James Rodriguez is expected to make a much-anticipated return after six weeks out
Everton are back in Premier League action for the first time in 22 days following the FA Cup quarter-finals and the international break and they need to return to winning ways to bolster their hopes of qualifying for Europe this season.
The Toffees went into the hiatus for World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on the back of three successive defeats in all competitions and having dropped out of the top seven after losses to Chelsea and Burnley.
However, Chelsea's own defeat to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday and Tottenham's draw at Newcastle mean that Carlo Ancelotti's team can vault themselves back into the top-four conversation if they can complete the league double over Crystal Palace this season.
Everton won what would prove to be the third of four successive games to start the 2020-21 season when they came away from Selhurst Park with all three points in September, a fixture that saw James Rodriguez help create the opening goal during his impressive start to life in England.
The Colombian has struggled for fitness for the past few months, though, and hasn't featured for the Blues since his marvellous intervention in the Anfield derby where he played Richarlison in for an early goal. In his absence, Everton ground their way past Southampton and West Brom before losing those next three games but, having remained on the sidelines to work on his conditioning, James is expected to return to the starting XI against Palace.
"James is in good condition," Ancelotti said in his press conference on Friday. "He is motivated and his physicality is good. It's important for us to have James back at his best. At the start of the season, he helped a lot, above all in front.
"We hope he will do the same, I am quite confident because I see him in training showing a good condition and attitude."
With Abdoulaye Doucouré missing with a stress fracture in his foot, Everton have lacked dynamism in the middle of the park recently but they will be buoyed by the fact that Tom Davies will be available despite missing the England Under-21 match against Croatia.
Both he and Ben Godfrey missed that decisive game for their country in midweek but Ancelotti says he expects them to shake off their respective knocks although Bernard and Fabian Delph have been ruled out.
Jordan Pickford will need more time to overcome the rib muscle injury he aggravated against Burnley but there was good news on the goalkeeping front when Robin Olsen was passed fit and he will likely take his place between the sticks at the expense of young stand-in Joao Virginia who will have done his confidence no end of good with some excellent saves in the games against Burnley and Man City.
Finally, there is the prospect of Jean-Philippe Gbamin making his long-awaited comeback after more than a year and a half out of action. Ancelotti led his press conference by announcing that the Ivorian midfielder has come through his first two weeks of full training with the team and continues to be in good condition.
He cautioned that the player will need to be eased back into action after so long out but suggested that Gbamin could be “involved” in some form against Palace which may mean a place in the squad and, perhaps, a late cameo should Everton be comfortably ahead in the closing stages.
For Roy Hodgson and Palace, James McCarthy will be assessed to see if he can face his former club along with Tyrick Mitchell and Nathaniel Clyne. The Eagles come into the game sitting in 12th place but they have been in erratic form of late, winning two, drawing two and losing two of their last six matches.
The availability of Wilfried Zaha makes them a different prospect to the one they have been for the past few weeks while he was sidelined and they also pose threats like the aerial presence of Christian Benteke.
The Everton that has European aspirations should have too much for Palace but Ancelotti's men have struggled to impose themselves on inferior teams at home this season, a psychological failing that has, thus far, threatened to ruin their top-four dreams and could yet cost them a place in Europe.
The hope is that the manager has been able to use the international break to focus the players' attention and get them in the frame of mind that will see them seize the chance that could yet open up for them over the final 10 games of the campaign. As the season has amply demonstrated, a team that can string together a number of wins can make great strides amid the unpredictability of results. Everton need to make sure they're the team that puts together the excellent run of form that carries them to the finish they've longed for all season.
