Finally, the international break is over! Time to return to Everton and the Premier League. Let’s check in with Ronald Koeman to get a quick update on the squad status after the break.
Glad to hear it, Ron.
RBM’s return to the writer prediction league this week comes as injuries are flying in left and right, and the Toffees face two difficult away fixtures. With trips to Anfield and Old Trafford on the agenda to face Liverpool and Manchester United, this week presents big challenges for our writers.
Before we look forward though, let’s quickly look back at our predictions from two weeks ago, when Everton beat Hull City. Those predictions are below, with correct guesses in bold.
Chris was rewarded for his immense faith in the Toffees, picking up four points for predicting a 4-0 thrashing at Goodison Park. Everyone else but Matt picked up two points for picking an Everton victory, while Darren, Mike, and Tyler earned an extra point for correctly guessing Romelu Lukaku as Everton’s man of the match.
As a result, the standings for our league are largely unchanged.
Tyler’s extra point brought him up into a tie for first place with Calvin, but little has changed below them. I’m still two points off the top, with the majority of our remaining writers congregating seven to nine points off the pace.
With Everton dealing with injuries to Morgan Schneiderlin, Seamus Coleman, James McCarthy, and Ramiro Funes Mori, this week’s matches would be difficult to predict regardless of opponent. Throw in the fact that the first is a derby match at Anfield, and the second is against a Manchester United side juggling its own injuries and Europa League competition, and we’re looking at a very difficult week for predictions.
That said, with the standings so tightly contested and the number of matches remaining dwindling rapidly, this may well be a week that defines the writer prediction league.
With that said...
...let’s take a look at the predictions for this week.
As you might expect, confidence in Everton, given the degree of injuries and quality of opponent, is not exactly high. And while we hope this will be us next week...
...our concerns are certainly warranted.
Three writers picked Everton to beat Liverpool at Anfield for the first time since 1999, with another three predicting that the Toffees will secure a point away from home. Sadio Mane was the most popular choice for opening goalscorer, while Ross Barkley and Idrissa Gueye were joint leaders in the Everton man of the match predictions.
Only two writers picked Everton to beat Manchester United, but a staggering six of us are predicting a draw at Old Trafford. Interestingly, all but three of us guessed an Everton player would score first, despite the Toffees’ propensity toward the last-second, dramatic intervention to snatch something from the jaws of defeat.
You know, like...
...I’ll see myself out.