PREVIEW | Everton vs Crystal Palace
Everton’s clash with Crystal Palace on Thursday is potentially their most important match this century.
It is very much ‘now or never’ territory if the Blues are going to pull themselves away from the relegation trapdoor.
With just two games of the campaign left, Frank Lampard’s side need only three points to guarantee their place in next season’s Premier League.
If they fail to beat Palace, they will almost certainly be relying on both Burnley and Leeds results as an away trip to face an Arsenal side battling for a place in the top four on the final day does not promise much.
It was in Everton’s hands the previous Sunday against Brentford but after a positive start it all went sour after Jarrad Branthwaite’s controversial red card and the Bees ended up winning 3-2.
The Toffees can afford no slip-up this time around against the Eagles and will be hoping yet another electrifying Goodison atmosphere can help them to a crucial victory.
One to watch – Dominic Calvert-Lewin
Lampard’s pre-match press conference seemed to suggest the centre forward would be available for the match.
It was certainly a markedly improved performance from the 25-year old against Brentford and having finally broken his duck in somewhat fortuitous circumstances the previous Sunday, Evertonians will be hoping he is a man restored to full confidence.
If he can rediscover his goalscoring form of previous seasons for just this one game, it could be enough to get the Blues over the line.
One to watch – Wilfried Zaha
Always a thorn in the side of any opponents, Wilfried Zaha promises to pose a major threat to the Everton defence in this match.
A talented dribbler with a deadly strike on him, it may very well be a case of Lampard doubling up on him again with Alex Iwobi and Seamus Coleman both employed to cover that right side of the pitch.
There is no getting away from the fact that a win on Thursday would be one of the most important victories in Everton’s recent history.
The catastrophic prospect of relegation is becoming more and more real by the day and while it is still in the hands of the Toffees, the fans will be doing their all to try and drag their players over the line.