Everton continues their exhausting early season schedule with a Sunday afternoon match against Chelsea. Last years champions have looked a bit more unsettled this year without front man Diego Costa and as well as a host of other changes in the squad.
Can Everton cope without Morgan Schneiderlin?
Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Morgan Schneiderlin will miss a big game for Everton. I wouldn’t blame you for not being surprised. Ever since Schneiderlin arrived at Everton he has a habit of missing big matches. Injuries, suspensions, and fitness have all contrived to keep Schneiderlin out of the squad when his presence would be valued most.
That will happen once again after he got sent off against Manchester City. And once again Everton is in trouble without him. As good as the other defensive midfielders are at covering ground and making tackles, Schneiderlin provides something extra, especially when Everton gets possession. Ronald Koeman has several possibilities to replace Schneiderlin and it will be worth keeping an eye on his decision. Whomever is inserted into the lineup is going to have a big job to ensure Everton can earn at least a point in this match.
Will Everton actually bother attacking Chelsea?
One of the pelasant surprises from Everton’s draw against Manchester City was the amount of attacking we saw from the Toffees, at least in the first half. Yes, Everton bunkered on defense. And yes, it was not always pretty. But in the first half we saw Everton take a decent number of chances and go forward. The Toffees had 7 shots in the match, more than you would normally expect in the situation.
Chelsea is arguably an even juicier target. The Toffees could mount a real attack if they are inclined. The backline of Chelsea has shown a few holes to start the season, even if you ignore how the red card affected them on opening day. Maybe Everton will decide that this is the moment to take the attack to the defending champs and try to get all three points.
Is Dominic Calvert-Lewin going to be Everton’s top striker?
Calvert-Lewin was a pleasant surprise from Everton’s draw and arguably the man of the match for Everton. The youngster had some excellent hold up play and his speed was fantastic. In an era of 3 defenders in the back DCL showed a nice ability to get into the outside channels and get a hold of the thru ball from the midfield or even Pickford.
The next step is to turn that play into more quality chances. Obviously that is more difficult against the Chelsea’s and Manchester City’s of the world, but if DCL can show that he can continue to be dangerous against the top teams in the Premier League he could become our default striker, or at least stop Ronald Koeman from bringing in someone before the summer transfer window closes.