Everton travel to the Capital on Saturday as they look to increase the pressure on the teams above them in the Premier League table. The traditional three o’clock kick off gives Everton the opportunity to move above a number of sides in the league, with three points likely to lift Everton into the top five, at least until the Sunday afternoon games kick off.
The game represents Everton’s first visit to Selhurst Park since the relatively successful 2004-05 season, which saw the Blues, managed by David Moyes, qualify for the Champions League with a top four finish. A similar conclusion remains the main aim for Roberto Martinez’ Everton team and on current form stand an excellent opportunity to succeed. Indeed, if Everton were to win on Saturday, it would be the second best start to a Premier League season for the club, with 22 points from 11 games.
Everton have a good record against Palace and won both games in the 2004-05 season, which saw the Eagles relegated back to the Championship after just one season in the top flight, a fate which is looking like repeating itself again this time around. Marcus Bent was on hand to score his first Everton goal in the game at Selhurst Park, with Thomas Gravesen scoring the other two in a three-one victory.
The only survivor’s from the last meeting between the sides are Leon Osman and Tony Hibbert, but both face a fight to take a starting spot in this game. Osman is the most likely to play, but he is expected to be the only change, with Ross Barkley returning to the starting side in his place.
If as expected Tim Howard starts in-goal he will equal the record for most Premier League starts for an Everton player. Saturday’s game is likely to be his 271st Premier League start, bringing him level with David Unsworth.
Probable Starting Team: Howard; Baines; Coleman; Distin, Jagielka; Barry, McCarthy; Barkley, Pienaar, Mirallas; Lukaku.