Palace meet Everton in battle of league’s two surprise form teams
Everton to win 2-1
This could prove to be a great match between two teams who have surprised many in how well they have played since the start of the season.
Both with six points out of six and each with a win against a top six team under their belts – with Everton beating Spurs in their first match and a flying Palace side despatching a poor Manchester United side last weekend.
Everton have been a revelation with their new signings, particularly James Rodriguez and have scored 12 goals in four league and cup matches so far.
Palace are the counter-attack kings, with star man Wilf Zaha still at the club and proving invaluable with his double against United.
In recent years, this could well have been a dull encounter in the bottom half of the table. Now, these two teams should give fans a great game to watch.
Predicted 2020/21 finish: 14th
Reasons to be cheerful:
Fantastic start to the league season with two wins from two
Sparkling counter-attacking against Man United
Reasons to be fearful:
Everton are a different beast this season with sights on top six
Haven’t beaten Everton since 2014
Manager Roy Hodgson is the oldest boss in the history of the Premier League, but he has crafted one of the most youthful, energetic sides in the division at Palace.
Despite having limited transfer funds season after season, he has consistently worked wonders to keep them in the league and it’s clear he has the complete trust of his players.
His attacking players, including Zaha but also Ayew, Townsend and Schlupp have blistering pace and ran United ragged last weekend. Not bad for a team who only scored 31 goals in 38 games last season.
This will be a toughest test for The Eagles. Everton will not leave the same gaps in midfield as United did and Palace may find themselves defending for much of the afternoon.
Palace will have their chances on the break, however, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they take them.
Star Man – Wilf Zaha
The former Manchester United player seems to get better every season. Three goals and counting already this season.
Predicted 2020/21 finish: 8th
Reasons to be cheerful
Arguably the league’s most improved team
Scoring goals for fun with impressive attacking players
Reasons to be fearful
Will be wary of Palace on the counter
Don’t have defensive backup options
Alongside one managerial legend in the Palace corner will sit another in Carlo Ancelotti.
When the Italian first arrived as the new boss at Goodison, many wondered how successful even he could be at a club who have not finished in the top four since 2005.
He has quickly assembled a fantastic squad, however, now with the added stardust of James Rodriguez who has adapted rapidly to Premier League life.
They are probably the surprise package so far this season, scoring 12 times in four games so far. They also showed their squad depth in a Carabao Cup win over Fleetwood in midweek.
The Toffees do look a little light at the back, however. Yes, Keane and Mina are a great first choice pairing, but with Holgate’s injury their backup looks a little thin.
Their attacking players will worry Palace. Especially Calvert-Lewin who scored a hattrick last weekend, alongside Richarlison and Rodriguez who add pace and quality on the ball.
Star Man – James Rodriguez
What a great start to English life by the Colombian. He has added goals, assists as well as great quality to this Everton team.
An entertaining fixture in which both goalkeepers will be busy
Everton will control possession with their powerful midfield
Palace will look to counter quickly with rapid pace upfront
On paper, Everton just edge this one, but only just.
Both teams are well-equipped to put the ball in the back of the net and have a variety of players who can get on the scoresheet.
Everton have the stronger squad and can call upon Iwobi, Kean and Sigurdsson from the bench. But when Palace fly forward on the counter, as they did against Manchester United, they can cause problems for any team.
A game of quality which Everton may just edge.
Everton to win 2-1