Bottom of the table Crystal Palace welcome Everton to Selhurst Park on Saturday, still without a permanent manager after Ian Holloway left the club by mutual consent.
Palace have won only one of their opening ten games this season, losing the other nine, and find themselves six points from safety after a terrible start back in the Premier League.
Keith Millen has inherited a squad that have struggled to score goals this season, notching just six times in their opening ten games and are the joint fewest scorers in the Premier League. The side have also struggled at the other end of the pitch, conceding 21 goals with only Sunderland conceding more goals than them this season (22).
Roberto Martinez has made a decent start as Everton manager, winning five and drawing four of his opening ten games in charge, losing just once in a 3-1 defeat to Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City. The Toffees find themselves in 7th place, level on points with Southampton and Manchester City and are just one point behind Chelsea who sit in 2nd.
Everton have adapted well to Martinez’s tiki-taka style of football, with the loan signing of Gareth Barry looking like an inspired move from the former Wigan manager after some decent performances this season.
Crystal Palace will be without Adlene Guedioura for at least six weeks after breaking two ribs in a collision with Boaz Myhill in Palace’s 2-0 defeat to West Brom, while Glenn Murray is out with a long term knee injury.
Patrick McCarthy, Jack Hunt and Jonathan Williams have all been ruled out for Palace.
Romelu Lukaku has recovered from his collision with Hugo Lloris in the 0-0 draw with Tottenham, but Arouna Kone has been ruled out with a cartilage problem. Darron Gibson is most likely to be out for the season with a long term knee injury, while Antolin Alcaraz is not yet fit to return.
- Everton are unbeaten when Gareth Barry has played in the Premier League this season.
- Kevin Mirallas has the joint most assists in the Premier League this season (4).
- Crystal Palace have made more tackles than any other team this season (245).
- Everton are the most fouled team in the Premier League this season (135).
- Only 2 of Crystal Palace’s goals have come from open play.
Mile Jedinak has been one of Crystal Palace’s star performers this season and has looked comfortable in the Premier League after stepping up from the Championship.
Jedinak has made 43 tackles for Crystal Palace this season winning 81% of them, with only Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey (46) making more tackles than the Australian in the Premier League this season. The midfielder has also entered into 87 ground duels, which is the joint most in the Crystal Palace team with Joel Ward this season and has won an impressive 67% of them.
The Australian is also Palace’s top passer this season, completing 77% of his 547 passes and has been a rock in the centre of Palace’s midfield winning 82% of his 49 aerial duels.
Everton are expected to dominate the possession in Saturdays game, with most of the passes likely to be made in safe areas in their own half of the pitch with Everton recycling play until they find an opening. Therefore, it will be imperial for Palace and Jedinak to keep up their workrate for the whole 90 minutes as Everton will pass and pass until they find an opening.
Jedinak will have to keep up his impressive defensive stats in this game if Palace are to have any chance and it will be important for him to try and stop Everton’s midfield from dominating the play.
Palace will more than likely play a low defensive block and try to frustrate Everton when they have the ball and look to counter whenever they get the chance. If this the case then Jedinak will be an important player for Palace on Saturday as he is the main player for Palace in breaking up play.
Everton have missed an out and out striker that will score them 15+ goals in the last few seasons, but for this season at least they may have found that man in Romelu Lukaku.
The Belgian scored 17 times in 35 appearances whilst on loan at West Brom last season, at a rate of a goal every 118 minutes and has continued his goal scoring form into this season, already scoring 5 goals in the Premier League for the Toffees.
With Everton’s recent change in style under new manager Roberto Martinez it is even more important that Everton have a striker will find the back of the net when he gets the chance. Everton have had 2.9 fewer shots per game and 0.4 fewer shots on target per game than last season and will be more important than ever for Everton to convert their chances into goals.
Lukaku also offers Everton a significant presence up front and gives the Toffees an option to go long if needed as well as being Everton’s main goal threat. Palace will have a tough job stopping the Belgian on Saturday, whilst Everton will be relying heavily on him to score the goals to fire them up the table.
If Lukaku is on form then he is unstoppable, with his pace and power causing defenders nightmares and will be looking to prove a point this season to Jose Mourinho after sending him out on loan.
Chelsea’s loss is Everton’s gain for one season at least and Everton fans will be happy to finally have a goalscorer in their ranks, with Jelavic failing to get the goals and Anichebe leaving for West Brom.
Crystal Palace 0-2 Everton