Everton v Crystal Palace preview: Eagles seek first win without Wilfried Zaha since 2016
Last Updated: 10/02/18 2:21pm
Crystal Palace will have to win a first league game without Wilfried Zaha since September 2016 if they are to beat Everton, with the winger ruled out for a month with injury.
The Ivory Coast international, who has scored four goals this season, suffered a knee injury during last weekend's 1-1 draw with Newcastle.
There were fears the Eagles could be without their talisman for the rest of the season, but manager Roy Hodgson said: "The good news is he's a very quick healer.
"He and the medical staff are working very hard to get him back on the field as soon as possible.
"He won't play at Everton on Saturday, and it may take a few weeks more than that. But we hope it won't be as long as all that."
Toffees boss Sam Allardyce says the club's home form will be their route to a top-half finish this season - having picked up 23 of their 31 league points at Goodison Park.
Following their 5-1 humbling at Arsenal last weekend, Everton have won one of their last eight top-flight games - at home to Leicester on January 31 - but have only lost once on home soil since Allardyce took over on November 30, and that was against Manchester United on New Year's Day.
"Our home form is very good," he said. "Our home form is our best way of staying in the top half if we can and first of all avoiding the threat of relegation.
"Our home form has to be continued with Crystal Palace on Saturday like it was against Leicester. So, when you are looking at our away results, they are not so good. But our home form is pretty good at this point in time."
Everton's Leighton Baines will not recover from a long-term injury in time for the visit of Palace, but is back in training and could be fit to face Watford next week.
Also approaching comebacks are Maarten Stekelenburg (groin), who has also returned to the training pitch, and Ramiro Funes Mori, who continued his return from knee surgery with 45 minutes for the under-23s in midweek.
In addition to Zaha, goalkeeper Julian Speroni (knee) and defender Martin Kelly (hamstring) are also missing, joining Bakary Sako, Jeffrey Schlupp, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Scott Dann, Jason Puncheon and Connor Wickham on a lengthy injury list.
January signings Alexander Sorloth and Erdal Rakip will be in the squad.
- Everton are unbeaten in each of their last six Premier League matches against Crystal Palace (W2 D4), since a 3-2 defeat in September 2014.
- Crystal Palace have not lost at Goodison Park in any of their last four Premier League visits (W2 D2), last tasting defeat in a 4-0 drubbing in April 2005 under Iain Dowie.
- Crystal Palace have won more Premier League away games vs Everton than they have against any other club (4).
- This will be the first Premier League game between two managers who had previously been appointed permanent manager of the England national team since Kevin Keegan and Bobby Robson faced off in May 2004 - Keegan's Manchester City beat Robson's Newcastle 1-0 at the Etihad.
- Sam Allardyce took charge of 21 Premier League matches as Crystal Palace manager last season, averaging 1.24 points per game (W8 D2 L11). He has a higher average at Everton so far (1.33).
- Christian Benteke has had a hand in four goals in four Premier League appearances at Goodison Park (three goals, one assist).
- Gylfi Sigurdsson has been involved in six goals in his last five Premier League starts against Crystal Palace - he has scored twice and assisted four goals.
Palace have just had two draws and a battering by Arsenal. I'm going to go with Everton to win - without Wilfried Zaha I think Palace will struggle, and they'll be back in a relegation battle.
Everton have got home advantage, it's a big match and Sam Allardyce seems to win big games at home when they need to get a result. The other week they played at home and won against Leicester. They'll have enough to get out of trouble.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-0 (17/2 with SkyBet)
Everton are Sky Bet's 6/5 favourites for the victory as Crystal Palace are given a 12/5 chance, slightly longer odds than the draw at 11/5. The first goalscorer market is a wide-open one with Cenk Tosun, Oumar Niasse and Wayne Rooney at 5/1 shots, followed by Theo Walcott and Christian Benteke at 11/2 apiece.
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