Match Preview: Crystal Palace vs Everton

By - Saturday 9th November, 2013

With Palace still struggling for form, they face an Everton side riding high in the Premier League. Matt Woosnam previews.

Palace face an Everton side performing to expectation in the Premier League this season, with Roberto Martinez guiding them to a respectable seventh position with five victories after 10 matches. A goalless draw with Tottenham on Sunday saw the Toffees miss out on the chance to propel themselves further up the table into second place behind leaders Arsenal; but their supporters will be happy with how the season has begun.

Palace fans will be hoping to see the back of Lukaku sooner rather than later. Photo by Erik Drost, used under Creative Commons.

Contrastingly, Eagles’ supporters will be disappointed at how their season has begun, with a solitary victory against Sunderland remaining their only points this season. A 2-0 defeat at West Brom on Saturday was Palace’s seventh consecutive defeat. The last time the Eagles were on such an awful run of form was in the turbulent 1997/1998 season when they lost eight matches in a row. That season culminated in relegation, a feat which is looking likely after ten largely disappointing and disjointed performances thus far.

The defeat at West Brom saw Palace suffer a further blow after Adlene ‘Pep’ Guedioura was stretchered off following an innocuous collision with goalkeeper Boaz Myhill. The Algerian midfielder had looked Palace’s most dangerous player in the first half but the injury forced him off and Palace will be without him for six to eight weeks.

The truth is that our squad just isn’t anywhere near the level of other, established Premier League sides

The search for a new manager continues, but the man who will take charge of the Eagles in what is likely to be his final match as the manager of the club he loves, has called on the players to “go to war” with Everton. Keith Millen is no stranger to going to war in football, having spent his club career as a defender. Palace will need his fighting spirit to rub off on the players and the supporters if they are to get anything from an Everton side who have started with their best run of form for many a year.

Romelu Lukaku, a Palace transfer target over the summer, will link up with Kevin Miralles to provide the Toffees with a frightening attack. Given the South Londoners’ defensive frailties thus far this season, it could be a terrifying afternoon for whichever combination of Damien Delaney, Danny Gabbidon and Adrian Mariappa play in the centre of the Eagles’ backline.

Leighton Baines will be licking his lips at the prospect of any dead ball situations, in particular free-kicks in dangerous areas, and Palace will need to be on high alert not to give away naïve free-kicks. With Steven Pienaar partnering Leon Osman and James McCarthy in midfield, Everton have plenty of talent at their disposal.

Anyone would think I’m a pessimist with the way I talk about Palace in these previews, but the truth is that our squad just isn’t anywhere near the level of other, established Premier League sides. It’s gut-wrenching to predict defeat week after week, but with Everton flying high and Palace sinking to the bottom of the Premier League, it looks like it will be nine defeats from ten for the Eagles.

Crystal Palace 1-2 Everton.

Matt Woosnam

Matt Woosnam

Matt Woosnam is a Kingston University student in his final year as a Politics & International Relations undergraduate. A campaigner on mental health he is the founder of @Talk_Out, as well as part of the TalkEasyTrust, and seeks to break down stigma by encouraging talking out. Matt is also an avid Crystal Palace fan and the online editor of Five Year Plan Fanzine, as well as a regular contributor to the Croydon Guardian.

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