Everton vs Crystal Palace

by | 06/12/2015  98 Comments  [Jump to last]
Match Preview

James McCarthy will undergo a fitness test to determine whether he is fully over a hip injury

Everton return to Premier League action for the televised Monday match with the incentive of sitting in sixth place by the end of the evening if they can overcome Crystal Palace at Goodison Park.

Results over the weekend have pushed the Toffees out of the top half but the congested nature of the table means that a victory over Alan Pardew's unpredictable Eagles would lift them up five places and back onto the coat tails of the pack of clubs contesting the top four.

The continued fluctuation of fortunes for the top flight's supposed elite clubs has left both the race for the Champions League and the Premier League title itself wide open and there is opportunity for a club like Everton that can put a run of wins together. The challenge, as ever, is to grind out three points week in, week out and the Blues' last League outing was a harsh lesson that there is no room for complacency or scope for easing off the accelerator during matches.

Roberto Martinez will be hoping, however, that the comfortable Capital One Cup victory at Middlesbrough last Tuesday has banished the disappointment of the 3-3 draw at Bournemouth in which his charges twice squandered a precious lead and that they rack up a third successive home win.

Continuity in the side seems to have been an important under-pinning of the Blues' recent run of good results and that was reflected in Martinez's line-up for the trip to Boro. Unlike in previous rounds where he made extensive changes, the manager made just three alterations, one of them forced upon him by injury to James McCarthy.

Though he wasn't missed quite as much against Championship opposition in the cup, the Irish midfield linchpin's absence from the field for the last half hour of the game at Bournemouth has been highlighted as being a significant factor in Everton's defensive vulnerabilities that contributed to them throwing those two points away.

Coincidentally, it was the surprise omission of McCarthy from this fixture two seasons ago that was seen as being key in Palace effectively ending Everton's push for Champions League qualification in Martinez's first year in charge. The 25-year-old was in the line-up for the same game last season one which also ended in a frustrating 3-2 defeat but he was powerless to prevent individual errors from sinking the Blues on that occasion.

Coming into this Monday's game, McCarthy is Everton's biggest injury doubt and he will undergo a late fitness on the hip injury that forced him off after an hour of the draw at Vitality Stadium 9 days ago and kept him out of the cup tie at the Riverside. In both instances his replacement was Tom Cleverley and the former Manchester United and Aston Villa midfielder would be a good bet to continue in the role should McCarthy not make it.

At the back, Leighton Baines continued his patient return from long-term injury with a substitute's appearance against Boro and he is likely to be named on the bench again for this one given Martinez's reluctance to throw him back into action too soon. Though Brendan Galloway lacks Baines's natural instincts as a fullback, the 19-year-old continues to be an impressive deputy for the England international and he will offer height and physical presence against what is always a robust Palace outfit. Tim Howard will almost certainly return in goal.

Further forward, Arouna Kone is expected to come back into the side at Leon Osman's expense to resume his increasingly fruitful partnership with Romelu Lukaku and with Gerard Deulofeu on the right flank and his Ivorian foil alongside him, the Belgian will be hopeful of equalling Peter Beardsley's feat of scoring in six consecutive games for Everton in the Premier League era. Lukaku is joint-second-top scorer in the League coming into this fixture, four behind Jamie Vardy.

Palace, meanwhile, will be forced to do without one of their wing threats after Wilfried Zaha triggered a one-game ban for picking up five yellow cards for the season, while Bakary Sako is ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Even without those two players, they will be no easy proposition, particularly given how successful they have been at times on their travels so far this season where they have beaten Chelsea, Watford and, most recently, Liverpool. But, as their last five games in all competitions have shown, they have also been inconsistent, losing heavily to Manchester City in the League Cup and falling to Sunderland at home before hammering porous Newcastle 5-1 in their last game.

For Martinez and Everton, the equation should be a simple one: perform with the attacking freedom and invention that has characterised their last few games the last five matches have yielded 16 goals and retain the defensive solidity they exhibited against Aston Villa and Middlesbrough and they should win.

Kick off: 8pm
Craig Pawson
Predicted line-up: Howard, Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Galloway, Barry, Cleverley, Deulofeu, Barkley, Kone, Lukaku

Quotes sourced from ToffeeWeb Match Report

Reader Comments (98)

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Chris James
1 Posted 06/12/2015 at 19:11:16
MASSIVE game tomorrow night. Win it and we're right back in the hunt ahead as we head into the Xmas period and more winnable fixtures. Lose or draw and we've missed another chance to gain ground and are amidst the mid-table also rans.

We've got enough in the team to beat Palace but they're no walkover and it's a chance to really show we've got the winning mentality under Martinez.
Tom Evans
2 Posted 06/12/2015 at 19:25:58
Well, the way this weekend's results have fallen, it will be a crying shame if we don't take advantage.

It will be a tough game, but one we need to win if we have any thoughts of attaining a top six finish.

Gavin Johnson
3 Posted 06/12/2015 at 19:36:20
Saying this is a massive game is an understatement. We really need to be on our game. If we can win it could transform our season and give us the momentum to finish in the top 6.

