Another trip to Merseyside beckons and this time it is the blue half of Stanley Park that occupies our attention. The last two visits to Goodison have resulted in creditable 3-2 victories and if a hat-trick were delivered tonight then we can officially declare that the city of Liverpool is ‘a happy hunting ground’ for the Eagles.
Everton are in pretty good nick at the moment with Lukaku looking full of goals and the tricky Deulofeu providing the ammunition. At the back John Stones looks every bit an England international, with a rare touch of class when he is in possession that sets him apart from most English centre-backs.
Talking of English centre-backs, Scott Dann has been the rock upon which Palace have built their decent start to the season. Not only is the Liverpool-born Dann a key element in a defence where he exudes authority alongside the evergreen Damian Delaney, but he also has notched the odd goal, including the winner at Anfield a few weeks ago.
It is just as well that the defenders such as Dann, Delaney and Ward are weighing in with their share of goals, as there is a distinct lack of them from our forwards.
It is an amazing stat that for a team that are currently 8 in the table, a Palace striker has not scored a single league goal – that must be some sort of record after 14 matches which is over a third of the way through the season. Odd.
This does need to be addressed and the encouragingly dominance of Wickham, who bullied Newcastle into meek submission in the last game was almost the complete centre-forward performance. The only thing missing was, surprise, surprise, a goal. So Palace record their highest ever Premier league victory but still no goal from an out and out striker. Even odder.
But there should really be no complaining about the style of play under Pardew, especially away from home as we now approach games with a positive attitude, avoiding the sterility of the ‘park the bus’ mentality. So the game with Everton promises much as both sides are brimming with confidence, like to attack and have been scoring a few goals of late. Having said that, a dull goalless draw will almost inevitably follow or maybe a Palace striker might score.
Richard Foster is a freelance football writer and author, who is a regular features contributor for The Guardian. He also writes for a variety of Palace blogs and fanzines, including Five Year Plan.
The revised paperback edition of his latest book The Agony & The Ecstasy – A Comprehensive History of the Football League Play-Offs – is out now and available through usual bookshops, online & via Ockley Books.
Talking Balls! his sports quotes book, was published in September and is the perfect stocking filler for any sports fan this Christmas.
Follow him on twitter @rcfoster