Crystal Palace’s second Monday night assignment in the space of three weeks sees them make the journey to Everton, who are a point and two places behind them in the Premier League table.
It should be a different story in that regard, with Everton having thrown victory away in their last league match at Bournemouth. Leading 2-0 with 10 minutes to go they allowed themselves to be pegged back, and even after going back in front as late as the fifth minute of stoppage time at the end, they still contrived to lose their defensive bearings and concede with the last attack of the game. It was a chaotic climax to what had earlier been an authoritative away performance from the Toffees.
The response came on Tuesday in the Capital One Cup at Middlesbrough, where they hardly gave the Championship high-flyers a look in as they cruised to a 2-0 victory thanks to their two most in-form players. Top scorer Romelu Lukaku looks better than ever, while Gerard Deulofeu has really found his rhythm and is showing all the skills he learnt while part of the Barcelona academy. If those two can continue to fire, Everton could prosper in what is a very competitive league this term.
But here they will have to give their opponents plenty of respect. Palace have won 3-2 at Goodison Park in each of the last two seasons and pose a considerable attacking threat which, if not contained, can wreak havoc on any opposition defence as Newcastle United found out to their cost last weekend. That comprehensive 5-1 victory saw Wilfried Zaha continue his hot streak, while Yannick Bolasie and the much underrated James McArthur helped themselves to two goals each.
If they are allowed time and space on the ball, Bolasie and Jason Puncheon will do the damage for the visitors, particularly if the Everton full-backs are too keen to come forward in support of an attack, and that would leave the centre-back pairing of Ramiro Funes Mori and John Stones badly exposed. In the centre, it will be up to Connor Wickham to further unsettle that duo, with the former Sunderland striker having really hit the heights since joining in the summer.
Phil Jagielka and Bryan Oviedo are still out for Everton, who are hopeful over the fitness of James McCarthy. Yooung full-back Tyias Browning underwent surgery on a knee injury on Wednesday.
Zaha has picked up five yellow cards this season and so is unavailable for Palace. Bakary Sako is unlikely to return from a hamstring problem until the festive period.
Played for both – Andrew Johnson: After emerging to help Palace to promotion through the play-offs in 2004, Johnson marked his first top-flight season by scoring 21 goals despite their failure to stay up. He moved to Everton in 2006 and made a blistering start which he could not quite sustain, and he left in 2008 having found the net 17 times in 61 Premier League outings.