We're due a result against Palace and on paper we should beat them, but we never seem to make it easy for ourselves when we play them.

Fingers crossed we give a performance without any of the lapses of concentration that has seen us drop points this season.

Steve Jenkins
4 Posted 06/12/2015 at 19:38:43
Great to see a board and chairman with ambition and capability to deliver moving the club forward:

Crystal Palace can target Premier League title in the future, says Steve Parish

Interesting that he's also managed to bring investment and stay in charge of football-related decisions, something that doesn't seem to be possible at Everton.

Jimmy Salt
6 Posted 06/12/2015 at 19:40:37
No need for long winded speeches here, the results over the weekend show that no one is grasping the nettle. Can we?
Craig Fletcher
7 Posted 06/12/2015 at 19:41:20
Bolaise and Cabaye will be shaping up to be Palace's biggest threats. If I was Martinez I'd be inclined to play Besic if McCarthy isn't fit, and get Mo to man-mark Cabaye all game. Stop him and we'd be going a long way to stop Palace on their counter-attacks.
Ernie Baywood
8 Posted 06/12/2015 at 19:46:36
Something of a defining game coming up here. Don't worry about their recent history – Palace are a good side and well worth their current league placing.

If we're a top 4 or top 6 side we beat upper mid table sides at home.

Colin Glassar
9 Posted 06/12/2015 at 19:53:33
I don't know who's more annoying, Pardew or the Palace fans with their irritating single song? We need to beat them, full stop... and we will go 6th and 6 points off Man City in 2nd place.

So a 6-0 drubbing would be fitting.

Stephen Brown
10 Posted 06/12/2015 at 19:58:48
Good shout there, Craig (#6). I think a win tomorrow will set us up nicely for the hectic Xmas period!
Jimmy Daly
11 Posted 06/12/2015 at 20:04:08
I quite like Tom Cleverley, but, at Bournemouth, it was his clearance that fell to Smith, and, he did not track Stanislaus (who he was marking), when ball was swept out to the left for the eventual cross that the boy scored from.

I doubt whether Roberto will throw him on from the start, just because of match fitness, if James is deemed unfit. I think he will play Osman before Cleverley.

Back 4 pick themselves as does Howard, Midfield/Forwards with Osman, Barry, Ross, Kone, Gerri and Rom.

Will predict a 3-1 win!!

Mike Hughes
12 Posted 06/12/2015 at 20:09:12
A scabby win will do for me. Pardew has got form for being a bit of a knob on the touchline. I reckon Big Dunc will be on standby for a quiet word in the ear.

Personally I'd like to see more management fisticuffs: Ranieri v Pellegrini would be a dance with all pose, no punches. Hughes v Allardyce could be explosive.

2-1 to us tomorrow.

Oliver Molloy
13 Posted 06/12/2015 at 20:17:18
Crystal Palace is a step up from our victories over Aston Villa and Middlesbrough.

Palace are a decent team, Pardew is nobody's fool and gets the best out of his team, and like us, they are capable of beating anybody on the day. I really like Cabaye, and we will have to keep a close eye on him pulling the strings.

I don't think they will come to Goodison to sit back. They are one of the sides in and around us in the league table that we simply must beat in order to keep us going in the right direction.

Confidence is a big thing in any sport and we have a few players that have it in abundance at the moment; the more victories we get, the more this feelgood factor will spread throughout the team and squad, but this will be a good test for Everton.

I reckon there may be a few goals tomorrow night, let's hope we score one or two or more than they do.

Patrick Carty
14 Posted 06/12/2015 at 20:32:30
Looking forward to this game and I have a good feeling we are going to win by two goals.

3-1 Everton; Lukaku (2), Kone.

John Keating
15 Posted 06/12/2015 at 20:35:36
As long as we play to a good tempo for both halves we have enough to win.

This sloppy tactic of only going at it for half the game will catch us out against decent teams like Palace.
Dave Abrahams
16 Posted 06/12/2015 at 20:37:15
We beat them last time we played them and that was during our bad spell last season, although it was away from home.

This season's results are all over the place in the Premier League so anything can happen, Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool couldn't score a goal between them over the weekend... let's change that tomorrow night.

I'm hoping for a win and if Deulofeu is given plenty of the ball, he'll do the rest.

Paul Andrews
18 Posted 06/12/2015 at 20:42:40

I hadn't realised that. Shows how upside down the league is this season.

Aim for the moon, you may get the stars.

Sam Hoare
19 Posted 06/12/2015 at 21:12:40
I think we are yet to beat any of the top 10 teams this season. That needs to change soon if we have ambitions beyond mid table.

Palace are a good team who will look to catch us on the break and are good at set pieces too. We tend to slip up when we have the chance to take advantage of rival slips. Hope we change that trend.

Gavin Johnson
20 Posted 06/12/2015 at 21:31:11
Dave - that's a good point. I'd totally forgotten we beat them last season.

It's usually painful when we play them. We've got Rom and Deulofeu on form this time round so there's no reason we can't beat them again if they get the ball.

Kunal Desai
21 Posted 06/12/2015 at 21:47:53
Do we let Palace have plenty of the ball and hit them on the break like the away side, I think that could be key to getting 3 points here. Leave ourselves exposed going forward and they will hurt us.

