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EPL: Crystal Palace v Everton Preview
Our footy writer previews the EPL matchup between Crystal Palace and Everton.
Sam Allardyce has hardly done wonders in alleviating the growing discontent surrounding Crystal Palace. The loss of Wilfried Zaha has really diminished their attacking prowess. One would have thought that a West Ham side without Dimitri Payet would have presented Allardyce with the perfect chance to strike but the ease with which West Ham decimated Palace was disturbing.
Everton’s performance against Manchester City ossified their status as the proverbial Jekyll and Hyde side in the league. They ripped apart Pep Guardiola’s side with a style that befitted the great manager’s philosophy perfectly.
English Premier League | Saturday 21 January | Selhurst Park | 17:00
To Win (90 Mins)
Crystal Palace 2/1 | Draw 22/10 | Everton 13/10
Allardyce will be hoping that the signing of Leicester City’s Jeffrey Schlupp will give them some added width down that left-hand side. He needs to extract a greater sense of responsibility from his holding midfielders. Yohan Cabaye and James McArthur - perhaps in an overspill of the Alan Pardew generation - are too keen to join in with the attacking players.
In Everton they will find a midfield that has been boosted by the presence of Morgan Schneiderlin. This will give them some added dynamism. So it’s crucial that one of them remains there to cover the back four at all times.
Christian Benteke needs to stop waiting for things to come to him. He needs to impose himself on games more forcefully. Jason Puncheon and Andros Townsend not only have to provide an obvious attacking threat this weekend but are going to be charged with keeping Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines quiet.
Tom Davies exploded into the consciousness of the entire Merseyside region with perhaps one of the most exciting performances by a young English player since a certain Wayne Rooney was adored upon the Goodison terraces. He will no doubt continue and will be literally bursting with confidence.
The signing of Schneiderlin adds another dimension to their holding midfield area, perfectly dovetailing with the more robust presence of Gareth Barry.
Romelu Lukaku will feel that he could completely dominate a Crystal Palace defence that has looked vulnerable the entire season. Kevin Mirallas has looked completely rejuvenated in the last few weeks, finally starting to dispel the myth that he is just another Gerard Deulofeu.
Ross Barkley needs to look at the example of Tom Davies and remember what it was like to be the hot young thing in Goodison. Perhaps the young lad's presence will help reinstall that sense of wonder that propelled Barkley into the forefront of English football some years ago.
Verdict: Everton Win (13/10)
I think that Allardyce’s side have fundamental issues. Everton are riding the crest of a wave that seems to have brought the fans back on side. Ronald Koeman has always been admired as opposed to loved but that City performance could have helped evolve the relationship.