Crystal Palace vs Everton

by | 13/04/2016  62 Comments  [Jump to last]
Match Preview

Ramiro Funes Mori will come in for the injured Phil Jagielka as one enforced change from the team that drew at Watford

Everton complete a trio of away fixtures in the Premier League with a visit to Selhurst Park this evening to take on Crystal Palace where Roberto Martinez will be hoping to end a sequence of four games without a victory.

The Toffees have won only one of their last six league games and have suffered a marked drop in performances since their stirring win over Chelsea in the FA Cup. A dreadful home defeat to Arsenal was followed by a flat and uninspired loss to Manchester United, while last Saturday's draw with Watford was slightly improved, Martinez's men were still far below the levels they've shown they can reach at times this season.

That run of results has seen Everton drop to a miserable 14th place in the table, although a second successive victory on Palace's home turf would move them up to 11th. Defeat on the other hand, would see Blues drop to 15th and allow Alan Pardew's side to leapfrog above them.

Just like the clash with Watford, this is a meeting between two teams looking ahead to a Wembley semi-final while also battling declining fortunes in the League. Prior to their win over Norwich City at the weekend, Palace had gone an eye-watering 14 games without a win in the Premier League and dropped like a dead weight down the table having previously been out-pacing expectations in the top six earlier in the campaign.

Like his counterpart in the away dugout this evening, Pardew will be hoping that his side can now put together a run of results to move them back into a more respectable part of the table while also boosting confidence ahead of their cup semi-final the weekend after next.

He will be without the recovering James McArthur but can welcome back striker Emmanuel Adebayor who has one goal to his name since Palace ended his exile by snapping him in the January transfer window.

Martinez, meanwhile, will be forced into at least one change after Phil Jagielka limped off at Vicarage Road with a hamstring strain that may yet preclude his involvement at Wembley on the 23rd. With the manager publicly declaring his confidence that he can comfortably fill the void, Ramiro Funes Mori will almost certainly be his replacement alongside John Stones.

In midfield, Ross Barkley is expected to play despite also coming off against Watford with a knock but Tom Cleverley, his second-half replacement in that match, is rated as doubtful with an injury of his own.

With the pressure on him to get a result on the one hand and the fact that his recent team selections haven't melded to produce the kind of attacking football that made Everton so attractive to watch going forward earlier in the season on the other, it's not clear how daring Martinez will be in shaking things up in what could be a dress rehearsal for the cup final next month.

With the likes of Darron Gibson, Steven Pienaar and Leon Osman struggling for fitness of late and Oumar Niasse also battling to adapt to life in England, the Catalan's options are limited in what he can do in terms of reshuffling his pack. Bringing Kevin Mirallas in for Aaron Lennon or, more likely, Gerard Deulofeu, is one option after the Belgian's energetic cameo last time out.

It's probable, therefore, that he will persist with his recent formation and the bulk of that personnel in the hope that the glimmers of life they showed against Watford can spark some sort of revival in his team's performances.

Kick off: 8pm
Referee: Craig Pawson Mike Jones
Predicted line-up: Robles, Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Baines, Barry, McCarthy, Barkley, Lennon, Mirallas, Lukaku

Full coverage: ToffeeWeb match page

Reader Comments (62)

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Dick Fearon
1 Posted 13/04/2016 at 04:26:26
12,000 miles away, at 3am, I will be on the edge of my seat watching and hoping. My thoughts are with the players and travelling fans.

Lyndon, I guess you are right with your team selections yet I would like to see some of our 21s get a run. Man Utd, with much more to lose is giving its lots of its kids first team experience.

During the 60s we were going through a rough trot and though our reserve side was sweeping all before it in its division most of those players never got a look in.

Man Utd will benefit from its youth policy and good luck to them. The only advantage in our situation is being able to follow suit by giving our kids a chance.

Mark Andersson
2 Posted 13/04/2016 at 06:21:38
Why are Osman and Gibson injured?? They haven't played for ages. Anyway it would not matter if they were fit, Roberto does not know what he is doing.

I can see Palace getting a few goals and winning this one, what fight we use to have has gone. Shame for the travelling fans, the only thing Martinez got right in his pre-match interview, saying we have the best fans in the world.

Prove me wrong, Roberto, somehow I don't think you can.

John Barnes
3 Posted 13/04/2016 at 06:52:03
Same faces, same formation, so why expect anything different?

Hope I'm wrong...

Gareth Clark
4 Posted 13/04/2016 at 07:06:30
Give Barkley a break – play two up front!

Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Baines;
Deulofeu, McCarthy, Barry, Mirallas;
Lukaku, Niasse.

Kieran Fitzgerald
5 Posted 13/04/2016 at 07:12:41
Gareth @4, why not use that formation. Creativity on the wings for two strikers and push McCarthy up the pitch. There is an aggressive player somewhere in McCarthy. Maybe playing a little further up the pitch will help bring this out. With Niasse, this is the only way to really bring his fitness up. Start him!
Neil Lawson
6 Posted 13/04/2016 at 07:22:27
I will be watching the FA Cup replay. I will probably switch my phone to silent to avoid the text alerts and wait until it's all over until checking the result. Expect the unexpected? I doubt it. A tedious draw at best.

And for the record, I would give Barkley a rest and play Mirallas behind Lukaku with Lennon back on the right.

Guy Hastings
7 Posted 13/04/2016 at 08:09:16
The Palace fanzine Five Year Plan view of us...
John Malone
8 Posted 13/04/2016 at 08:30:53
I'd play Kone up top with Lukaku and play a 4-4-2. We are not really creating and Deulofeu is too hit and miss. I'd give Barkley a rest and play Mirallas left and Lennon right, then with Barry and McCarthy in the middle.

We need to start winning to lift everyone before the semi!

Zidane Zayn
9 Posted 13/04/2016 at 08:32:42
My team for today would be.

Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Baines;br> Barry;
Lennon, Besic, Niasse;
Deulofeu, Lukaku.

James Hughes
10 Posted 13/04/2016 at 08:34:46
Guy, thanks for that link.

So even the fans of Palace can pick apart what is wrong at Everton yet the chairman seems oblivious.

Gerard Carey
11 Posted 13/04/2016 at 09:03:50
Thanks Guy (#7), everyone else is starting to see the problems we have now as well, except the two most important ones, Chairman Bill and Manager Martinez.

Imagine, if we get a point tonight, we will reach the magical figure of 40 points. And this half-way through April... I think that says it all.

Peter Murray
12 Posted 13/04/2016 at 09:05:08
Guy Hastings,

Thanks for the link. A fair, detailed analysis. Good to read perceptive criticism without the usual added nonsense of "..and it doesn't matter if we win the Cup..."

Ron Sear
13 Posted 13/04/2016 at 09:09:04
That link nails Everton with arguments that are impossible to deny. I particularly liked the comment: "Game management, a feature that has ever growing importance in the top flight, appears to be skill that Martinez and his side are without. There's no doubting the individual abilities of some of Everton's players but they clearly lack common sense at important times". Reflects exactly what is happening on the pitch.
Phil Walling
14 Posted 13/04/2016 at 09:25:10
Ron, not that I have any time for Martinez, but I have been saying for some time that too many of our players lack that ingredient.

Barkley, Stones, Deulofeu and Mirallas seem particularly deficient!

Al Reddish
15 Posted 13/04/2016 at 09:30:11
I would immediately restore Lennon to the right wing as he was our best player there for a few weeks but has lost all effectiveness out on the left.

I would play Mirallas on the left and try and find a place somewhere for Besic as that back four without Jags will struggle. Maybe rest Barkley who at best has been poor in recent weeks and at worst has been a liability that shits out of every challenge... maybe trying to keep fit for the Euros?

Jim Bennings
16 Posted 13/04/2016 at 09:39:41
If there is any kind of risk with regards to Barkley then don't bloody well start him tonight. We can quite easily go with Barry, McCarthy, Deulofeu in the middle and Lennon on the right, Mirallas on the left??

It's hardly like Barkley is pulling up trees at the minute anyway. Throw Deulofeu in the centre behind Lukaku and tell him to quit those needless stupid step-overs (it only looks good when Cristiano Ronaldo pulls it off).

We need to find some flipping form because the chances of beating a really decent Southampton team at bogey ground Goodison Park is remote and then of course it's the place where we have registered about 5 shots on goal in 15 years.. Anfield.

Going to Wembley with such horrendous form would be worrying.

Tony Abrahams
17 Posted 13/04/2016 at 09:54:47
Maybe Osman and Gibson, might have said something behind the scenes, especially with very little to lose.

I see Liverpool, have put themseles forward, to host the Commonwealth games, ten years from now, citing the regeneration of the North side of the city. Maybe we could still get a ground on "the waterfront" after all?

Back to the game, a non-event really, unless we see the effort, that shows us that the players are prepared to roll up their sleeves and fight for themselves and the fans – even if they have no faith left in the manager.

