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Everton at Brighton: Projected XI

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Assessing the Blues’ personnel options ahead of their match against newly-promoted Brighton.

Brighton and Hove Albion v Newcastle United - Premier League Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Everton return from the international break tomorrow in crisis. The attack is stagnant, and the defense is leaky. One of the most frustrating things about the entire situation is the fact that the Blues have options, yet their manager has refused to use them.

Will he against new boys Brighton & Hove Albion?

Tactics and Formation

Part of what has defined Ronald Koeman’s lineup choices so far this season has been the club’s congested schedule, balancing Premier League, Europa League, and Carabao Cup matches. This week though, the Toffees have only this match, before things start to get hectic again.

So, we anticipate that Koeman will use his preferred lineup, perhaps in large part because he knows his job is on the line.

The problem, of course, is that this lineup is ill-formed, ill-conceived, and hasn’t been very good.

Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)

Jordan Pickford - 10/10

Cuco Martina - 6/10

With Phil Jagielka back healthy, Mason Holgate is available to play at right-back, and Jonjoe Kenny has gotten his shot as well. None are particularly great options at the moment, so we’re forced to guess it’ll be Martina, Koeman’s preferred right-back to this point.

Phil Jagielka - 9/10

Jagielka’s return should thankfully force a very poor Ashley Williams out of the lineup. Williams will remain part of the rotation, at least until Ramiro Funes Mori returns, but he’s clearly second-choice to Jagielka.

Michael Keane - 10/10

Leighton Baines - 10/10

Morgan Schneiderlin - 10/10

Idrissa Gueye - 10/10

Davy Klaassen - 7/10

Most of the midfield and backline personnel choices are pretty straightforward, but things get more complicated in the advanced midfield role. We would greatly prefer Gylfi Sigurdsson in this role, but Koeman just hasn’t done that regularly, so Klaassen seems the obvious choice.

Gylfi Sigurdsson - 10/10

Instead, the Icelander will get shuffled out to the left wing. If he does, and you Chris or I having drank ourselves to death, remember us fondly at our funerals.

Wayne Rooney - 8/10

Rooney will probably occupy the opposite wing, further accelerated our alcohol-related deaths.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin - 8/10

Calvert-Lewin seems the most likely option at center striker, but Oumar Niasse’s return keeps him as another option at this position. Niasse has been best as a substitute so far this season though, so it probably makes more sense to use him in that role.

Manchester United v Everton - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Bench

  • Maarten Stekelenburg
  • Ashley Williams
  • Mason Holgate
  • Tom Davies
  • Nikola Vlasic
  • Oumar Niasse
  • Sandro Ramirez

Unfortunately, it seems likely that Ronald Koeman will return to more of the same, sacrificing success and ingenuity for the false gods of “veteran leadership”, “consistency”, and “reliability. How would you line up the boys at the AmEx Stadium? Let us know in the comments.