Kick-off: 6pm, Monday 5 April 2021 on Sky Sports
Referee: Kevin Friend
VAR: Graham Scott
Last Time: Everton 1 - 1 Aston Villa
Predicted Line-up: Olsen, Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne, Allan, Davies, Gomes, Rodriguez, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin
Reader Comments (95)
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1 Posted 04/04/2021 at 17:27:37
10 games, 10 cup finals
No matter how they do it, how they play, how lucky we are just get those wins
2 Posted 04/04/2021 at 17:29:19
3 Posted 04/04/2021 at 17:36:22
We have too much for this crew if we do
4 Posted 04/04/2021 at 17:47:10
5 Posted 04/04/2021 at 17:55:43
When Everton play mostly with Holgate and Godfrey at full back, and Yerry and Keane at centre half, Everton mostly win.
It's also about time, Yerry Mina is made Everton captain because he is the most vocal and supporting Everton player on the pitch.
6 Posted 04/04/2021 at 17:59:31
The way the results have gone / are going for us this weekend, yet again, the opportunity is on the proverbial plate for us.
7 Posted 04/04/2021 at 18:19:40
8 Posted 04/04/2021 at 18:32:09
I know that sounds obvious, but you only have to look at results elsewhere. Yesterday at Stamford Bridge, the Chavs, I don't think anyone would have made money at the bookies, unless they were an avid and slightly mad Baggies fan. Yet they won 5-2, okay they had a player sent off, that can happen in any game, either rightly or wrongly, but I think it was justified in West Brom's favour.
I don't mind West Brom at all, but hate to see Lamburger Gessler drooling on the touchline, while on his 53rd piece of Chewing Gum, as if to say " that was all my genius that! " but they did it and sent a couple of tremors throughout the Premiership.
Getting back to the 'treating it as a Cup Tie', I am not in the least happy, if it turns out that way, to see Gomes as a starter, I think since the injury, and there was evidence of it before it, that he doesn't quite 'cut the mustard' he may have a few minutes here and there. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but like other players he is paid for 90 isn't he?
Hoping for a win, but can't say I'm 100% confident, unless gladly, I'm proved otherwise.
10 Posted 04/04/2021 at 18:47:48
Anyway, I will be uncontrollably happy to see us back on the pitch. It'll be great to see James back doing his thing again, and what an awesome moment if Gbamin does actually make his return. I don't care if he comes on at minute 89, he'll get a standing ovation here.
Completely confident of a win tomorrow. COYFB.
11 Posted 04/04/2021 at 19:01:25
12 Posted 04/04/2021 at 19:03:22
Willoughby Goddard was Landburger Wotsit.
Lone Ranger theme music
13 Posted 04/04/2021 at 19:03:24
Holgate Keane Godfrey Digne
Davies Allan Gomes
Subs: Olsen, Coleman, Mina, Iwobi, Sigurdsson, Gbamin, King
14 Posted 04/04/2021 at 19:04:05
15 Posted 04/04/2021 at 19:04:07
I think Lyndon is probably taking that into consideration.
16 Posted 04/04/2021 at 19:33:08
17 Posted 04/04/2021 at 19:51:08
18 Posted 04/04/2021 at 20:26:50
19 Posted 04/04/2021 at 20:28:58
21 Posted 04/04/2021 at 21:05:40
I would play Keane and Mina against their main striker, Benteke. Nullify him in the air and he's got nothing else. Hopefully Godfrey is fit at right back to nullify Zaha also. I'm confident we'll win the game.
22 Posted 04/04/2021 at 21:43:57
As long as we can get the points in the bag, and take each game at a time, that is all we can ask.
I will be more relaxed once our neighbours get knocked out of the Champions League and closes the door for the possible scenario of finishing 4th and dropping into the Europa League.
24 Posted 04/04/2021 at 21:54:34
No more of this playing at home hoodoo. As Carlo once suggested, football is simple, and all the grounds are the same on the pitch. Get stuck in, score some goals, get the points.
26 Posted 04/04/2021 at 22:24:27
There's always one thing you can guarantee, and that's Everton will let you down.
Will Palace at home be another Burnley, Newcastle, Fulham fiasco? We actually got mauled by these teams. An absolute disgrace.
