Everton head to the King Power Stadium in dire need of a victory. They currently reside in the relegation places, are out of one cup competition and soon to likely be out of another. It’s David Unsworth’s first league match, and also the first match period for Claude Puel in charge of the Foxes.
How, then, will the Blues line up?
Tactics and Formation
Unsworth came out in his first match with a 4-3-3 that included actual wingers(!), and we don’t expect that to change against Leicester. He will, however, have to be alert to the Foxes’ counter attack, and we think he’ll choose a lineup with a couple of players specifically selected with that in mind.
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford - 10/10
Mason Holgate - 6/10
There may be a new manager in charge, but we’ve still got no idea week-to-week who is going to be playing right-back. It appears that Unsworth values Jonjoe Kenny more highly than his predecessor, but it seems unlikely he’d go back to the youngster after he played 180 this week.
Holgate gets the slight edge over Cuco Martina this week, as his pace will be valuable against the Leicester City counter attack.
Phil Jagielka - 8/10
Ashley Williams was atrocious again on Wednesday, so it’s hard to see Jagielka not getting the nod in this match.
Michael Keane - 10/10
Keane sat out on Wednesday, so he’s a shoo-in for this one.
Leighton Baines - 10/10
Morgan Schneiderlin - 9/10
If the Frenchman is healthy, he will play.
Idrissa Gueye - 10/10
Gylfi Sigurdsson - 9/10
Sigurdsson getting a rest Wednesday came as a little bit of a surprise to us, but it makes it all the more likely he’ll play Sunday. We think Unsworth will be smart enough to keep the Icelander in his preferred position as well.
Ademola Lookman - 7/10
Two factors make Lookman’s inclusion on Sunday seem likely. First, Unsworth played two actual wingers on Wednesday, a first for this season. We think he’ll continue to do so.
Second, Unsworth clearly has no problem relying on his youth players to do a job, after utilizing Beni Baningime Wednesday.
Lookman was solid off the bench Wednesday, and seems most likely to supplant Kevin Mirallas on the left wing.
Aaron Lennon - 7/10
Lennon isn’t the flashiest player, but his pace and connection with Jonjoe Kenny created problems for Chelsea on Wednesday. More importantly, his tracking back and pace helps to cover for Everton’s underwhelming right-backs. We think those defensive contributions will earn him another start on Sunday, especially against a dangerous Leicester counter attack.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin - 8/10
As has been the case all season, the selection up top is also unclear. Unsworth could go back to Rooney again on Sunday, but it seems like a pacey, more direct option will create more danger against a slow Leicester back line. Calvert-Lewin’s strong work off the bench on Wednesday probably helped his case as well.
- Joel Robles - Robles made the bench in Koeman’s last match in charge, then again against Chelsea under Unsworth. Why, you ask? Well, we frankly don’t have a damn clue — but see no reason why Unsworth would change his mind back to Maarten Stekelenburg now.
- Ashley Williams
- Cuco Martina - As we noted above, Jonjoe Kenny played two full 90s in the past week, so we think he’ll be out of the 18 altogether. Cue Martina.
- Tom Davies
- Kevin Mirallas - Koeman often went into matches with no wingers available on the bench, a trend we don’t expect Unsworth will be keeping with.
- Wayne Rooney
- Oumar Niasse - The last spot on the bench is tough to predict. Beni Baningime played well enough to get into the 18 on Sunday, but it’s hard to see any of the other players listed here missing out to give him a spot. If anybody would get dropped, Niasse seems the most likely — but we don’t see that happening.
What do you think? Should David Henen or Beni Baningime draw in? Will Nikola Vlasic be back from the knock he picked up against Arsenal? Lots to think about. Up the Toffees.