Alexander O'Brien
18 Posted 13/04/2016 at 09:58:48
C'mon Martinez, proves those doubters wrong with a much-needed win. Top-half finish and an FA Cup Victory!!! If you don't, you're out of a job!
Kim Vivian
19 Posted 13/04/2016 at 10:43:54
Like the look of Gareth's line up. Fuck it – nothing much to protect in the league so go for it.

Five Blue-noses going to the game from Kent so hoping for the right attitude to turn up for this one. But is Besic injured? I'd like to see him in for McCarthy.

Jimmi James
20 Posted 13/04/2016 at 10:50:29
This bloody semi final is overshadowing everything else at the moment to the detriment of the team and performances; you can see it in their play, not wanting to get injured, booked etc.

So back to Palace then, god only knows how the manager will set the team up and with who playing where. Have to say I reckon we could get a result here as Palace are not setting the world alight are they?

But maybe it's just the sort of game we get turned over in, who knows? I do know that I'm totally confused with Roberto and his thinking, he just seems to have lost the plot with some of his comments. So come on, then – who thinks what about tonight's game?

Guy Hastings
21 Posted 13/04/2016 at 10:51:52
Something to cheer the hearts of us all tonight.
Trevor Lynes
22 Posted 13/04/2016 at 11:00:55
We are carrying too many non-scorers who lack stamina. There are too many who are not earning their money IMO. They are hiding behind Martinez who is fielding the flak.

Guy Hastings
23 Posted 13/04/2016 at 11:30:27
This is what I was trying to link to


Kim Vivian
24 Posted 13/04/2016 at 11:44:19
Phenomenal link Guy. Good laugh.
Denis Richardson
25 Posted 13/04/2016 at 12:19:18
Thanks for that link Guy, it would be even more funny if it wasn't true.

I still don't know how such a guy can be hired as a Premier League manager. The amount of nonsense he comes out with is incredible. Cannot imagine what the players think of him.

As to the game – I'm completely apathetic. Any sort of result would good just from a moral basis but I really cannot see us winning. Palace finally won on the weekend to pretty much leave them safe so will be more relaxed and up for it. A win would take them from 16th to 12th – and push us down to 15th! A win for us and we'd be back to the heady heights of 11th.

Just looking at our league finishes, you have to go back to the 2003-04 season for the last time we finished below 11th, our position last year. In fact, before Martinez took over we'd finished in the top half 7 years in a row, qualifying for Europe in 4 of them (that's not to say I want Moyes back). If Martinez doesn't manage a top half finish this season, surely his number will be up.

We're 5 points behind Chelsea in 10th and tonight is our game in hand – anything other than a win and we can pretty much say goodbye to top half this season. Southampton away and then the derby – I don't see to many wins for us over the next week.

James Marshall
27 Posted 13/04/2016 at 12:24:53
We REALLY need to get rid of Martinez ASAP. I log on to the Internet every day in the vain hope that the news has broken of his departure.......sigh....
Damian Wilde
29 Posted 13/04/2016 at 13:28:08
From that Palace article:

"The match typified Everton's season. Go one up on the stroke of half time and yet find a way of going into the break level."

Only Everton. We could be four up heading into injury time and draw. I'm desperate for us to win the FA Cup. Tonight, not so arsed. A defeat and it might quicken his exit.

Just despair. Hate him.

Patrick Murphy
30 Posted 13/04/2016 at 13:36:01
Strange to think that, despite our poor league form, Everton has two of the six nominees in the PFA short-list for Young Player of the Season, Ross and Rom join Alli and Kane of Spurs, Butland of Stoke and Coutinho from our neighbours.

Another piece of news which may or may not affect Everton FC is that Mayor Joe Anderson is exploring the possibility of the City of Liverpool hosting the 2026 Commonwealth games.

Peter Cummings
33 Posted 13/04/2016 at 14:03:13
Jimmi #20
I would have thought the possibility of playing in an FA Cup final would be players' incentive rather than, in your view, 'overshadow' their ambition to be there to win the most important trophy in English football by performing to their full potential in every pre game.

From an Evertonian point of view, even in today's world of mega millions, most of us would indeed move mountains and pay well over the odds to see us at least be there as I did in '66 and three more Finals later.

Why our present squad seemingly lacks that incentive,shown by our fantastic supporters in every game, is down to ONE man's inability to know when his tactics, obvious to everyone but himself, just don't work.

