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Preview: Crystal Palace vs. Everton - prediction, team news, lineups
12/12/2021 13:40:57

Crystal Palace play host to Everton on Sunday afternoon having lost their last three fixtures in the Premier League.

The 14th-placed Eagles head into the fixture at Selhurst Park sitting two points adrift of the visitors, who ended a lengthy winless streak with victory over Arsenal earlier this week.

We say: Crystal Palace 1-1 Everton

Both teams have reached a point in their season where a couple of wins here and there can keep them out of a relegation battle. With that in mind, however, avoiding defeat may be regarded as more important, leading us to predict a low-scoring draw.

Match preview

Criticism which has directed in Everton's direction this season has largely been justified, even if Rafael Benitez has had to deal with injuries to key players.

However, the Spaniard equally deserves praise for Everton's comeback victory against Arsenal on Monday night, the win being sealed with a stunning effort from Demarai Gray.

The 25-year-old now has five goals for the campaign, continuing to provide value for money after his summer arrival, and it ended Everton's eight-game wait for a win.

Such is the congestion in the mid-table spots that Everton are only three points adrift of eighth position, but they have gone five games without registering success on their travels.

Nevertheless, confidence will have returned after the triumph over the Gunners, giving Benitez confidence ahead of facing opponents who have also been on their own streak without success.

For all of the plaudits that Palace have received this campaign, they have only posted three wins in 15 games, their last success coming on November 6 when they defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Since then, a 3-3 draw at Burnley has been followed by narrow defeats to Aston Villa, Leeds United and Manchester United, leaving Patrick Vieira with much to ponder.

The Eagles now sit just six points above the relegation zone, and the Frenchman will soon come under pressure if he does not improve on two wins being collected from their last 11 games.

The return to fitness of Eberechi Eze has been the biggest plus in recent games, although Vieira will be concerned that none of his attacking players have contributed in their most recent triple-header.

Team News

Joel Ward is expected to return at right-back after suspension, and Vieira has plenty of alternatives if he wishes to make further changes to his Palace XI.

Luka Milivojevic could replace Jeffrey Schlupp in midfield, while Michael Olise is in contention to get the nod over Andre Ayew.

Joachim Andersen may return to the centre of defence if he is able to shake off a thigh injury.

Yerry Mina looks set to miss out for Everton after picking up an injury against Arsenal on Monday night.

Mason Holgate should come into the backline, and that could be the only alteration with Andros Townsend retaining his place for the game against his former club.

Crystal Palace possible starting lineup:

Guaita; Ward, Tomkins, Guehi, Mitchell; Gallagher, Kouyate, Milivojevic; Ayew, Benteke, Zaha

Everton possible starting lineup:

Pickford; Coleman, Holgate, Keane, Godfrey; Gordon, Doucoure, Allan, Gray; Townsend; Richarlison

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