The Toffees are on a run of seven straight wins, which has put them in a position where if they match Arsenal’s results from tonight until the end of the season; they will finish fourth.
Many will look at Wednesday night’s fixture as an easy game on paper but Tony Pulis’ side are on a winning run of three games themselves. Pulis took over when the Eagles looked doomed for a quick return to the Championship, but the former Stoke gaffer has driven Palace up to 12th in the league and are probably only one win away from certain safety if they aren’t already, which is why Palace will be going all out for points to derail the Blues’ Champions League dream.
Skipper Phil Jagielka isn’t quite ready to return to the Everton line-up with his hamstring injury but is thought to be in contention for Sunday’s game with Man. United. Steven Pienaar’s knee injury is still keeping the midfielder side-lined and although Darron Gibson has started light training again in recovery from his knee injury it may still be a couple of games before we see the Irishman. Lacina Traore, Bryan Oviedo and Arouna Kone are all still out through their respective injuries.
For the visitors, both Kagisho Dikgacoi and Yannick Bolasie face fitness tests after picking up knocks at the weekend and are the only notable possible absentees ahead of tonight night’s fixture.
Goalkeepers: Howard and Robles
Defenders: Alcaraz, Baines, Browning, Coleman, Distin, Garbutt and Stones.
Midfielders: Barkley, Barry, Deulofeu, McCarthy, McGeady, Mirallas and Osman.
Forwards: Lukaku and Naismith.
Goalkeepers: Hennessey and Speroni.
Defenders: Dann, Delaney, Gabbidon, Mariappa, McCarthy and Ward.
Midfielders: Bannan, Bolasie, Dikgacoi, Guedioura, Ince, Jedinak, Ledley, O’Keefe, Puncheon and Thomas.
Forwards: Chamakh, Gayle, Jerome and Murray.
Tonight will be the 10th Premier League encounter between these two sides, with the Toffees winning four and Palace three.
In the last five meetings between the two teams in all competitions, Everton are unbeaten; winning three and drawing twice.
The last time the Toffees won eight league games on the spin was in May 1985 and the have a chance to repeat the feat in tonight’s fixture.
Everton have already set a new record points tally in their Premier League history in this campaign and will have the chance to extend that against Pulis’ side.
The last two Everton goals have been scored by their opponents.
The Blues have won their last seven home league games and April 1990 was the last time they won eight home league games in a row.
The Eagles are currently on their best Premier League run in 20 years after three straight wins.
In five of the last seven away games in the league, Palace have failed to find the net.
Three out of Palace’s last four goals have been scored by Jason Puncheon; who has scored 6 in 13 games in the league since the start of this year.
Tony Pulis’ side have the fifth best defensive record in the Premier League, conceding fewer goals than top of the table Liverpool.
With the Gunners dispatching West Ham United with ease last night, the Toffees must replicate the result this evening to restore their pole position in the race for fourth. If the Blues fail to win, it doesn’t mean the end for fourth position but it gives Wenger’s side the impetus, given tonight’s encounter (on paper) is considered the least difficult of Everton’s remaining games. It is utterly essential that Martinez’s men don’t think the game is already won and are looking to the weekend’s game at home to Manchester United because Wednesday’s fixture is just as important as the next, no matter the context of the individuals involved; three points are at stake in both games.