It’s that time of year where the team selection gets tricky for any manager, much less the coach of a team that is stricken by long term injuries and now illness. As Everton head down to Bournemouth, Sam Allardyce has a few names back available, but many players remain out.
How might the Blues line up?
Tactics and Formation
Big Sam surprised us by going with five at the back on Tuesday, but we think that it was enough of a catastrophic failure that he won’t go back to that system, even though Idrissa Gueye remains out due to injury.
Instead, especially given that this is a home match, we think he’ll revert to something a little more familiar. However, we also think that he’ll have an eye on the New Years’ Day match against Manchester United in his team selection.
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford - 10/10
Jonjoe Kenny - 10/10
Mason Holgate - 8/10
Ashley Williams - 8/10
Manchester United awaits the Toffees on Monday, and we imagine that Phil Jagielka and Michael Keane will be the preferred pair for that match, leaving Holgate and Williams in for this one.
Cuco Martina - 10/10
Both full-back spots remain predictable simply because no other options are available. Thankfully, Kenny and Martina have both been serviceable in recent weeks.
Morgan Schneiderlin - 9/10
With Gana out, Schneiderlin’s early season benching has almost turned into a good thing, as he’s fresh enough to play lots of minutes in this period. With little other option in terms of holding midfielders, the Toffees need the Frenchman in a bad way right now.
Tom Davies - 7/10
Tom Davies was not very good on Tuesday. His possession and decision-making in defense have been poor in recent weeks. But, Gana is out and the Toffees are in the midst of the most hectic part of the schedule, so he’ll likely play in this one and watch from the bench against United.
Wayne Rooney - 9/10
Back from illness, expect Wayne Rooney to be back in the lineup.
Yannick Bolasie - 8/10
Yala had moments of brilliance against West Brom, to go along with the predictable and understandable moments of rustiness as well. We think he’ll get another 60 or so minutes here, then sit out in favor of the more defensive-minded Aaron Lennon on Monday.
Gylfi Sigurdsson - 8/10
Minutes are adding up for the Icelander, but he’s been too good to remove from the lineup.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin - 8/10
Neither Sandro Ramirez nor Oumar Niasse have been particularly impressive in their most recent appearences, so it’s hard to see a way DCL doesn’t start this match, tired legs and all. Cenk Tosun should be here soon enough.
- Joel Robles
- Phil Jagielka
- Michael Keane
- James McCarthy - The Irishman has had some awful injury luck, but after a closed door 11 v. 11 match on Wednesday, Allardyce has J-Mac available again. Be careful, Sam.
- Aaron Lennon
- Oumar Niasse
- Ademola Lookman
Idrissa Gueye may be back in time to face Manchester United on Monday, while Cenk Tosun should be in the doors at Finch Farm soon enough. There are still no fullbacks to assist Cuco Martina and Jonjoe Kenny, though, so these next few days should be fascinating as Allardyce attempts to win points and keep his squad healthy.