Deulofeu and possibly Cleverley may possibly be in for a night when they have help the fullbacks a lot more with the likes of Bolasie's and Puncheon's pace on either side.

We need to avoid giving away silly fouls in and around our box.

Steve Alderson
22 Posted 06/12/2015 at 21:53:10
Tom (#2): Have the weekend results fallen well? Since when could Stoke fail to score 3 clear chances against Money City and still win. Bournemouth had Chelsea sussed after after 20 minutes and went on to look for goals...not a draw from then on.

Newcastle have been pish for most of the season and were desperate for a result. Fortunately tonight they played Liverpool's clumsy cousins, the ones we haven't met, played well and won without McClaren having to tear out any more hair.

I've heard of shock results but I don't think luck comes into it. The fact is the big boys are all beatable. Especially when they think they've already won.

Our approach is often wrong. We could learn a lot from the likes of Bournemouth and Leicester but we think we are different. It doesn't always seem obvious when though.

Alexander O'Brien
23 Posted 06/12/2015 at 22:22:46
Jimmy Daly (#10), I doubt Martinez will start with an ageing paceless Osman against a vibrant pacey Palace side so I'd go for Cleverley.

I'd blame Kone for the first Bournemouth goal for not closing Smith down. IMO

Raymond Fox
24 Posted 06/12/2015 at 22:47:11
The bookies fancy us to win at Evens, next the draw at 5/2, Crystal Palace are 11/4 to win.

The results are all over the place this season, so I'm pretty apprehensive about this game! It's only one game, but a win would bounce us up to 6th and put us right in the mix and with it a feelgood factor.

We are definitely the most likely winners if there is one, but I wouldn't stake my life on it!

Danny Broderick
25 Posted 06/12/2015 at 22:59:13
Palace without Zaha and Sakho means they are not at full strength. We basically need to keep Bolasie and Cabaye quiet.

Their left back Souare is dog shit. I'm expecting Gerry to tear him a new one. If we can get Lukaku in the middle and Kone arriving at the back post as Gerry whips some balls in, I think there are goals in this for us.

We are getting a few players back now as well, Baines will probably be on the bench. I expect us to win this one. If we do, we'll be in 6th place, and this will have been a decent start to the season...

Kim Vivian
26 Posted 06/12/2015 at 23:10:53
Steve (#4) - see in the Times that Crystal Palace FC were 15th in the Times Fast Track 100 list of Britain's fastest growing private companies at 107% year on year having been in administration in 2010.

Someone's doing something right down there.

We'll win tomorrow and need to make the most of the rest of this month. January looks a nightmare waiting to happen.

Si Turner
27 Posted 06/12/2015 at 23:14:36
Difficult game. We need to be careful both when they break with pace and also at set pieces.

That being said we should play this game with confidence and an attacking mindset because we are at home and should have too much for them.

Rom and Geri are on fire at the moment so I am hoping for a blue win to put us 6th with games like Norwich (A), Leicester (H), Newcastle (A) and Stoke (H) to follow.

If we get 9 from those 4 games as a minimum we will be well placed to push for top four in the New Year just when the European games return for our competition.

John Malone
28 Posted 06/12/2015 at 23:15:32
Fully expect Pardew to park the bus and counter attack and play for set pieces tomorrow. No doubt he will have identified the fact our main goal threat is coming from Delboy and into Rom so I expect him to double up on Delboy and stick big Scott Dann on Rom.

This is a massive game for us and one where I will be looking to see if Martinez has really got the minerals to take us into the top four!

On another point, I'm glad to see that Galloway will be starting up against Bolasie who tore Baines a new arse last year!

Brian Porter
29 Posted 06/12/2015 at 23:20:17
I'm praying we don't slip up as we have in the past when we've had the opportunity to jump into the higher places in the table. We have a real chance to move our season up a gear tomorrow, so let's hope Martinez sends the team out in the right frame of mind and not let Palace dictate play early on as that would play into their hands.

We need to get them on the back foot from the start, close them down early, and not give them opportunities to hit us from wide positions, as they like to do.

An early goal would be helpful as they would then have to risk exposing their defence to the likes of Geri and Rom, and Kone if he starts.

No slip ups this time please. This lot virtually killed our Champions League dream two years ago. It's time for some payback.

Neil Wood
30 Posted 06/12/2015 at 23:45:14
I recall the "transfer speculation" prior to us buying Deulofeu. I put a post on stating that if we managed to get him, he would turn us into a top four side. Colin Glasser will hopefully back me up on this.

I still think my thoughts on that day were true and that this, or next season we will achieve it. A few said he was a one-trick pony and made too many errors etc... Well I'm sure that they are eating their words now.

This game is probably our most important game thus far. It is imperative that we capitalise on the games over the weekend and push into 6th (imagine had we held on at Bournemouth too!)

