Bernard excited by Richarlison partnership

Everton's Bernard believes he and fellow Brazilian Richarlison could be at the start of something special for the club.

The duo joined the Toffees in the summer, with Bernard a free transfer, a move that was in stark contrast to his compatriot, who came in as the Merseysiders' record signing.

After scoring twice on his debut at Wolves, Richarlison's form has seen him called up for Brazil, netting a brace in September against El Salvador.

Marco Silva has moved him into a more central role in recent weeks, allowing him to team up with Bernard, while also accommodating Theo Walcott and Gylfi Sigurdsson.

After winning 2-1 at Leicester before the international break, Everton sit 11th in the Premier League table.

Sunday sees the Toffees take on Crystal Palace and they are 4/5 to win the game, with the draw 5/2 and the Eagles 7/2.

Bernard will again be hoping to get the nod alongside the former Watford man and is clearly encouraged by what they have produced so far.

The 26-year-old says Richarlison deserves the current plaudits coming his way and is confident their understanding will prove increasingly fruitful as they continue to build their bond.
 
"Richarlison has been doing brilliantly and is a great player to have with us," Bernard told evertontv.

"He deserves everything he has been getting. It feels good to play together.

"For his goal [against Leicester], it felt good for me to help the team and with it being a Brazilian player scoring, it was even more special. Now we want to keep going and achieve more."

Everton are 8/1 to finish in the top six this season.

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Hodgson spells out Benteke blow

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has given a downbeat update about the return to action of striker Christian Benteke, who recently underwent surgery on a knee problem.

The 27-year-old Belgium international has been out of action since early September, but a statement from the Selhurst Park club on Thursday hinted that Benteke might return sooner rather than later.

I think it will take until into 2019 before we see him, but hopefully earlier than later in 2019.

Roy Hodgson

However, Hodgson has now confirmed that that is not the case, with his player definitely ruled out until the New Year and, perhaps, well beyond then.

He told Sky Sports: "We tried the conservative route to put an end to his knee problem, which he has suffered with for a while. That didn't work out.

"There was always the risk that if it didn't work out an operation would be necessary and I got the bad news that the operation was necessary, had taken place and now he will be out for a long period of time.

"It's an operation and normally operations take time. It is dangerous for people like myself to start saying 'it will be this amount of time', because you fall foul of the doctors and the sport scientists who have a different view.

"But there's no doubt we won't be seeing much of him this year. I think it will take until into 2019 before we see him, but hopefully earlier than later in 2019."

Benteke joined the Eagles from Liverpool in the summer of 2016 and has since scored 18 goals in 71 Premier League appearances for the Londoners.

Palace are currently priced at 6/1 to be relegated this season, while they are available at 1/9 to beat the drop.

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Eagles wait on Benteke return

Crystal Palace hope to have striker Christian Benteke available again in the not too distant future, after the player underwent minor surgery on a knee problem.

The 27-year-old Belgium international has failed to find the net in four appearances for Palace so far this season and has not featured since the 2-0 home Premier League defeat to Southampton at the beginning of September.

The Eagles had been hoping that rest would do the trick, but Benteke has finally gone under the knife to try and solve the issue.

A statement from the Selhurst Park club confirmed: "The club can confirm that Christian Benteke has undergone minor arthroscopic explorative surgery and washout of his knee, as it had not been settling with conservative management.

"The surgeon was happy with the outcome and we expect Christian to return to training very soon. A further update will be given in a few weeks' time."

Benteke joined the Eagles form Liverpool in the summer of 2016 and has since scored 18 goals in 71 Premier League appearances for the Londoners.

Palace are currently down in 14 th place in the Premier League standings, having failed to score a goal in four home league outings so far this term. On the road they have claimed victories at both Fulham and Huddersfield Town.

The Eagles are currently priced at 6/1 to be relegated this season, while they are available at 1/9 to beat the drop.

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Hodgson bemoans Palace misfortune

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson says his team are playing better than their current points tally suggests following another home loss to Wolves.

The Eagles' struggles at Selhurst Park continued on Saturday as Matt Doherty's second half strike was enough to see the visitors walk away with all three points.

Palace are now just the fourth side in 119 years of top flight football to fail to score at home in their first four matches of a season and they once again find themselves dangerously close to the relegation zone.

