BPL Midweek: Everton look to continue fourth place charge, Will FA Cup win boost Arsenal?, more

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BY MATTHEW LEVINE
Staff Writer

Both Everton and Crystal Palace have been trending upwards in recent weeks. The Toffees have won their last six matches to storm to fourth, while Palace has won their last three to climb closer to safety from the relegation zone.

Although Everton was playing listless Sunderland, it took a bit of fortune to dig out a positive result. However, teams that are on form usually get those results.

Everton will now look to hold onto their Top Four spot and put an end to Palace’s current winning run.

Romelu Lukaku should again be the focal point of the Toffees attack, but his supporting cast has been equally good of late. Gerard Deulofeu gave Sunderland fits and Steven Naismith has popped up with timely goals all season.

For Palace, they will need Jason Puncheon to continue his scoring streak. He has three goals in the last three games. They will also need their defense, which has posted three clean sheets, to come up big. One of those shutouts came against Chelsea and Everton’s attack will provide an equally tough task.

What To Look For

1. Arsenal On The Outside Looking In– Arsenal is a perennial Top Four side. The last few season, they have left it a bit late to clinch and this should be no different.

The Gunners currently chase Everton for the final Premier League place. The Toffees pased Arsenal in the table after the Gunners missed a week of league action, playing against Wigan in the FA Cup semi-final.

It will be that victory in penalty kicks, although not vintage Arsenal by any means, that will need to galvanize Arsene Wenger‘s side. The Gunners continue to have fitness issues, but Tomas Rosicky and Laurent Koscielny could potentially offer a boost.

Arsenal has been too slow in building attacks and with hosting Sam Allardyce‘s West Ham, it is almost certain the bus will be parked. The Gunners need Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to use his pace and it wouldn’t be a terrible idea for Serge Gnabry to get some minutes for the same reason, most likely off the bench.

On the other end, West Ham will look to utilize Andy Carroll as often as possible. Carroll will need to hold up the ball well and try to link with the midfield as often as possible. He will have to put himself about on every free-kick.

2. Will Manchester City Pile On Relegation Misery For Sunderland?– Manchester City started slow against Liverpool at the weekend and did well to fight back until Vincent Kompany‘s mistake. Hosting Sunderland offers a great chance to get on the front foot early and look to put the game to bed as quickly as possible.

City, who had their fate in their hands until the loss to Liverpool, need to again re-focus. WIth games in hand, there is still a chance to win the Premier League trophy.

Sunderland lost to Everton at the weekend because of an own goal from Wes Brown. It was down the wings that Sunderland were really troubled. That should fit into City’s game plan exceedingly well. Jesus Navas is one of the quickest players in the league and he should be able to use his pace to great effect. David SIlva is also very quick through the middle.

One concern for City is the potential absence of Yaya Toure after an early exit against Liverpool. Javi Garcia could potentially get a start.

The Black Cats have struggled all season to create much in the final third with only 29 goals for. The defense hasn’t fared much better allowing 54 so far.