are really difficult.”

Palace boss Roy Hodgson on his future at the club: “The fact is the chairman and I had very positive discussions during the week. I have no reason to doubt the intentions of the club are any different now to how they were: to ask me to stay. I’ll be having further discussions in the coming days and we’ll see where that leads.”


Prediction

It’s undoubtable that Everton is miles better under Carlo Ancelotti. Just look at the results…after earning just 14 points in 15 games under Marco Silva, the Toffees now have 19 points in 10 games under Ancelotti and just one loss in that stretch. That point haul is second only to Liverpool in the last 10 games as teams around them continue to stumble. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Everton climbs into a European place by the end of the season – in fact it’s somewhat likely. Still, Crystal Palace is a draw machine and after two tough-luck losses, they’ll be sure to defend hard. Both teams would be happy with a point here, and that is probably where they’ll end up via a 1-1 scoreline.