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Projected XI: Everton vs. Crystal Palace

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Three in a row?

Everton v Crystal Palace - Premier League Photo by Mark Robinson/Getty Images

Everton welcome Crystal Palace to Goodison Park on Sunday looking for their third league win in a row, a feat they have not accomplished since the 2016-17 season. During that stretch, the Blues beat Southampton, Manchester City, and...Crystal Palace. A good omen? Perhaps. But only if Marco Silva gets his team selection and tactics right.

Tactics and Formation

Save one horrifically-defended counter-attack by Jonjoe Kenny, Everton looked quite solid against Leicester City in their last match before the break. Silva’s tactical plan continues to be wreaking havoc in the midfield with his two hardworking No. 8s, and then using the wide areas to progress the ball.

An impending debut for Andre Gomes could theoretically change that style (but only if he actually finds his talented self, rather than the one Barcelona was happy to ship out this season) — but a start for the midfielder so quickly seems unlikely.

So, we don’t foresee much change this week, save for one that will likely be forced upon Marco.

Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)

Jordan Pickford - 10/10

Lucas Digne - 10/10

Kurt Zouma - 9/10

Michael Keane - 9/10

It seems extraordinarily unlikely that Yerry Mina would jump immediately into the starting lineup coming off his injury, so it’ll almost certainly be Zouma and Keane at the back again.

Jonjoe Kenny - 9/10

Jonjoe was very bad in Everton’s last match before the break, and has been generally underwhelming since Seamus Coleman’s injury.

Tom Davies - 8/10

Morgan Schneiderlin - 6/10

Gana might be healthy and Gomes should be available, so the center of midfield is a bit tough to call this week. If Gana is good to go, we suspect he starts next to Tom Davies. If not, expect Schneiderlin to partner with Merseyside’s greatest fashion icon in the center of the pitch.

We think Gomes will get time in this match as well, but just not as a starter after his lengthy layoff.

Gylfi Sigurdsson - 10/10

Theo Walcott - 10/10

Bernard - 9/10

Richarlison - 10/10

After the Leicester performance, it seems likely, though not assured, that Richarlison starts up top with Bernard out on the left again. Richarlison will definitely start — if not up top, then out left — but Bernard seems nearly as locked into the lineup.

Bench

Maarten Stekelenburg

Yerry Mina - The big man should make the bench — and at this point, does he even have a claim to supplant Keane or Zouma? Time will tell.

Leighton Baines

Andre Gomes - The Portuguese midfielder seems more likely to be given a chance regardless of how the team or other individual players are performing, simply because he brings something to the midfield that neither Davies or Gana can.

Ademola Lookman

Dominic Calvert-Lewin

Cenk Tosun - This week, the bench decision is probably pretty easy because Gana is likely unavailable through injury. That said, once he returns, it likely shifts Schneiderlin to the bench — likely at the expense of one of Lookman, DCL, or Tosun. At this stage, we genuinely have no idea which one.


On the surface, this match seems fairly straightforward. Palace look like they’ll be without numerous attackers in Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke, Max Meyer, and Alex Sorloth. Easy, right?

This is Everton. It can never be easy.