Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend has made an optimistic prediction that domestic rivals Everton will ‘be right up there’ come the end of the 2020-21 Premier League season.
Townsend, 29, joined Palace from Newcastle United in 2016 in a move which cost the Eagles £14.04m as per TransferMarkt and has since gone on to feature in 154 matches in all competitions and be directly involved in 41 goals.
Townsend’s last outing saw him and his side beaten 4-0 by Chelsea and 2-1 by Carlo Ancelotti’s impressive Everton the weekend before.
The English attacker has had some words of praise for the Merseyside Blues’ after their faultless start to the new season.
Everton, who sit in top spot in the Premier League’s table on 12 points after four games have already beaten the likes of Spurs, West Brom, Brighton and Townsend’s Palace.
Arguably Everton’s best decision throughout the summer was the decision to sign Real Madrid’s James Rodriguez.
The Columbian attacking midfielder has kicked life in the Premier League off with a bang after a series of fine performances have seen him emerge as an early contender to be the league’s Player of the Season.
Rodriguez moved to Everton for free and has since been directly involved in six goals in his first five appearances and Townsend believes the South American could prove instrumental in his new side’s season.
Speaking live on popular football radio show TalkSPORT, Townsend said: “Normally players of his ilk take time [to adapt]. It’s a new culture and a new way of playing, and maybe more physical than he’s used to.
“But he’s started very well. He created the first goal against us and was inspirational, and I think he’ll be a very good player for Everton this season.”
“I fear they will be [up there],” added Townsend on Everton.
“They spend money every year but they seem to start very slowly and build as the year goes on, but they’ve got a world class manager and he’s got his signings who seem to have hit the ground running.
“I think they’ll be right up there come the end of the season.”
Despite Townsend’s high praise for Ancelotti and Everton, the Palace attacker still believes current champions Liverpool and last season’s runner-ups Manchester City are the teams to beat, he said: “I do think it [the title race] will be a little bit closer, but I still think Liverpool and City are far and away ahead of the other sides.
“I think there will be more teams chasing them and they will be bunched up; it will be interesting who takes the third and fourth place.
“But I can’t look beyond Liverpool and Man City this season.”