For about fifteen or so minutes it looked as though Everton were going to cruise to safety. But then things changed.
Richarlison not getting a penalty and Jarrad Branthwaite’s subsequent red card against Brentford was undoubtedly the key moment on Sunday. It took Everton from comfortably leading in a game to chasing it.
And it now means that Everton simply need to win on Thursday - or face the very, very, very real prospect of relegation to the Championship on Sunday.
The Blues need two points. But with a trip to Champions League chasing Arsenal on the final day, this is the game. The game.
Commence Operation Goodison.
So how will the Blues line up?
It’s not good.
It’s not good at all.
Definitely out are Yerry Mina, Nathan Patterson, Fabian Delph and Andros Townsend (all injured), plus Jarrad Branthwaite and Salomon Rondon (both suspended).
On top of that, Ben Godfrey is still 50/50, but Frank Lampard should have Michael Keane available once more, after being hit with what was described as a “24 hour bug” on Sunday. Keane may not be one of Everton’s most popular players, but with only one other senior centre half available, his availability is huge as is the presence again of midfielder Donny van de Beek.
EVERTON SQUAD AVAILABLE VS CRYSTAL PALACE
Goalkeepers: Pickford, Begovic, Lonergan
Mina (INJURY), Godfrey (DOUBT), Holgate, Branthwaite (SUSPENDED), Mykolenko, Coleman, Kenny, Patterson (INJURY)
Midfielders: Allan, Doucoure,
Delph (INJURY), Gomes, Dele, van de Beek, Davies
Wingers: Gray, Gordon,
Townsend (INJURY), Iwobi, El Ghazi
Attackers: Calvert-Lewin (DOUBT), Richarlison,
Rondon (SUSPENDED), Tosun, Dobbin
Tactics and Formation
It’s been 5-4-1 for the last few games and it has for the most part been working – despite not being the most progressive system. With Keane available, I’d expect us to stick with this.
It will be interesting to see who gets the nod in midfield, with Andre Gomes a surprise inclusion at the weekend, although he was largely anonymous. I’d expect Allan to come in for this one.
Lampard had lined the Blues up in a 3-4-3 / 5-4-1 for the walloping at Selhurst Park in the FA Cup quarter finals, but will he make any changes in formation from his preferred set-up?
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford – 10/10
Seamus Coleman – 9/10
Mason Holgate – 10/10
Michael Keane – 7/10
Alex Iwobi – 9/10
Continues to perform admirably whether he’s lined up as #10 or out wide as wing back or even fullback.
Vitaliy Mykolenko – 9/10
Allan – 7/10
The Brazilian seems to have fallen out of Lampard’s favour going back to his sending off against Newcastle, but Gomes’ invisible showing against Brentford should make this an easy decision.
Abdoulaye Doucoure – 9/10
Dominic Calvert-Lewin - 9/10
Richarlison – 10/10
Anthony Gordon – 9/10