We have a real real chance here... Grasp it, boys

Colin Glassar
31 Posted 06/12/2015 at 23:57:07
I remember Neil. One or two thought he was a luxury player we could ill afford, that he wouldn't defend, too fancy for his own good, wouldn't put in the effort etc.... Hopefully, he will turn it on tomorrow.
Anthony Dwyer
32 Posted 07/12/2015 at 00:29:22
Palace have some really good players with a lot of pace and trickery: Bolasie, Zaha and Puncheon provide a genuine threat, especially away from home on the counter-attack. Clearly Cabeye pulls the strings and they have a steady goalkeeper.

All that said, we have to concentrate on our own game and go about our business. If we can't take this opportunity to climb the table, I fear we will fall off into mid-table obscurity.

Come on blue boys, let's kick on.

Ciaran Duff
33 Posted 07/12/2015 at 00:32:48
Palace will try to negate and frustrate us and the crowd and try to hit us on the break. It has been noted by pundits that the GP crowd can get frustrated and this makes Everton nervy.

Support and patience will be crucial.

Tom Bowers
34 Posted 07/12/2015 at 01:50:43
Doesn't matter if it's Palace or Bournemouth – there are no easy games in the Premier League.

Barcodes beat Redshite, Cherries beat Chelski and Stoke beat City which just goes to show that the economy-conscious clubs can beat the Billionaires on any given day.

Everton of course can win this game if they play good defensively when called upon. Yes, Palace will play on the counter given their speedsters but, as long as the Everton's fullbacks don't get caught out upfield, then Palace won't be able to capitalize.
Matthew Salem
35 Posted 06/12/2015 at 02:02:15
Are Palace the best away team in the league? Surely they must be one of the best.

It's imperative that we get our tactics spot on, meaning that although Deulofeu, Lukaku and Kone or Naismith will have the open space to work their magic up front. We will win this game by breaking their play up in midfield and being solid in the back (especially at set-pieces).

If we win this, Barry will probably be the MotM, as he is so good at breaking the play of opposing teams. If McCarthy isn't fit, Besic would be my choice or Cleverley due to his physical play. Since counter-attacks and speed will most likely cause us to score, I would play Mirallas on the left.

Matthew Salem
36 Posted 07/12/2015 at 02:07:45
* Besic over Cleverley, that is.
Michael Polley
37 Posted 07/12/2015 at 02:28:22
Fingers crossed we don't slip up in this game. It will be difficult,but we have enough quality to the win the game,and get that 6th spot. COYB
Harold Matthews
39 Posted 07/12/2015 at 03:47:20
I think we'll be okay if we don't present them with set-piece opportunities.
Dick Fearon
40 Posted 07/12/2015 at 04:38:06
I hope that in trying to draw them out we don't piss pass around at the back. There's been many times when drawn out opponents go on to do damage.
Darryl Ritchie
41 Posted 07/12/2015 at 06:07:27
I see a basically unchanged side, with possible exception of McCarthy, if he's not able to go. If Martinez wants to be more defensive, Besic will start. If not, Cleverley.

Kone will probably start. He and Rom play well together, although I wouldn't mind Mirallas on the left.

We are fairly evenly matched vs Palace. I think it will be a close one. 2-0 Everton win, with the second goal coming in the second-half stoppage time.

Mark Daley
42 Posted 07/12/2015 at 06:42:56
You only need to know 3 things:

1 we can win this;
2 we would leapfrog the RS;
3 this is EFC;

So we will hit the bar and the post and miss a penalty, and they will get one on the break after 85 through Howard's legs; 0-1 Palace. Don't hope chaps, it just kills you. This is EFC.

Derek Thomas
43 Posted 07/12/2015 at 06:59:00
Re Hope; The only hope I have is, that we don't snatch yet another draw from the jaws of victory... after all, the results went more or less our way over the weekend.
Paul Andrews
44 Posted 07/12/2015 at 07:28:30
A win tonight takes us into 6th. A semi final coming up.

The manager is not having the nightmare season some would like you to believe.
Laurie Hartley
45 Posted 07/12/2015 at 08:14:21
Mark # 39,

You are obviously traumatised. I have been in that place but recent results and events have given me hope. Just hang in their and it will get better :)

You only need to know 3 things:

1 we can win this;
2 we would leapfrog the RS;
3 we can make the top 4

Darren Bailey
46 Posted 07/12/2015 at 08:48:42
I'd also like to see Besic play tonight (if fit) as hopefully he'd be able to keep Cabaye quiet. If he does that and only that and Palace can't get the ball through him then I'll be happy.

I also think that Mirallas should play instead in of Kone. Kone has been a bit below par the past few games and was awful against Bournemouth so to come straight back in the side isn't the right call for me. He needs a bit of bench time and sub appearances as I think he's starting to take his place for granted.

If not Mirallas then Cleverley out there to back Galloway up as teams have started to suss our left side out just as much as putting crosses under the bar for Howard to flap at.

And as I'm along those lines Joel would be in goal for me:

Robles, Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Galloway, Besic, Barry, Deulofeu, Barkley, Mirallas/Cleverley, Lukaku.

We're at home, let's go out there and attack them right from off and get the crowd rocking.

Steve Jenkins
47 Posted 07/12/2015 at 08:50:49
Kim 24

That's impressive, just goes to show, Kim, if you have ambition, business acumen, do not expect things to happen overnight and be handed to you on a plate, then significant progress (in stages) is possible!

