The obvious change for me is to bring in Allan for Andre Gomes. Everton will need steel in midfield and I think he will provide greater protection to a patched-up defence. What I am torn on is the positioning of Alex Iwobi – does Frank Lampard start him as a right-wingback, where he has battled hard in recent weeks, or move him into centre midfield alongside Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure?
That would likely mean starting Jonjoe Kenny and dropping an attacker, which I would rather not do when a win would be so vital. With Dominic Calvert-Lewin on the pitch, Everton do have someone who can both win flick-ons and get onto the end of crosses. That worked well initially on Sunday.
I’m therefore going to stick with the formation Lampard started with against Brentford and which worked so well until the first red card. It was essentially a 5-2-3 – so five at the back with Allan and Doucoure sat in front of them and Richarlison and Anthony Gordon playing off Calvert-Lewin. It’s a bit of an unusual tactic but one that provides a degree of defensive security while offering a genuine threat going forward.
My team (5-2-3): Pickford; Iwobi, Coleman, Holgate, Keane, Mykolenko; Allan, Doucoure; Gordon, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison.
Frank Lampard has little option but to reinstate Allan to the starting lineup against Crystal Palace.
Everton could be forced to utilise a three-man midfield to combat the dynamism – chiefly Conor Gallagher – of the visitors and secure the three points and Premier League safety.
Alex Iwobi starts in an attacking midfield role ahead of Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure while Anthony Gordon gets the nod ahead of Demarai Gray on the flank.
Michael Keane returns in defence and Dominic Calvert-Lewin leads the line.
It has not been Calvert-Lewin’s best season for a number of reasons but imagine if he could score the goal to keep Everton in the top-flight? It could do his confidence the world of good and allow Lampard to begin planning for next term.
My team (4-3-3): Pickford; Coleman, Holgate, Keane, Mykolenko; Allan, Doucoure, Iwobi; Gordon, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison.
Here we go then. The biggest line-up Frank Lampard has named for the biggest Everton game in decades.
While this is about the Blues – the onus is on them to win – it would be wrong not to pay the utmost respect to a Crystal Palace side who ran out convincing winners on the previous two times the teams have met this season.
Palace boss Patrick Vieira is flexible when it comes to formations but he mainly plays with three in midfield. He did just that in the aforementioned 3-1 and 4-0 wins at Selhurst Park and in both of those matches, Andre Gomes and Abdoulaye Doucoure lined-up in midfield for Everton, just as they did in the 3-2 defeat at home to Brentford on Sunday. But not tonight. Allan comes back in for Gomes and alongside Doucoure – who needs to be much better than he was at the weekend – and in an ideal world they’d be paired with Fabian Delph. Delph, though, is injured, and probably the player closest to him in terms of skillset, Donny van de Beek, cannot be risked from the start after injury.
So, I’m proposing to bring Alex Iwobi back into the centre from his position out on the right, which means a formation change for Frank Lampard to 4-3-3, which Palace usually operate.