Kevin Judge
34 Posted 13/04/2016 at 14:08:06
Don't get me wrong but results not going our way the manager gets the blame and probably rightly so.

But come on please, these players, international players are definitely hiding behind Martinez, taking the flak on here – fact!!!

Remember he is a person, family man and respected man, who obviously wants to do well at least for his own self-respect. Come on, give up this name-calling, slating a man trying to do a job.

Charlie Burnett
35 Posted 13/04/2016 at 14:15:42
Nothing will happen till after this semi final regarding Martinez, and I agree. Imagine the aggro Kenwright will get sacking Roberto and Unsworth or Duncan leading out Everton for the semi and we lose it.

Roberto said himself he would get this final 3rd over with then we sit down and assess once the season is over. In other words, you're not good enough to take us to the next step.
Patrick Carty
36 Posted 13/04/2016 at 14:21:15
Great link, lads, the funniest quote was probably about Tom Cleverley, but the worst quote I have ever heard was calling Aidan McGeady 'phenonenal'.

Anyway, back to tonight's game. Please play this team, Roberto:
Robles; Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Baines; Barry, McCarthy; Lennon, Deulofeu, Mirallas; Lukaku.

Ian Burns
37 Posted 13/04/2016 at 14:56:09
Jim Bennings (#16), Good call on the line-up and formation – please send to Martinez before kick-off!

I pray we don't lose tonight because Crystal Palace will go above us and we will look pretty silly sitting in 15th place – or, to put it another way – 6th from bottom. I genuinely thought those days were behind us.

Don Alexander
38 Posted 13/04/2016 at 15:05:48
Ian, those days and worse are now very much in front of us with Martinez.
Dean Adams
39 Posted 13/04/2016 at 15:09:26

I do not think the "old lady" will last that long. We need a cunning plan and Bobby and Bill have been planning something spectacular!! I hope!!! :)

Ian Burns
40 Posted 13/04/2016 at 15:12:16
Don (#38),

I fear you are probably right. I go back to the very late '50's and through some good and not so good managers and this guy is taking us below the standards set by Mike Walker and it is depressing in the extreme.

Tonight's game is going to say a lot because it is the first since the press have really upped the anti on questioning his stewardship of this club. A win is a must tonight if only to give the players a lift prior to Saturday and next week's two important games.

John Louis Jones
41 Posted 13/04/2016 at 15:14:32
I hope we win tonight as I could not bear that smug fucking Pardew gloating on TV.

Joe O'Brien
42 Posted 13/04/2016 at 15:17:37
I'm thinking that, if we lose tonight, Martinez is gone in the morning.

I hope we do lose tonight because I can't see us going any further in the cup with him at the helm. He's sapping the life out of the team.

He needs to be gone before the Derby and semi next week.

Craig Walker
43 Posted 13/04/2016 at 15:27:21
Adebayor only has 1 goal for them so he's bound to score against us tonight.
John Louis Jones
44 Posted 13/04/2016 at 15:47:03
Craig, Adebayor has a good record against us too.
Phil Walling
45 Posted 13/04/2016 at 15:51:33
Joe @42. Take it from me, Roberto will not be gone in the morning regardless of tonight's result.

Expect to see him lead Everton out at Wembley at least once in the coming weeks!

Christian Gawne
46 Posted 13/04/2016 at 15:54:50
Not Arsed. It was my birthday the other week.

Myself and my sister have a tradition of going the match together every year on our birthdays. She asked me, so which match we going to? I said none, don't want to ruin my day.

That's where I'm at with this shower. Well done Roberto, you dick!

Chris Wilson
49 Posted 13/04/2016 at 16:40:22
Sorry, I didn't mean to write that much. It just sort of took off and wrote itself.
Eddie Dunn
50 Posted 13/04/2016 at 16:57:59
I suspect that Ross Barkley will be rested. It is usual for Martinez to keep the opposition guessing, it will be sensible, as we want him fit for that semi.
Can't see us getting anything at Palace though, a draw would be a good result.
James Stewart
51 Posted 13/04/2016 at 17:07:31
Pardew always has Martinez's number, can't see us getting anything here.
Jim Bennings
52 Posted 13/04/2016 at 17:22:24

I guess it's a measure of how low our standards have dropped but I wouldn't class a draw as a good result tonight against a team lower than us in the table, and there aren't many of those.

I'm personally sick of draws and taking crumbs of comfort from being hard to beat away from home, I don't know about anyone else but I feel as though I have hardly seen Everton win games this past year or two.