Having made a slow start to the 2017/18 campaign, losing seven on the bounce before Hodgson arrived to pull them from the mire, the ex-England boss admits he's frustrated they have not been able to hit the ground running this term.

Having lost five of their first eight matches and given their struggles in front of goal, Hodgson says he can't just wave a magic wand to fix all his team's problems.

However, the experienced boss remain convinced Palace's quality will eventually shine through and is refusing to panic.

"We can't pretend we have scored lots of goals in the games leading up to this and we are flying towards the top of the table, because we aren't," he said.

"But I still believe that the quality of the football belies the lack of points and lack of goals, but until we score those goals, win those games and get those points, every press conference and interview I do will be really geared to the same thing – you're not scoring enough goals and how do you win games if you don't.

"I thought there were two or three good opportunities in the second half but we weren't able to take them and as a result we lost the game."

The south London outfit face a testing fun of fixtures after the international break with games against Everton, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United all to come and they are 6/1 to be relegated come the end of the season.

Palace head to Merseyside first after the two-week break and are 3/1 to come away with the win, while Everton are 10/11 and the draw is 5/2.

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Hodgson monitors midfielder market

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has again spoken of ensuring his club are amongst the bidders if Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek becomes available.

The 22-year-old England international has made just two appearances as a substitute for the Blues in the Premier League so far this season, sparking talk of a possible January loan exit.

Loftus-Cheek spent the whole of last season on loan with the Eagles and impressed enough to secure a place in the England squad for the World Cup 2018 finals in Russia.

And Hodgson has made no secret of his admiration for a player who was a key player in helping Palace power away from relegation danger last season.

He told reporters ahead of a Saturday visit from Wolves: "What I am prepared to say and I've said it on many occasions, is that Ruben Loftus-Cheek did an outstanding job for us when he came here.

"Luckily for us, and even more so him, it got him recognised by the national team and he found himself in Russia representing England, which was a perfect end to the season that he had had with us.

"So, we admire him, we like him very much and wish him well and of course – like a lot of other clubs I'm sure, when the day comes when he becomes available for transfer we will be sticking our nose into that.

"But, whether we will get him again, that's another matter. Who knows, we'll see."

Palace are currently priced at 9/1 to be relegated this season, with Southampton available at 9/2 and Brighton 9/2.

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Sako welcomes Albion opportunity

Versatile forward Bakary Sako is relishing an opportunity to help West Bromwich Albion challenge for an immediate return to the Premier League.

The 30-year-old was a free agent after leaving Crystal Palace at the end of last season and has opted to join the Baggies on a season-long deal after being the subject of interest from a number of top-flight clubs.

And Mali international Sako, who has also played in England with Wolves, has revealed that the influence of Albion boss Darren Moore was a major factor in him heading to The Hawthorns.

He told his new club's official website: "A lot of Premier League clubs wanted me, but as soon as I knew Darren Moore wanted to see me I went to see him straight away and we clicked.

"The way he manages players, the way he talks, he's passionate and I love that – that's why I came here."

Meanwhile, Moore himself was delighted to have landed Sako, adding: "He brings great experience and adds greatly to our goal threat across a range of positions. He brings competition to the group and a know-how of this division.

"He's been a credit while he's been training with us and I can vouch for the fact that the way he has committed to us has been exceptional."

The Baggies, who top the Championship table heading into a midweek round of games, are back in action on Wednesday evening when they head to Hillsborough to take on Sheffield Wednesday.

They are 11/10 to defeat the Owls and are 10/1 to win the game 2-0, with the visitors 9/4 to keep a clean sheet.

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Conversion the key for Palace

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson is determined to try and keep confidence high among his goal-shy Eagles squad, who head to Bournemouth on Monday evening.

Palace have scored a mere four goals in six Premier League games so far this season, having failed to find the net at all in three outings at their Selhurst Park home.

Wilfried Zaha has three goals to his name, with Jeffrey Schlupp the only other goalscorer for the Eagles.

However, Hodgson is not overly concerned, as he has seen his side carve out plenty of chances, only to fail to convert – which he hopes is a fault will be rectified in the near future.

He told reporters: "We have created many chances, so it forces one to consistently look back to the misses and the missed opportunities, because in the bulk of the games we have played, we had that many chances.

