With just three games left of the Premier League season, the race for seventh is heating up, four sides are fighting it out for a potential place in Europe and this weekend could prove crucial to the final standings.
Everton, fresh from their 4-0 annihilation of Manchester United last weekend, travel to Selhurst Park to face a Crystal Palace coming off the back of an excellent result themselves, beating Arsenal 3-2 at the Emirates.
But it is a clash at Vicarage Road that could make all the difference — Watford host Wolves on Saturday, with both sides both currently sitting above the Blues in the table, seventh and eighth respectively.
But Everton are just a point behind Watford and two separate Marco Silva’s side from Wolves. So a draw in that clash could be Everton’s best chance to reclaim seventh, but the Toffees have to do the business against Crystal Palace before worrying about anyone else’s results.
Only Huddersfield have gathered fewer points at home this campaign than Palace have managed, it has been their fine away form that has steered them well clear of any potential relegation danger.
The Londoners have been inconsistent all season, in their last six games they have won three and lost three, with no two wins or losses being back to back in that space of time. So Everton will be hoping to keep up the trend after Palace’s win last week.
Everton boast a decent recent record against this weekends opponents, the Blues are unbeaten in eight against Palace, winning four of them, most recently at Goodison in October, thanks to strikes from Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Cenk Tosun.
One to watch
After keeping six clean sheets in their last eight outings, Everton’s defence shouldn’t really fear anyone right now.
But Christian Benteke, on his day, could punish the back-line, like he has done to Everton many times before.
The big Belgian finally ended a goal draught that lasted over a year last weekend, so the former Liverpool striker will once again have the taste for goals, Michael Keane and Kurt Zouma will have to be dominant in the air all afternoon.
This will be the second of a three game suspension for Andre Gomes. Yerry Mina is doubtful.
There are question marks over the fitness of Richarlison after he was forced off with injury against Manchester United last week.
Palace will be without Mamadou Sakho, Jeff Schlupp and James Tomkins.
Man in the middle
Lee Mason will be back in the Premier League this weekend after officiating Carlisle’s League Two showdown with Lincoln City last week. In 30 games this term, he has shown 95 yellow cards and three reds.