I do hope we see some good football. At home, we have been diabolical. It's like we've forgotten how to play the game – with ridiculous side and backwards passing which has a totally negative effect on our performance.
Prediction: Everton 7 Palace 0 (I've been on the plonk!)
28 Posted 04/04/2021 at 22:32:38
Let's hope that Everton turn up and do the business, win and a clean sheet, but win is the must.
29 Posted 04/04/2021 at 22:49:22
If we don't win tomorrow. Simple as we do not deserve Europe. Time to actually make a statement now Everton.
30 Posted 04/04/2021 at 23:18:21
I think if we start seeing a gap of 5 to 6 points opening up where we are having to chase down the likes of West Ham, Spurs and Liverpool, then I think it's inevitable we can wave goodbye to Europa League qualification.
Time to make it count at the business end of the season.
31 Posted 04/04/2021 at 23:43:07
Not heard anything, Dave. I actually wondered how to fit him in if, as I expect, Carlo wants to bring Keane back in to partner Mina. I erred towards the fact that he took a knock on international duty and that, combined with him being ever-present in recent weeks, might see him get a rest.
To be honest, I really wouldn't be that surprised to see him line up at right-back and be charged with keeping Zaha quiet.
32 Posted 04/04/2021 at 23:52:04
And apart from Doucouré, it looks like everyone's fit. Please Everton, don't do an Everton on us...
33 Posted 05/04/2021 at 00:32:28
34 Posted 05/04/2021 at 01:00:05
He would have delivered Goldfingers - 'I dont expect you to talk Mr Bond, I expect you to die!' line very well.
35 Posted 05/04/2021 at 01:58:41
36 Posted 05/04/2021 at 03:51:26
37 Posted 05/04/2021 at 07:34:27
This kind of fixture has been our undoing. If the side can play with authority and inject tempo, then we should win comfortably, but a complacency and half-arsed attitude that we have previously seen will confirm the weaknesses in this group. It really is time for them to step up to the plate.
38 Posted 05/04/2021 at 07:35:10
39 Posted 05/04/2021 at 09:17:14
Coleman Keane Godfrey Digne
James Gomes Richarlison
Sigurdsson, Iwobi and King the 3 most likely subs to use. Hopefully to rest them, not chase it.
40 Posted 05/04/2021 at 09:28:05
Don't risk Godfrey against these if he's carying a knock - we need him available for Spurs and Arsenal inside the next couple of weeks. Need a result here today and that team of Lyndon's should be well capable of it. I'm predicting 2-0 tonight.
41 Posted 05/04/2021 at 09:41:43
42 Posted 05/04/2021 at 09:42:40
43 Posted 05/04/2021 at 09:45:30
Will he be seen later?
44 Posted 05/04/2021 at 09:47:16
Chelsea employed the same tactics at home, but where totally unravelled in their last game. Its going to take more than just this tactic against Crystal Palace.
Everton are going to have to have a a good spirit, which has been always a question after a International break.
46 Posted 05/04/2021 at 09:51:10
"Confirm weakness in the
Does that include the manager ???
47 Posted 05/04/2021 at 09:53:28
But, as always, predicting Carlo's team is difficult.
48 Posted 05/04/2021 at 10:06:50
If we are going to push for Europe we need to try and score more goals, we have been pretty awful to watch since our early season form and I hope to be entertained on our quest for European football. Hopefully having James back fully fit will see an improvement.
49 Posted 05/04/2021 at 10:09:16
50 Posted 05/04/2021 at 10:18:55
I have no idea which team will turn up today, will it be the one that knocked Spurs out of the cup or the group that produced the turgid Newcastle performance. On paper win the 2 games in hand and we challenge the top 4, but we have been in a what if mode a lot this season only to be disappointed.
51 Posted 05/04/2021 at 10:26:50
I would agree regarding Gomes but I feel Sigurdsson is somewhat maligned, especially on here. At least he does produce flashes of brilliance and is capable of goals from either open play or set-pieces. Agreed not as often as we would ideally like, but I think Sigurdsson is still carrying the burden of expectations, with the massive fee paid for him (not his fault btw) and the salary included.