"It's harrowing to come off the field at 0-0 when you have seen that many chances.

"I believe as long as you are creating those chances and you are getting in those positions, the goals will come.

"What you do is make certain the players believe in themselves, they keep working at their game and they share your belief that if you keep doing this then you will score goals."

Palace have claimed a win and two draws from their three previous Premier League visits to Dean Court, and are 5/2 to secure a draw on Monday evening.

The visitors are 12/1 to win the game 2-1, with Zaha available at 2/1 to score at any time.

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Howe: Palace are more than Zaha

Eddie Howe claims his Bournemouth side will not be just focusing on the threat of Wilfried Zaha when they face Crystal Palace on Monday.

The Cherries chief is looking for his side to rediscover their top form to bounce back from last weekend's 4-0 Premier League drubbing at Burnley.

A much-changed side defeated Blackburn 3-2 in the Carabao Cup in midweek, but Howe is set to revert to the majority of the players who have won three of their opening six league games.

Palace will arrive at the Vitality Stadium having lost just once in five with Zaha again proving to be their talisman this season with three goals in the bag to date.

However, Howe claims it is unfair to label Roy Hodgson's side a one-man team and he is wary of a number of Eagles' players who will provide a threat to Bournemouth.

Howe told Sky Sports: "He [Zaha] is an outstanding player. He did well against us in the two games last year, we found him difficult to deal with.

"From our prospective that is something we will look to improve. As I would say with any team it is not just him.

"Yes we need to deal with, be aware of and you have Andros Townsend on the other wing who has had a good start to the season.

"When [Christian] Benteke plays he is a focal point for them, they have got excellent midfielders, a lot of experience.

"So there are a lot of areas that they manage very well. But of course we have good players the other way. We know if we are at the top of our game we are a match for anyone."

Bournemouth are 5/4 to win on Monday, while Palace are 12/5 to come out on top, with Zaha 2/1 to score at any time and the draw is 5/2.

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Hodgson confirms duo’s absence

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has said that Jairo Riedewald and Christian Benteke will miss Monday's trip to Bournemouth.

Riedewald picked up an injury in the midweek EFL Cup victory at West Brom while Benteke remains sidelined and will play no part against the Cherries.

The Eagles are 12/5 to beat Bournemouth and 12/1 to edge the match 2-1.

Hodgson said: "We picked up an injury against West Bromwich Albion with Jairo Riedewald but luckily we don't think it is as bad as we first feared when he had to come off so early in the game. He has had a scan and we are hoping he will be back in training towards the end of next week.

"Christian Benteke, we are monitoring on a day-to-day basis. He is improving but he is still having treatment so he is out of the question, but other than that we have a clean bill of health."

Wilfried Zaha should be able to feature against Eddie Howe's team despite picking up a "slight spasm" during last weekend's goalless draw with Newcastle United.

Meanwhile, Hodgson is expecting Monday's match to be a difficult test for his side, adding: "Their start has been good, there is no doubt about that with 10 points from six games being a very good reward and they must be really confident.

"They haven't changed their team spectacularly and their football has been pretty stable for the last two seasons which has given them very good results so obviously they have no reason to change. We are preparing for a very tough test."

Belief remains in Rafa’s mind

Rafa Benitez has urged fans of Newcastle United not to lose faith that the current side can improve and move away from the wrong end of the Premier League table.

The Magpies have picked up just one point from five games so far this season, with their latest outing ending in a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Arsenal.

However, the vastly-experienced Benitez refuses to be too downbeat about the situation, having guided his side to a tenth-placed last term in their first season back in the top-flight.

The Spaniard told Sky Sports: "Obviously we are disappointed because in the first half we did really well and deserved more. We were very close so the team is doing well in terms of organisation and in terms of work-rate.

"We were much better on the ball, especially in the first half, but still we have to improve that and keep the spirit. That is the key because we had this situation last year where we are losing games in a row and we finished tenth.

"That message has to be very clear for everyone. I have confidence in this group of players and hopefully we can start winning games soon."

Next up for the Tynesiders is a visit to Crystal Palace next Saturday, with the two sides having shared the spoils from a 1-1 draw in this fixture at Selhurst Park last season.

Newcastle are currently available at 10/3 to be relegated this season, with West Ham priced at 5/2 and Burnley 7/4.

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