We need a win tonight, there's nothing in it points wise if we do, and there's nothing to fear with any team this season.

We need to watch for them hitting on the break and be compact and close them down, when we don't have the ball.

As others have said - need to pay special attention to Cabaye and Bolaise, and I agree with whoever said, that it may be a good idea to bring Besic in for this one on a man marking job.

A win today really sets us up nicely.

Peter Barry
48 Posted 07/12/2015 at 09:35:48
If Martinez ever wants to show he can take Everton anywhere, then these are the sort of games we should be winning.
Keith Conchie
49 Posted 07/12/2015 at 09:47:58
A win tonight and we go 6th. That should be a big incentive. Palace are always a difficult team to play, but I think we have enough quality to get the 3 points.

We must start strong, and attack them from the first whistle to the end. We cannot afford to sit back and wait for an opportunity as they can and will punish us.

I'd like to see Besic start alongside Barry (who is always a cert to start).

My team would be

Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Baines;
Besic, Barry;
Deulofeu, Barkley, Mirallas;

I know it won't happen but I'd like to see Howard dropped for Robles, who played well in the cup game against Middlesbrough.

Christy Ring
50 Posted 07/12/2015 at 10:38:12
I hope McCarthy is back tonight, and I would love to see Robles and Mirallas start, but Bob will never drop Howard and he prefers Kone.
Andrew Clare
51 Posted 07/12/2015 at 11:53:56
I see this as a night for the individual. Pardew will be well aware of Rom, Ross & Gerard so Martinez needs to be clever and introduce an unknown quantity into the mix.

I'm not a fan of Mirallas (lack of effort, bad attitude) but he is a talented player who scores goals. I know he is hardly an unknown quantity but Palace will not be expecting to see him and his presence will give them more to worry about. So I would go with an attacking line up.

Results are all over the place this season with only Leicester and a dour Man Utd team showing any consistency. The league is wide open and there for the taking if we can put a run together.

Peter Bell
52 Posted 07/12/2015 at 12:42:31
Just fuck right off, Sky TV, will you... why is Craig Bellamy replacing Gary Neville on tonight's show?
Dave Lynch
53 Posted 07/12/2015 at 12:59:02
Why does that bother you, Peter?
James Hughes
54 Posted 07/12/2015 at 13:01:16
Mark (#39) possibly apart from us missing a penalty, we don't get awarded any!!

If we play well, and don't take 35 passes to past halfway everytime, then we will stuff them 4-1.

Peter Bell
55 Posted 07/12/2015 at 13:05:22
Dave, why does it bother me? What is Craig Bellamys previous link to these teams or this fixture? Why another former RS player/ How many more do they need?

He was probably drafted in so they can spend the first hour drooling over RS victory at Newcastle, but it probably won't get a mention now.

David Booth
56 Posted 07/12/2015 at 13:09:04
Oh Kevin Mirallas...

Oh Kevin Mirallas...

Oh, and Besic in for McCarthy if he fails his fitness test.

Peter Bell
57 Posted 07/12/2015 at 13:10:34
Dave, there are former players out there who have played for both clubs. Andy Johnson and Nigel Martyn are two that spring to mind, even Kenny Sansom, ha!
Tony Abrahams
58 Posted 07/12/2015 at 13:11:09
He might be good, he's definitely an arrogant fucker, which might make for some good arguements.

Remember seeing him at traffic lights when he first signed for Liverpool. I was signalling for him to wind his window down, and he was looking at me as if to say, who the fuck are you. When he finally did, I said you have signed for the wrong team. He laughed and said I probably would have signed for Everton, if the manager would have stopped talking about himself, instead of the team.

He gave a totally different slant on it, when I read an interview, about him meeting David Moyes, but that's how they probably get the job. By reigning it in, and being very careful with the truth. In saying that he's done a lot of good things for charity.

Tim Wardrop
59 Posted 07/12/2015 at 13:15:32
Been said already, but this is an absolute crunch match. Win and we are right in the mix. Lose and we are in the bottom half of the league.

I know it's still early-ish in the season, but the league is starting to take shape. It's absolutely crucial that we don't give ourselves too much catching up to do in the second half of the season.

Peter Bell
60 Posted 07/12/2015 at 13:19:27
Tony, he may have done a lot for charity, but he also beat a team mate with a golf club whilst he was asleep in bed, a fine example to all the kids.
Tony Abrahams
61 Posted 07/12/2015 at 13:29:56
Peter, He was the only fella not to shake John Terry's hand, when Man City played Chelsea, after he was caught with Wayne Bridges' ex. (Also ex best mate.) I liked him for that. Being himself.

Way too much emphasis put on these fellas on the telly, anyway. I find it pathetic that people will go on about what such and such said, rather than the actual incident itself sometimes.

Matt Traynor
62 Posted 07/12/2015 at 13:40:17
Tony #54 - didn't he say that he thought he'd got a deal at Everton, and that Moyes suddenly got cold feet, almost as if he was warned off him?

Cracking player on his day. Yes, he could be a nasty fucker, but we've had a few of them down the years. A player who'd have definitely improved us.

