The Toffees are looking to get back on track against an improving Palace side.
The latest instalment of Friday night football in the Premier League sees Alan Pardew take his Crystal Palace side to Goodison Park looking for a fourth consecutive league win.
Palace came from 2-0 down to claim a dramatic late victory at Sunderland last weekend, which followed up wins over Middlesbrough and Stoke. With Christian Benteke now settled up front and Andros Townsend beginning to hit his straps on the wing, the Eagles have put their indifferent start behind them and are now looking upwards rather than over their shoulders.
Everton, meanwhile, saw their unbeaten start come to an end at Bournemouth last time out, and Ronald Koeman will be looking for a response. His side haven’t beaten Crystal Palace at home since 2005, but they have the incentive of going second in the table if they take all three points.
Whoever comes out on top in the following individual match-ups will go a long way to deciding the outcome this evening.
Yannick Bolasie vs Martin Kelly
The flying winger lines up against his former club just over a month after leaving Selhurst Park, and will be eager to show his old side what they are missing. Bolasie is yet to score for his new employers, but will see this as an ideal opportunity to do so, particularly against a makeshift left-back in the form of Martin Kelly.
The former Liverpool defender has been deputising in the position in the absence of Pape Souare, and could struggle against the pace and directness of his former teammate. It may be that Pardew opts to play Ezekiel Fryers, who made an instant impact at Sunderland by setting up James McArthur’s equaliser with a pinpoint cross just moments after coming on.
Whoever the manager picks to play at left-back, they may find themselves in for a torrid time against a winger with a point to prove.
Romelu Lukaku vs Damien Delaney
The absence of Scott Dann is a big blow for the visitors, and the onus will be on his defensive partner Delaney to step up. The Irishman has been a key part of the Eagles back four alongside Dann in recent seasons, but now is the time to prove that he can cope without his trusty right-hand man.
Lukaku went goalless in August but the international break boosted his confidence. After netting twice for Belgium, he scored a hat-trick to help the Toffees to a victory at Sunderland before notching again the following week against Middlesbrough. Full of confidence, he will be eyeing up adding to his tally against a leaky Palace back four.
Palace are yet to keep a clean sheet in the Premier League this season; if Lukaku is on song, Delaney will have his work cut out to put an end to that unwanted statistic.
Ross Barkley vs James McArthur
England play Scotland at Wembley in November, but on current form only one of these players will be involved. Barkley started the season with a goal against Tottenham on the opening weekend, but he was not included in Sam Allardyce’s first and only England squad and found himself withdrawn at half-time after a poor display at Sunderland recently.
McArthur has been a typically consistent performer in the Palace midfield, even popping up with goals in their last two victories against Stoke and Sunderland. He may be asked to do a more defensive job at Goodison Park to keep an eye on Barkley, but the Scot will relish the challenge and look to get one over his more decorated opponent.
With a new national manager to impress – albeit on a caretaker basis – and a squad announced on Sunday, Barkley will be looking to take this evening’s game by the scruff of the neck to enhance his credentials.
Prediction: Everton 3-1 Crystal Palace
Do you agree? Who will come out on top? Leave your predictions below.