It’s never easy picking a winner in a cup tie because punters don’t know until the last minute if managers are going to rest their best players with important league matches on the horizon.
But Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson says he will field a strong side when Everton visit Selhurst Park for a Thursday night FA Cup third-round tussle.
The Eagles may only be six points above the bottom three, but they do not play again for another 16 days when they make the short trip across the Thames to visit Arsenal on Saturday, January 20.
There’s absolutely no reason why the former England boss should not go full throttle in an attempt to start a run which, with a few favourable draws, could take his side deep into the competition.
Palace are fresh from a 3-1 win at home to Brentford on Saturday and although that was their first victory in nine matches, they gained creditable draws at West Ham, Manchester City and at home to Brighton in that span.
The Toffees, on the other hand, go into the match seeking to end a run of three straight league defeats following the Carabao Cup exit to Fulham in a devasting quarter-final penalty shoot-out at Goodison Park.
Prior to that they had won six and drawn another in an impressive eight-game spell which included a 3-2 win at Selhurst Park on November 11.
But Everton are in action next Saturday when they entertain Aston Villa and with just one point between them and 18th-placed Luton, who have a game in hand, manager Sean Dyche may decide against taking any chances with his core personnel.
Palace also look a far better side now that the doubly impressive Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise are firing in all cylinders. The latter has scored four times in his last four matches including a double against the Bees but a hamstring injury will keep him on the sidelines against Everton.
Despite his absence, Palace always appear to play better at home when the floodlights are on and the Holmesdale End certainly whips up an amazing atmosphere, so we’ll take the Eagles to soar into the next round with a victory at 8/5 with Betfred.
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