Tony Abrahams
63 Posted 07/12/2015 at 13:45:30
Back to the game, and I think the only real problem we have right now is our reluctance to keep playing for the whole 90 minutes. Probably instructions from the manager, but it was around this time last year that those same tactics got to the crowd, and caused the team and the manager to go into meltdown for a month.

With these next six weeks being crucial, I would prefer to see us use our subs a bit earlier in games, and also rotate the odd player, rather than trying to continue conserving energy, when a game seems won.

A few good performances would really get the crowd onside, and once the crowd get behind the team at Goodison, then anything is possible.

Michael Williams
64 Posted 07/12/2015 at 13:52:03
I wonder if Palace being in London helped them get investment from Americans. London always seems to be the shiny object for us Americans.

COYB! This would be a huge win.

Tony Abrahams
65 Posted 07/12/2015 at 13:58:26
That's what he said in the interview Matt, but the way he spoke to me sounded like a totally different story.

He probably played his best footy for Newcastle, so I'm sure they will still give yesterday's game a mention!!

It's mad, but if I didn't have to take my godson, and give me dar a lift home, it wouldn't bother me staying in the house and watching this one on the telly. I used to love Goodison under the lights.

Ray Roche
66 Posted 07/12/2015 at 14:04:29
Matt (#58).

Didn't he also make some disparaging remarks about Terry in a post-match interview?

Michael (#60).

So you're telling us that you Americans actually KNOW where London is? ;-)

Dave Pritchard
67 Posted 07/12/2015 at 14:11:07
Peter, if you're watching on the box why not switch on at 7:59 and not listen to all of the (ahem) expert views. Beforehand, at half-time and post-match, come on to the TW live forum.
Graham Mockford
68 Posted 07/12/2015 at 14:12:48

Have you put pipe and slippers on your letter to Santa?

I've missed the last two home games being abroad so quite excited to be going tonight.

I think the key will be cutting off supply to their wide players because I think we can definitely get after their back four. 15 goals in our last five games is pretty encouraging.

The next five games are key, all are winnable and 11 or 12 points would put us in a very tidy position at the half-way mark of the season.

Dave Abrahams
69 Posted 07/12/2015 at 14:18:42
Graham (#64), Tony doesn't like Father Christmas because he's always dressed in red and white.
Kevin Tully
70 Posted 07/12/2015 at 14:24:22
Not getting excited about us going into 6th place if we win this one. I feel Howard is a massive weak link regarding us ever seriously challenging for a Champions League spot. The guy seems shot of all confidence to me, and let's face it, he isn't going to improve at this stage of his career.

I said he needed replacing after last season, and Martinez has let himself down badly. At least give Joel Robles a run, or buy a new 'keeper in January. Robles at least tries to quicken our play up, Howard is far too hesitant and erratic. Just not good enough for a top 4 side.

Kevin Tully
71 Posted 07/12/2015 at 14:33:25
I've only just noticed the Sky Sports article about flappy on the home page. Read those stats and you will realise just how awful he's been – for nearly 1.5 seasons!

Martinez -– drop him, he's making a fool out of everybody.

Dominic Tonge
72 Posted 07/12/2015 at 14:46:18
Tonight will be tricky. I hate Pardew, and I am sure he still owes one of our lads a Mars bar from a bet. That being said, he has transformed Palace. We face a well-organised unit who are capable of breaking with pace and power, have vocal fans, and who have beaten us recently.

I also think that Palace will be looking at our side and thinking, "Ah, this is tricky." Everton have got the Big Belgian up front, scoring goals, hard to handle. Kone has started to come good and seems to be a good foil for Lukaku, and he bagged a hat-trick the other week.

Baines is back so, if he plays, the threat from set-pieces he offers, either direct or as delivery, can really hurt a team. (For me, he shouldn't play as Bolasie vs a half fit Baines will cost us.) Barkley is looking good and has the capability to run that midfield, and then there is Geri.

If we can win our battles, and approach this game in the professional manner we did against Boro, who were another potential banana skin, then I think we can click against Palace. We are better man for man in every department.

Neil Wood
73 Posted 07/12/2015 at 15:07:58
Colin Glassar thank you for your comments and apologies for mis-spelling your surname!

Tonight is one of those games where we will all be worried but end up winning 3-1 or 4-1. I'm hoping for Rom to bag a brace as my bet on him winning the Golden Boot at 90/1 is looking quite promising!!!

I would look to be 2-0 up at half-time then let Mirallas at them and prove his worth. This will allow any momentum to continue into the second half which clearly against Bournemouth we struggled with. We have the ability and players to kill games such as this off but we seem to go into relaxed mode. We have done it a few times over the last two years or more and that aspect needs to change.

Granted, if you're 4-0 up with 20 minutes left, I'm all for showboating and passing it around. But 2-0 is a massively dangerous score because you relax, you get hit and the pressure is suddenly piled on you. At 1-0 you know you need to be switched on and the concentration levels seem to be higher.

Anyway, 4-1 with Lukaku (2), Coleman and Deulofeu.

