Jolt to Palace progress
Crystal Palace have dropped below Everton following last week’s 1-0 defeat at Manchester United, which left them in 14th place after taking just one point from four games since the latest international break.
That has been a jolt to Palace’s promising progress into a more expansive side under Patrick Vieira, which had brought a 2-0 win at Manchester City and seen them lose only to Chelsea and Liverpool until their recent blip.
Joel Ward is expected to return in defence after suspension, while Vieira is hoping to have James McArthur and Joachim Andersen back from hamstring injuries. Jeffrey Schlupp and James Tomkins will continue in their places if they are unavailable again.
Welcome win for Everton
Everton ended a winless streak of eight matches with Monday night’s 2-1 home win over Arsenal but it has not stopped the rancour among the fans.
Much of the bile is directed at Rafael Benitez, who was an unpopular choice as manager in the summer given his Liverpool connections and has been unable to win the fans round with good results.
The win over Arsenal at least stopped the rot and moved Everton up to 12th on 18 points, which puts them two points above Palace and eight clear of the relegation zone.
Injuries have blighted Benitez’s efforts and Dominic Calvert-Lewin is still out, along with fellow striker Salomon Rondon.
Yerry Mina returned in defence against Arsenal but lasted only half an hour and is now sidelined again. It is no coincidence that Everton have lost only one out of six this season when Mina has started.
Palace have earned plaudits for their resurgence under Vieira but it has to be noted that they have won only three of their 15 games, which is two fewer than Everton (for example) and better only than the three teams in the relegation zone.
Those three wins look good on paper (against top-eight sides Manchester City, Tottenham and Wolves) but arguably they came when those teams were out of sorts.
There are other good results on Palace’s record, such as 2-2 draws away to West Ham and Arsenal, but it is difficult to draw firm conclusions yet about their true level under Vieira.
A positive point is that, after blanks in their first three games, the Eagles scored in 10 of the next 11 (the exception being a 3-0 defeat at Liverpool). That high scoring rate helps to explain why they have been hard to beat, with a W3 D6 L1 record when they have scored.
It is a slight concern, however, that Palace have failed to score in their last two matches, both 1-0 away defeats against Leeds and Manchester United.
A clean sheet would help Everton but they have managed only three in 15 matches and have conceded in six of their seven away games.
Their only win on the road came when they shut out Brighton for a 2-0 win at the end of August and since then they have conceded on every trip for a record of W0 D1 L4.
That tilts the balance back to Palace, especially with Everton’s defence missing Mina again.
It is a tricky call and the draw is a big runner, but Palace can just edge it at 2.3611/8.
Both teams are in the mid to upper range for over 2.5 goals.
Palace have had eight out of 15 (53%) over 2.5 goals, falling to 43% at home, while Everton are slightly higher at 60% over 2.5 goals (57% away).
It is a similar picture for matches with both teams scoring (47% Palace, 53% Everton).
Only Wolves (4) have scored fewer first-half goals in the Premier League this season than Crystal Palace (5), while only Aston Villa (24%) have netted a lower share before the interval than the Eagles (26%). A draw-Palace result on Half Time/Full Time is 5.59/2.