Joe O'Brien
53 Posted 13/04/2016 at 17:24:47
Phil, I was thinking the same a few weeks ago, but the pressure on him seems to be getting a lot louder recently. The press have finally picked up on the fans feelings, even Martinez himself seems jittery. I've a feeling he's already knows that his job is on the line after having a talk with the new owner, who I think is calling the shots now and not Bill.

Or maybe this is all just wishful thinking on my part.

�ystein Heggelund
54 Posted 13/04/2016 at 17:46:51
VERY excited about tonight's game! Not because of Everton's amazing state of affairs or our magnificent, formidable and phenomenal manager, but because it'll be my first ever away match in the Everton section. Surely better than enduring the Watford affair in the home stands on Saturday, whatever the outcome this evening. COYB! Hoping for a win and great atmosphere among the visiting Blues.

We need a little bit of confidence before the semi-final, and confidence was in short supply on Saturday, at least judging from my position near the touchline.

Ian McDowell
55 Posted 13/04/2016 at 17:50:34
Come on Roberto. Let's get a few wins on the board before the FA Cup semi. It's vital I believe to go into that game with confidence and a fully believing fan base as we are more than likely going to be facing the Hammers on a massive high at the moment. COYB
Steve Pugh
56 Posted 13/04/2016 at 18:22:05
Would the board get more grief for us losing the semi with Martinez in charge or with someone else in charge?

At least with a caretaker (or even better a proper manager) in place, they will have tried to change things. If it's still Bobby the board are basically closing their eyes crossing their fingers and wishing that it'll work in our favour.

Denis Richardson
57 Posted 13/04/2016 at 18:45:02
I really think it's too late to get rid of Martinz before the semi – it's only 10 days away and the derby is in 7 days, no time for a new man to take over.

Would you really trust any of the current staff with the job, even on an interim basis?

Andy Crooks
59 Posted 13/04/2016 at 18:52:36
Guy, a brilliant link. It is remarkable that someone who does not support our club should have such insight. If I was asked to provide an insight into Palace it would be:

Did Someone called Gerry Queen play for them? Also would anyone be kind enough to tell how to put words in blue titled link, so that I can show stuff to other Evertonians. It seems like fucking witchcraft to me.

Colin Glassar
60 Posted 13/04/2016 at 18:56:57
So who are we supporting tonight? United or WHU?
Andy Crooks
61 Posted 13/04/2016 at 18:58:01
Also, I meant to add that John Daley and Eugene Ruane seem to have mastered this witchcraft. How is it done?
Andy Crooks
62 Posted 13/04/2016 at 18:59:23
Colin, Man Utd. We will beat them.
Ian McDowell
63 Posted 13/04/2016 at 19:02:30
Man Utd for me.
Tom Bowers
64 Posted 13/04/2016 at 19:06:24
No matter what the starting eleven is, they have to be totally focused and disciplined. Palace have some decent pacemen despite their bad run of form but a win against struggling Norwich might just be the springboard they need.

Having said that, Everton have been struggling too, so let's not take Palace lightly. We need to see a big game from Barkley and whoever plays between Lennon and Mirallas.

Regarding the faces we haven't seen for a while I think it's safe to say they should be moved out as they are neither use nor ornament – and aren't likely to be due to their age and injury problems.

Charlie Lloyd
66 Posted 13/04/2016 at 19:07:46
Kone in for Deulofeu. Mirallas still benched after a decent cameo last time out.


Colin Metcalfe
67 Posted 13/04/2016 at 19:09:38
Just tuned in to the semi-final, not really arsed about our game... we'll probably lose anyway!

Never thought I would say that about Everton! Thank you, Roberto!

Christopher Dover
68 Posted 13/04/2016 at 19:12:35
New secret weapon Kone in team.
Thomas Surgenor
69 Posted 13/04/2016 at 19:19:38
Kone?! Slow, indecisive, useless.

If he plays Kone on the left instead of Niasse then the game really is up and Martinez knows he has bought a dud. A very expensive dud.

At least we allegedly recouped the majority of the money on kroldrup. Can't see anyone giving us £10M for Niasse.

Thomas Surgenor
70 Posted 13/04/2016 at 19:22:18
I know I'll get stick on here for this:

We played far better when Mirallas came on. For all the grief he gets on here, I still think he is one of our best attacking threats! Both sendings off (while foolish) were because of his over eagerness to impress, get stuck in and win his spot back.

I've been there and understand that sometimes the harder you try the more you'll mess up.

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