Don’t look now, but compared to earlier in the season, Everton are rolling. In the last five matches, they’ve won four, drawn one, and earned four clean sheets. If you want to pin that on the entrance of Sam Allardyce, well, by all means.
Big Sam has turned the ship around, and at the hour we’re writing this has the Blues level on points with 9th placed Watford (and Marco Silva). Will he rotate his side tomorrow, though? Let’s take a look.
Tactics and Formation
Sam Allardyce has settled on a basic structure and plan that worked against both Huddersfield Town and Newcastle United, and we see no reason why he’d change things now. It’ll be the use of width down the right side to create space to operate in the center for Wayne Rooney and Gylfi Sigurdsson once again.
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford - 10/10
Jonjoe Kenny - 9/10
Michael Keane - 8/10
Phil Jagielka - 8/10
Surely, surely, this is the match where Big Sam goes back to the assumed top center-back pairing...right?
Cuco Martina - 9/10
To his credit, Cuco’s stint on the left side of defense, deputizing for Leighton Baines, has been perfectly unremarkable. He’s not provided a ton going forward, but save for one poor moment against Mohamed Salah (a fate suffered by many Premier League defenders this season), he’s been largely mistake free in defense.
Morgan Schneiderlin - 9/10
He’s looked more like 2016-17 Morgan Schneiderlin since Allardyce arrived, and has played fewer minutes than most of his central midfield counterparts over the last few weeks.
Tom Davies - 7/10
We think that sooner or later, Idrissa Gueye has to get a rest, and at home against a poor Swansea side seems the best time for it. Thus, enter Tom Davies.
Wayne Rooney - 9/10
The former Manchester United striker probably needs a rest as badly as Gana does, but he’s just produced so much magic for the Toffees over the past few weeks that it’s hard to justify taking him out of the lineup. Look for a shorter stint for Rooney if possible.
Aaron Lennon - 8/10
The Lennon renaissance has continued under Sam Allardyce, with the English winger playing at least 45 minutes in each of Big Sam’s first three Premier League matches in charge. He’s not played a full 90 in that stretch though, so his stamina should be fine for this one.
Gylfi Sigurdsson - 9/10
If this match was against any of the other 18 possible Premier League opponents, we think Gylfi would probably be resting for it. But, it’s against his former club, Swansea City, and we can’t see Allardyce not using the Icelander against his former club.
Oumar Niasse - 7/10
You can add Dominic Calvert-Lewin to the list of Toffees who have been subjected to a ton of minutes in recent weeks, and we think this is the time to rest him and give Oumar Niasse another chance as a lone striker.
- Joel Robles
- Mason Holgate
- Ashley Williams
- Idrissa Gueye
- Nikola Vlasic
- Yannick Bolasie - It’s been a long road back for the Congolese winger, but after a few run-outs with the U23s, he appears ready for a role on the bench.
- Dominic Calvert-Lewin
Hopefully, this match will be marked by a) three points, and b) the long-awaited return of Yannick Bolasie. Gylfi Sigurdsson should be raring to go, too. It’s time for Everton to beat up on the teams in the table’s lower reaches.