I also appreciate he hails from a small Country, but he has successfully captained Iceland on many an occasion, and you don't get that for being crap. Having said all that, Sigurdsson and Gomes in the same team is not a good combination, Brian, and on that I definitely agree.
52 Posted 05/04/2021 at 10:29:43
For many years I haven't been to a match because the negativity of too many angry fans pisses me off.
I thought having less or no fans would take some pressure off the players and allow us to play better football.
53 Posted 05/04/2021 at 10:40:46
55 Posted 05/04/2021 at 10:54:11
Oh, and I have part of the William Tell, 1812 Overture on my front door bell, I think just upto the part where the Lone Ranger beats Tonto to that rock but without the prelude.
56 Posted 05/04/2021 at 11:21:00
57 Posted 05/04/2021 at 11:28:35
Normally, when a manager is getting things right things start to ‘click' but I have to say that is not happening so far. To be fair it is still early days to judge Ancelotti but if I am honest I am still not confident about today's match. I think we will do well to get into Europe but it is by no means certain.
10 cup finals coming up – let's do it!
58 Posted 05/04/2021 at 11:45:12
59 Posted 05/04/2021 at 12:42:26
I agree that Godfrey should be left-back and galloping down the wing creating chances as he did when Digne was out; Digne hasn't really performed since injury.
Also, I agree Mina is best at centre-back. Plus Coleman is a better bet at right-back.
Holgate is also being watched lately by refs ready to send him off!
60 Posted 05/04/2021 at 12:44:47
61 Posted 05/04/2021 at 12:47:38
62 Posted 05/04/2021 at 12:51:22
If Gomes starts, he should be played centrally in a 2. Remember the days when he took control of the game? That's a while back.
Having said all that, we would do better with a back 5, to counter the fact we have no wide players. Fingers crossed no lwobi. And will King start a game before the end of the season?
63 Posted 05/04/2021 at 13:12:48
What should I expect?
64 Posted 05/04/2021 at 13:23:34
65 Posted 05/04/2021 at 13:26:51
66 Posted 05/04/2021 at 13:45:25
You should. It's far more entertaining than watching the match. My son signed me up for the Sky Go App a couple of years ago. Within 15 mins of the end of a game, it has video highlights of the crucial parts of all games. In effect, you can watch MotD in about 17 minutes without all the bollocks spouted by Mr "I Am Wonderful" Shearer and his cronies. However, recent analysis of EFC highlights suggest they struggle to fill their allotted 3 minutes. More a highlight without the S.
So, Thomas, don't worry about missing anything whilst reading the live forum. You can catch up very quickly.
On a more serious note, I do hope that the set up and tactics this evening are positive. Rely on your strengths and play to them. Don't fear the opposition. It is only Crystal Palace after all (Zaha + 10 others) although I do seem to recall Burnley, Fulham, Newcastle etc. I would love to see a team driving forward with confidence and looking to put the game to bed by the hour mark. I would love to see it but still looking for the Easter Bunny.
67 Posted 05/04/2021 at 14:02:30
68 Posted 05/04/2021 at 14:08:55
Subs and selection: No Iwobi Gomes or Sigurdsson please. Too much to ask probably and get out of jail card to carry on picking these slow wasters with Onyango not an option and Nkoukou not trusted.
Moan over. Coyb let's have these.
69 Posted 05/04/2021 at 14:11:07
The machine-gun fire starts with the team selection, hand grenades are launched with every errant pass. Poor crossing is career-ending. Conceding a goal is worthy of death by brain-eating parasites. Conceding two is nuclear devastation. Conceding three is total planet destruction by multiple comet impact. You get the gist. It's all good fun.
