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Crystal Palace vs Everton: FA Cup third round preview: Toffees begin 2024 with trip to London

The road to Wembley begins at Selhurst Park

Crystal Palace v Everton FC - Premier League

Everton kick-off 2024 with a trip to Premier League rivals Crystal Palace in the FA Cup third round.

The Toffees go into the game on the back of three defeats, with the last of those at Wolves the most disappointing.

It felt like one game too many for a small squad already stretched by injury, not help by what turned out to be the wrong tactical set up that played into Wolves’ hands.

It felt like one of those games to forget about and move on.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

The players probably could have done with a full week to recover but the schedulers have moved this game back 48 hours to Thursday night instead on Saturday.

That is partly on police advice as every London team was drawn at home, meaning resources were stretched and games needed to be moved over several days. But a Thursday night feels rough, particularly for the travelling fans facing a long trip down to south east London.

This is also Everton’s last chance to prevent their trophy drought from ticking over into a 30th year, far too long a wait for a club of Everton’s size.

The cup games do place an extra strain on the squad and the Premier League remains the priority, particularly given their current predicament, but a cup run can also have a galvanising affect that carries over into the league.

The players have shown they can compete with anyone on their day so there’s no reason to think that they can make a serious dent in this competition. And if they somehow make it to the latter stages, then who knows?

The opposition

Crystal Palace v Brentford FC - Premier League Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Crystal Palace had endured a miserable winter so far, but Saturday’s win over Brentford ended a an eight-game run without victory and eased the pressure on Roy Hodgson.

The 76-year-old signed a one-year deal in the summer after initially returning on a short-term basis to help steer the club away from relegation danger last season.

But the former England boss has had to field plenty of questions about his future this campaign, particularly since Nottingham Forest sacked Steve Cooper, a reported Eagles target.

That win over the Bees keeps him in the clear for now, and a cup run will also likely bolster his position still further.

The two sides met at Selhurst Park in the FA Cup just two three years ago, with the Palace demolishing Frank Lampard’s Toffees 4-0 to progress through to the semi-finals, where they were beaten by Chelsea

Previous meeting

Crystal Palace 2-3 Everton, 11 November 2023

Crystal Palace v Everton FC - Premier League Photo Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Everton came out on top in a five-goal thriller the last time the two sides met in November. The Toffees twice saw their lead pegged back by the Eagles before Idrissa Gueye struck the winner with four minutes left. It was enough to move Everton up to 14th and eight points clear of the drop zone, only to be dragged back into it by that points deduction five days later.

Team news

Everton Training Session Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Abdoulaye Doucoure is back training after four games out with a hamstring injury but is still rated as a touch and go for the Palace game.

Ashley Young is also back training but not yet ready for a return. Idrissa Gueye is out with a calf problem though he is likely to recover in time to join up with the Senegal squad for the Africa Cup of Nations.

What they said

Everton Press Conference Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Everton manager Sean Dyche: “I’ve made it clear that we want to win every game.

“We want to put a team out that can win every game. There are certain parts of the team that have been very successful in terms of the way they are playing as individuals and as a collective.

“We want to put out a side that I believe can win, that’s certainly our mentality and viewpoint.

“Palace got the result they needed [against Brentford ] after a tough run of games, that can happen.

“They have a very wise manager, that is for sure. I am not sure whether they will make changes or stick with the team - we will have to wait and see.

“Cup situations do sometimes change sides and the feel of a game, so we will have to make sure we are ready to get the feel right and the mentality right.”

Crystal Palace v Brentford FC - Premier League Photo by David Horton - CameraSport via Getty Images

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson: “They will be organised. They will be disciplined and hard-working. They will know exactly what their jobs are on the field. They will know what they need to do to stop us playing and cause us problems. I am describing what a good manager and coach will try to produce, and I am talking about a good manager and coach in Sean Dyche. He has got good players and it’s a very tough game.”

Final word

I’m sure both sides would have preferred different opponents at this stage of the competition and the rescheduling to a Thursday is a further hinderance to the fans. As such I do not think this will be a thriller, so a scrappy 1-0 will be fine.