Everton vs Crystal Palace predictions: Toffees can crown escape bid with Palace win
Everton could guarantee their Premier League status for next season if they pick up a victory at home to Crystal Palace on Thursday.
The Toffees have been in the relegation mix — sitting no higher than 16th — since losing 2-1 at Norwich on January 15 but they have the opportunity to put those fears to bed when the Eagles visit Goodison Park.
Frank Lampard's side have picked up seven points from their last four games to move two points clear of 18th-placed Burnley with two games left to play.
A victory for the hosts would allow the Merseyside outfit to go into Sunday's season finale at Arsenal safe in the knowledge that relegation is off the table, regardless of Burnley's result against Aston Villa, as they would be four points clear of fellow strugglers Leeds.
Palace, who sit 13th, do not have a huge amount to play for in their final two games, although a win would keep them in contention to secure a top-half finish.
Everton will be without suspended duo Jarrad Branthwaite and Salomon Rondon after both were sent off in the 3-2 home loss against Brentford last time out.
Centre-back Michael Keane should come back from illness to cover for Branthwaite but Nathan Patterson, Andros Townsend, Fabian Delph and Yerry Mina all remain sidelined.
Donny van de Beek and Ben Godfrey will need to come through late fitness tests to feature against Patrick Vieira's side.
Palace forward Michael Olise missed the 1-1 draw at Aston Villa due to a knock and it is unlikely he will feature again this season, joining Nathan Ferguson in the treatment room.
James McArthur has been struggling with a calf issue and this trip will come too soon for the midfielder.
If Everton do manage to stay up this season then it will largely be down to a recent improvement on home soil, having picked up 10 points from the last 15 on offer, courtesy of wins over Newcastle, Manchester United and Chelsea, while they also drew with Leicester.
Their form at Goodison has been vastly superior to what they have managed to achieve on the road, claiming 26 points at home and a measly 10 on their travels.
It is also worth noting that they had tightened up at the back when hosting, prior to losing 3-2 against Brentford. Although they did, of course, have two players sent off in that clash, having kept clean sheets in the previous trio of home wins.
Palace head north unbeaten in four games, but like Everton their home record is far better than their tally of points on the road.
The Eagles can take some heart, however, from their goalscoring exploits away from Selhurst Park, as they have scored in five of their last six away league fixtures, while they have also netted in seven of their last eight visits to Goodison.
Everton undoubtedly have more riding on this clash and that added determination to pull unassailably clear of the drop zone could be enough to get them over the line.
The Goodison faithful have certainly played their part in recent weeks and Thursday's encounter offers a great opportunity for the Toffees to put in one last big performance.
Palace can still finish in the top half but their motivation levels are unlikely to come anywhere near those of the hosts and it would not be a surprise to see Vieira's men roll over, especially if they concede early.
The Merseysiders have earned a reputation for breaking the deadlock in recent weeks, with each of their last four goals all coming in the first half.
Richarlison is the Blues' top scorer this term with nine goals in the league and six of those have come when playing at home, including one in each of his last three outings at Goodison, so he looks like a prime candidate to get on the scoresheet in this crucial clash.