Criticism which has directed in Everton’s direction this season has largely been justified, even if Rafael Benitez has had to deal with injuries to key players.
However, the Spaniard equally deserves praise for Everton’s comeback victory against Arsenal on Monday night, the win being sealed with a stunning effort from Demarai Gray.
The 25-year-old now has five goals for the campaign, continuing to provide value for money after his summer arrival, and it ended Everton’s eight-game wait for a win.
Such is the congestion in the mid-table spots that Everton are only three points adrift of eighth position, but they have gone five games without registering success on their travels.
Nevertheless, confidence will have returned after the triumph over the Gunners, giving Benitez confidence ahead of facing opponents who have also been on their own streak without success.
For all of the plaudits that Palace have received this campaign, they have only posted three wins in 15 games, their last success coming on November 6 when they defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers.
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Since then, a 3-3 draw at Burnley has been followed by narrow defeats to Aston Villa, Leeds United and Manchester United, leaving Patrick Vieira with much to ponder.
The Eagles now sit just six points above the relegation zone, and the Frenchman will soon come under pressure if he does not improve on two wins being collected from their last 11 games.
The return to fitness of Eberechi Eze has been the biggest plus in recent games, although Vieira will be concerned that none of his attacking players have contributed in their most recent triple-header.