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Everton at Lyon: Projected XI

Assessing the Blues’ personnel options ahead a legitimately do-or-die Europa League match.

Everton FC v Olympique Lyon - UEFA Europa League Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Assuming Atalanta get at least one point against Apollon Limassol, Everton head to Lyon facing a win-or-be-eliminated situation in the Europa League. What’s more is that knowing that, David Unsworth has left some of his most reliable players back at USM Finch Farm.

How in the hell will Everton line up?

Tactics and Formation

Unsworth’s...peculiar, shall we say?...lineup on Sunday got largely stomped on by Leicester City. Under Ronald Koeman, that wouldn’t necessarily have generated a big change in the following match.

But Unsworth has really given us a change — and not necessarily a good one. Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines, Michael Keane, and Wayne Rooney have all been left home to rest, with Ademola Lookman apparently still back in England hanging out with Yannick Bolasie.

That leaves, largely, a lineup that picks itself.

Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)

Jordan Pickford - 8/10

We don’t think Pickford will get a rest too, but it isn’t impossible either, given the other decisions.

Jonjoe Kenny - 10/10

Ashley Williams - 10/10

Mason Holgate - 10/10

Cuco Martina - 10/10

Unsworth only traveled with five defenders, one of whom is Morgan Feeney, who the manager said will not start. That only leaves the four listed defenders as the go-to players. Whether Kenny or Martina will play on the left is up in the air, but both will definitely play.

Morgan Schneiderlin - 7/10

Schneiderlin was evidently fit to play on Sunday, yet did not feature at all. Unsworth named the Frenchman and Beni Baningime to the bench, and when looking to add some stability to his midfield, opted to use the latter as his substitute.

Despite Schneiderlin’s struggles this season, his team has looked even more discombobulated when he’s not been on the pitch. We think Unsworth will see that — but it isn’t impossible that he’s inexplicably freezing out the midfielder either.

Idrissa Gueye - 8/10

Gana should start in the center of midfield on Thursday, but Unsworth has shown a preference toward Tom Davies so far as well.

Gylfi Sigurdsson - 7/10

The Icelander’s exclusion on Sunday, after not starting on Wednesday as well was...puzzling. He’s not gotten off to an outstanding start, but he’s been at least decent when deployed at his preferred position. He should start, but Unsworth’s strange central midfield decisions thus far have made us doubt everything.

Aaron Lennon - 7/10

We originally slotted Ademola Lookman into one of the starting wing positions, but his social media habits appear to have revealed he’s not even in France. We think Lennon will start over Kevin Mirallas on one of the wings, then.

Nikola Vlasic - 7/10

The young Croatian has missed out on the last few matches, and we think he’s fit enough to play at this point. Given the way Unsworth appears to be approaching this match, it would be strange for the youngster not to get a go.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin - 7/10

Sandro didn’t travel with the team last week, Oumar Niasse is ineligible, and Wayne Rooney didn’t travel with the team this week — so Calvert-Lewin seems the most likely option.

Everton FC v Olympique Lyon - UEFA Europa League Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images


  • Joel Robles
  • Morgan Feeney - The academy graduate is with the squad in France, and Unsworth doesn’t really have any other options on defense.
  • Tom Davies
  • Kevin Mirallas
  • Beni Baningime
  • Sandro Ramirez
  • Davy Klaassen

There’s an outside possibility that David Henen could slot into the bench in place of someone like Sandro or Klaassen, but for the most part, David Unsworth’s 18 man squad is self-evident.

The defensive personnel slated to start against the likes of Mariano, Nabil Fekir, Memphis Depay, and Bertrand Traore are going to make for a wild ride. Everton have to go for all three points. See you on the other side.