Raymond Fox
75 Posted 07/12/2015 at 15:17:56
I don't think there will be any surprises team wise.

Kone should and will start, as he links up well with Lukaku especially very well. Galloway will probably keep his place tonight over Baines. He's shaped great saying his lack of experience, he looks destined to play for England in 2 or 3 years, don't think it will at fullback though.

I doubt if RM will risk Besic; he seems like an accident waiting to happen too much, I like the lad but I don't think he'll get the nod over Cleverley if McCarthy's not fit for this game.

Mirallas will be on the bench again, I fancy, but what do I know!

Ray Roche
77 Posted 07/12/2015 at 15:23:47
Phil, Oh, I know where Wales is. I live there.

Tonight we have Referee Craig Pawson who, in 43 matches has issued 8 reds and 43 yellows..... don't know much about him so I don't think he's pissed us off too much. Or we'd remember him.

William Cartwright
79 Posted 07/12/2015 at 15:51:24
Palace are an upwardly mobile team with an astute youngish chairman and an enthusiastic passionate manager. It's going to be a very, very tough game I suspect.

I don't think the park-the-bus mentality will come into it. In fact that type of approach seems to be less common this season. The possibility of a dull 0-0 with the cancelling out effect of equal bundles of talent and caution may happen.

I would love to see Robles play but that is fantasy football logic. I dread to think what would be the reaction if we throw the game away with Howard at fault, flapping about in the back of the onion bag. I would love to know what exactly it is that goes on the dressing room?

Obviously Mirallas and Distin crossed Roberto but Howard has not. All the other players think the sun shines out of his proverbial? There must be something the rest of us mere mortals are missing... COYB!

Dave Pritchard
80 Posted 07/12/2015 at 15:58:27
Pawson is a newbie to the PL this season I think so he won't have reffed many of our games. Is his record of reds and yellows high, medium or low compared to the average?
Ralph Basnett
81 Posted 07/12/2015 at 16:30:04
Loads of goals for us but no hat-tricks, look what has happened to the last two to score hat-tricks for us.

Jesus what am I saying, more than one person getting a hat trick for Everton in the same season, is this fantasy football?

Seriously though, this is another of those have-to-wins when others around us slipped up!!!!

But we are Everton so.......

Jay Harris
82 Posted 07/12/2015 at 16:39:01
Watched Pawson at the weekend. He looked like the novice he is so look out for erratic refereeing tonight.

This is a game crying out for Mirallas but I'm not holding out any hope as RM's favourites hit the road again.

I just hope Ossie doesn't get anywhere near the pitch as this game will really show his lack of pace.

We need to keep hold of the ball and give it away as little as possible as they are lethal on the break.

Thought Galloway has looked a little bit jaded the last few games so hopefully Bainesy is up to par.

Max Murphy
83 Posted 07/12/2015 at 17:00:02
One of our major achievements this season was convincingly beating Chelsea. As it transpires, anybody can beat Chelsea these days home and away.

If we are to seriously compete for the top half of the table, teams like Crystal Palace must be dispatched convincingly. We are plodding along thanks to some impressive individual displays, against the lower-order teams.

The worrying aspect of the side, is lack of teamspirit and lack of leadership – which has been echoed many times on this forum. I would say we have a better squad than Leicester, but look how they've been playing this season.

For me, it comes down to the motivational skills of the manager, and his team selection. I still believe he is not the right man to manage our club which is a great shame when you look at the players we have.

Tonight – a hard-fought draw.

Shane Corcoran
84 Posted 07/12/2015 at 17:07:39
I think having McCarthy for this one is very important and that's coming from a critic of McCarthy.

Stopping Bolasie on the counter-attack is what McCarthy will be most needed and with Besic not really match fit I don't think we have anyone else that will do that.

Still think we'll win 3-1.

I fear an injury to one of Lukaku Deulofeu coming on in my bones.

Neil Wood
85 Posted 07/12/2015 at 17:22:34
Don't say that Shane!!! Jesus!
David Holroyd
86 Posted 07/12/2015 at 17:36:51
I know it won't happen but Robles should be in goal. He played really well against Boro. He finally looks as though it's time for him to oust Howard.
Lyndon Lloyd
87 Posted 07/12/2015 at 17:41:42
Dave P (76): Pawson is a newbie to the PL this season I think so he won't have reffed many of our games

Coincidentally, I think the first game of ours that he reffed was against Palace away in 2013-14 (a 0-0 draw). Since then, he took charge of our 3-2 defeat at Newcastle at the end of last year and the Asia Trophy game against Stoke which we won on pens.

He has officiated 11 matches so far this season, issuing 1 red card and 36 yellows which is fewer bookings than any of the officials who have reffed more than 10 games.

Tony Abrahams
88 Posted 07/12/2015 at 18:03:10
Graham take no notice of him. It worked on me for years that one until I watched Scrooge, one Xmas eve!

I am glad your excited, I felt like that last week going to Boro. I will be going though, just in case Scrooge forgets his buspass!

Brian Furey
89 Posted 07/12/2015 at 18:16:05
A lot of hype and expectation before this game. Hopefully the players are as tuned in to Palace as we all seem to be.