If we play quite well and win, then it is all skipping through wildflower summer meadows, singing sweet Evertonian melodies to the dancing butterflies, blissfully carefree in our faded dungarees and gingham shirts. Blue eyes glinting in the virgin light, our blond curls in raptures around our tanned shoulders as we run and run to the waterfall. We strip naked, we dive in off the big rock, and then, for a moment, there's nothing else in the world but pure happiness
Or something like that, or is that just me?
70 Posted 05/04/2021 at 14:16:07
Give it a go tonight.
71 Posted 05/04/2021 at 14:18:49
Only one thing can be guaranteed: West Ham will shit the bed. As to who gets the prize, might be us, staggering across the line Roger Bannister style!
72 Posted 05/04/2021 at 15:11:26
Lets embrace the remaining games and enjoy the fact that at the sharp end of the season we still have something to play for.
Or am I too positive for ToffeeWeb?
73 Posted 05/04/2021 at 15:20:32
Coleman Keane Godfrey Nkounkou
Richarlison Allan Bernard Digne
Start on the front foot and attack 'em... and please keep the back-passes to a bare minimum.
74 Posted 05/04/2021 at 15:22:44
City of course are a street ahead of everyone else and with their Mideast moneybags it is to be expected.
However there will be more crazy results in the run-in as if there can be any crazier then the Albion/Chelski result at the weekend which I think proves that being in the top four doesn't mean you are unbeatable no matter who you play.
Everton's results against the Barcodes are a prime example.
Would like to think that Everton will beat Palace today but given our season of inconsistency and playing at Goodison I am prepared for anything.
Yes, the Euro places are up for grabs and Carlo should have them motivated but are they good enough to make a big enough challenge over the remaining games.
We may have to be content with the fact that lot's more improvement is necessary and that only some class additions will do it.
75 Posted 05/04/2021 at 15:36:02
76 Posted 05/04/2021 at 15:40:14
You can post into Live Forum with speech recognition software – instead of typing in – so again you don't need to take your eyes off the game.
77 Posted 05/04/2021 at 15:43:19
78 Posted 05/04/2021 at 15:43:23
79 Posted 05/04/2021 at 15:46:10
80 Posted 05/04/2021 at 15:46:17
I'm not clever enough to do that mate. Could ask one of my grandkids to help me out maybe.
81 Posted 05/04/2021 at 15:47:47
82 Posted 05/04/2021 at 15:51:49
83 Posted 05/04/2021 at 16:01:36
84 Posted 05/04/2021 at 16:02:37
85 Posted 05/04/2021 at 16:05:10
86 Posted 05/04/2021 at 16:05:41
Derek @72. Absolutely not because that is the situation we are in. Let's just hope the manager and players are of the same mindset.
87 Posted 05/04/2021 at 16:07:06
88 Posted 05/04/2021 at 16:08:45
89 Posted 05/04/2021 at 16:13:21
90 Posted 05/04/2021 at 16:14:59
91 Posted 05/04/2021 at 16:22:12
92 Posted 05/04/2021 at 16:28:47
93 Posted 05/04/2021 at 16:46:10
94 Posted 05/04/2021 at 16:51:25
95 Posted 05/04/2021 at 16:52:33
Take another look at half time
96 Posted 05/04/2021 at 16:53:50
97 Posted 05/04/2021 at 16:55:51
98 Posted 05/04/2021 at 16:56:03
99 Posted 05/04/2021 at 16:58:18
100 Posted 05/04/2021 at 16:58:29
We are not creative enough to be very confident of beating anyone, but we need to throw caution to the winds tonight and at least try to score a few goals for a change.
It will be a crime if our home form prevents us from a top six finish.
101 Posted 05/04/2021 at 17:02:19
102 Posted 05/04/2021 at 17:05:51
1. Note the laws of physics don't apply on the forum. Players can be praised to the heavens and a second later will be instructed to do things that are physically impossible, surely painful and possibly still illegal.
2. Don't ever mention fish or you will be swamped with puns for the rest of the game.
3. It's always Hibbo's fault – whatever it is...
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