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Everton and Palace are my favourite comparison in the Premier League. On one hand, you have a football club that’s considerably better than the other – but perennially underachieve. On the other, you’ve got Palace whose presence in the top-flight is only celebrated because they’ve a load of chaps who jump with flags and a drum behind one of the goals.
I’m not sure anyone can truly be supportive of anyone employs Roy Hodgson in 2021, but they’re justifying it more and more. Anyway, I digress. It is funny though, how people associate The Toffees with being in or around contention for Champions League spots every single year for no reason other than David Moyes landing in them on one occasion.
Yet there’s poor Crystal Palace who are always in the conversation for relegation scraps despite having survived for eight straight years now. At what point do we re-evaluate the worth of a football club in those conversations?
If Palace win here, there will be only six points between themselves and Carlo Ancelotti’s men. Do The Eagles then enter the calculations for the race for Europe? I sincerely doubt it. Here is three positions I quite like ahead of this match-up to challenge your stereotypes.
Safe Bet: Both Teams to Score – No
People love viewing Everton as a team who throw caution to the wind and try to outscore teams rather than control games, presumably because they had 5-2 and 4-2 wins earlier in the campaign.
Their defeat to Burnley last week was the first time both teams scored in any of Everton’s last five Premier League games. It’s quite clear that when The Toffees allow inconsistency to seep in and Ancelotti goes back to basics by being defensively sound. Their three clean sheets in-a-row between Liverpool and West Brom evidenced that.
Monday 18:00 – Everton v Crystal Palace
Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Premier League
Palace themselves have only seen both teams scoring in one of their last four games in the competition. I can’t see there being a lot of goals in this one, in all honesty.
Value Punt: Patrick van Aanholt to Have a Shot on Target
Everton’s primary weakness is becoming too narrow when out of possession. This deficiency has existed for a couple of seasons now and while Ancelotti has absolutely amended countless oversights from previous regimes, this still lingers.
Given Hodgson’s side like to swing the ball in from wide positions, it often falls to full backs at the back stick, so they get away with it. The Eagles aren’t a side you associate with overlaps on the outside, but they’ll benefit from a smaller playing surface in Goodison Park and can exploit their opposition.
Long Shot: Correct Score – 0-0
Not the preamble that will get your pulses racing to watch this one in particular, but they’re two teams who, when inconsistent, like to bring it back to being defensively solid.
One thing Everton are terrible at is maintaining width and they often find it tough to play through the thirds because of this. Lucas Digne is one of the best wide players in the league, but he’s so often wasted. If you don’t stretch Palace horizontally, they’re very tough to beat too.
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