I'm surprised so many still talking about Robles and Mirallas. I think RM has been very clear where he stands with them two. I can see a nervy 1-0 home win.
Mike Powell
90 Posted 07/12/2015 at 18:27:17
This is a very important game for us tonight. Win this and we're in the mix for a Champions League place. Lose and we're back to being a mid-table team.

The RS are still above us at the minute and they're having a terrible season, so come on Blue men, don't throw another chance away.
James Hughes
91 Posted 07/12/2015 at 18:51:59
Tonight is also the FA Cup 3rd Round draw, could we have a minnow please and a nice easy game before the semi-final... COYB
Pete Ellingham
92 Posted 07/12/2015 at 18:56:58
Wouldn't it be nice if this was a straight-forward win for us? One where none of the boys make any mistakes and we are in full control from the first to the last minute!!

3 early goals and completely controlling the game. Oh how my bitten finger nails and sanity need it! COYB!!

Darren Hind
93 Posted 07/12/2015 at 18:57:21
This is one of the easier games many were talking about after the "hardest start in the league".

We are better than them all over the park and I'm expecting to beat them.

David Booth
94 Posted 07/12/2015 at 19:10:07
If the players' performances reflect the mixed views on this thread, it promises to be a very hit & miss affair tonight!

However, with the form of key players such as Deulofeu and Lukaku and Palace missing the likes of Zaha and Sako, we ought to be confident, purposeful and do a form-based job on them.

If we aspire to top six and beyond, we need to start displaying the confidence that goes with it. Without such self-belief, we are destined to be also-rans again, while the likes of Spurs, West Ham, the Gobshites and tonight's opponents, Palace, steal a march on us.

Time to impose ourselves and build on this momentum we're beginning develop. But a hard task, as Palace have got the measure of us at Goodison twice in a row, in games we never looked like winning from start to finish.

Time to redress that tonight, especially in the light of several results in our favour over the weekend. So believe Blues. Show some cockiness and arrogance.

Let's secure that 6th spot to push on from towards Christmas...

Dave Pritchard
95 Posted 07/12/2015 at 19:13:26
Yes, James, with our January schedule a nice home vs Eastleigh wouldn't go amiss.
David Booth
96 Posted 07/12/2015 at 19:14:06
Funes Mori

NO Mirallas again and Besic not even on the bench.

Harold Matthews
97 Posted 07/12/2015 at 19:15:09
Yes, Max. Real genuine team spirit is a slight concern. The goal celebrations are a dead giveaway. Certain players seem reluctant to participate. One or two look the other way when certain players score.

Some prefer to congratulate the assist man. The same four or five players leap on the scorer's back. Some look like they would sooner be back home with the missus and a cup of tea.

Jay Wood
98 Posted 07/12/2015 at 19:30:00
Unless and until we start winning these types of games against teams like Palace – never mind the big money clubs – doubts will remain about the manager and the team's potential to achieve top 6 finishes, never mind Champions League qualification.

The weekend results highlighted there is an opportunity for middle ranked teams to break up the top-of-table cartel this season, for those bold enough and energetic enough to go for it.

Once again, the manager and players in recent days have blagged the blag.

Time to walk the walk, gentlemen...

James Hughes
99 Posted 07/12/2015 at 19:35:27
I got my wish -- Dagenham at home... get in!
Karl Jones
100 Posted 07/12/2015 at 19:50:05
My big worry tonight is the return of Howard. He's costing us goals through bad mistakes almost every game.

In last seasons game against Palace, he was directly responsible for all 3 of their goals. The second one where he completely missed his catch was poor at any level.

Continuing to pick him will cost us big time this season and I just can't understand Martinez on this one...

Andy Finigan
101 Posted 07/12/2015 at 19:54:16
Nice to see Rooney bringing his son to see there beloved team.
Rob Brown
102 Posted 08/12/2015 at 02:06:46
I listened to the game at work. I've just watched it now, I've got to say we were unlucky tonight, played some great football. But we really need to work on set pieces.

Palace are a good side under Pardew. Even though I will never forgive him for that 'different league' comment. Rom was unlucky not to get a hat-trick.

I've seen comments on Mirallas; I've got to say, every time I've seen him play, for 18 months, he is only interested in himself and doesn't play for the team. That's why he isn't playing. I'm no Martinez fan but fair play to him for seeing that.

It is obvious that Mirallas needs to be sold. So we can spend the money on Yarmolenko, giving us the left winger we are desperately crying out for.

Rob Brown
103 Posted 08/12/2015 at 02:09:55
Karl, there wasn't anything Howard could do with the the goal. But we do need a new keeper, full stop.
Les Netherwood
104 Posted 08/12/2015 at 17:56:00
We were unlucky tonight against a good Palace team. Can anybody explain the dreadful corners taken by Deulofeu? They were all at ankle height at the near post. Why does he take them all the time? With decent delivery Rom may have had a few headers on target.

We missed a great chance to get into the top positions. Why doesn't Barkley run at the opposition any more? He seems to play at walking pace all the time.

My nightmare goalie playing again...and Mirallas on the bench again, how much longer will we have to put up with Martinez and his magic touch?

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