Wednesday’s win against Sunderland represented a much-needed change of fortunes for Everton Football Club and Ronald Koeman, with the Dutch manager reverting to his favored 4-3-3 against the Championship side.
This weekend, Koeman and the Blues face Bournemouth, another team struggling to find its footing in the early part of the season. If the Toffees are to improve their Premier League standing, they need to win matches like these. Koeman may choose the following setup to pick up the result.
Tactics and Formation
Everton’s murderous fixture stretch is over, and with Bournemouth in town, Koeman should be able to return to the 4-3-3 he prefers.
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford - 10/10
Pickford got an expected rest against Sunderland on Wednesday, but there’s no doubt he’ll start Saturday.
Cuco Martina - 8/10
Koeman has been pretty regularly rotating his right-backs, and has preferred Cuco in a four-man backline for the most part. With Holgate starting Wednesday, albeit at left-back, Martina seems the obvious choice at right-back against Bournemouth.
Phil Jagielka - 9/10
With Ashley Williams starting mid-week, Jagielka should draw in over the weekend, especially given his solid form.
Michael Keane - 9/10
We expected Keane to get a rest mid-week, but instead he went the full 90 alongside Williams. Given Bournemouth’s struggles this season, it isn’t entirely impossible that Keane instead rests Saturday, but the overwhelming likelihood is that he’ll play again.
Leighton Baines - 10/10
Do we really have to say anything here?
Morgan Schneiderlin - 10/10
The Frenchman will be needed to help break down a likely bunkering opponent. With a complete rest on Wednesday, he’ll be ready to play.
Idrissa Gueye - 9/10
Gana got a well-deserved rest on Wednesday too, so we expect him to play. It isn’t impossible, though, that Koeman tries to get creative with his midfield to get more creativity in there against a defensive team.
Gylfi Sigurdsson - 9/10
The Icelander will be critical against Bournemouth’s deep-lying defense — the Toffees will need him to pull the strings in order to create chances. Sigurdsson likely won’t complain though, as we imagine he prefers playing central rather than out wide.
Wayne Rooney - 8/10
We don’t really like it, but Koeman has been pretty predictable with his usage of Rooney, and frankly we should all be happy he finally got a break against Sunderland. We think any number of Everton attackers would be better in this role, but Koeman has made his preference for Rooney clear.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin - 7/10
Calvert-Lewin was excellent against Sunderland in a true striker’s role, and given the way the club has struggled to score this season, Koeman has little choice but to go with the youngster again — though putting Rooney in the middle and DCL out wide isn’t impossible (though it would be a bad idea, we think).
Kevin Mirallas - 6/10
The final wing role could really go to any number of players — Nikola Vlasic, Ademola Lookman, Sandro Ramirez, Aaron Lennon, Oumar Niasse (!) — but the Belgian looks to have worked his way back into Koeman’s good graces (or at least his tolerance). Vlasic and Sandro both did a lot of running Wednesday, and Mirallas is ahead of Lookman, Lennon, and Niasse on the depth chart.
- Maarten Stekelenburg - Let’s just take a quick moment to appreciate Stekelenburg, who has quietly gone about his business since Pickford’s arrival, and been pretty good when called upon. He’s not starter material, but we’ve gotten pretty comfortable with him in a back-up role.
- Mason Holgate
- Ashley Williams
- Tom Davies
- Davy Klaassen
- Oumar Niasse - We can’t believe it either, but here we are. Neither Ademola Lookman or Aaron Lennon seem to have impressed Koeman enough to earn a regular spot on the bench, and Niasse scored quite a nice goal against Sunderland on Wednesday. Koeman said he could make the 18 for the weekend, and we’re inclined to believe him.
- Sandro Ramirez
This setup represents close to the ideal available Everton lineup, in our estimation, though Koeman’s continued use of Rooney could be problematic. At any rate, this setup should be more than good enough to get a win at home against Bournemouth, at least if the team comes out with the same drive and effort we saw in the mid-week match.