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Everton Faces Several Challenges Against Burnley

Everton FC v Apollon Limassol - UEFA Europa League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

This weekend Everton gets a second “easy” Premier League opponent in a row. The schedule is finally becoming a bit easier, even if Everton’s performances don’t quite show it. The midweek tie was ugly, terrible, and completely avoidable. Once again there are several lessons from the match that maybe, just maybe Ronald Koeman will finally heed.

Will the Mason Holgate at RB experiment finally end?

Let’s be frank, Mason Holgate is not a Premier League RB. He may not even be a Premier League player. But given Everton’s reliance on the outside backs to generate an attack, Holgate is an absolute disaster and should not be allowed anywhere near the touchline.

Jonjoe Kenny did not have the greatest game on Thursday — but he’s more of an attacking threat, and this is Burnley. Defensive ability doesn’t need to be a primary concern. I understand injuries to the defense may force Holgate into action, but put him at center back. Maybe against a team like Burnley he can actually get some confidence defending, especially when he doesn’t have to worry about attack.

Can we get some Siggy In the Middle action?

One of the big problems with Ronald Koeman’s squad selection has been playing midfielders out of position. We’ve documented his hatred of wingers, and his lineups’ lack of them, countless times. In multiple matches, Koeman has deployed Gylfi Sigurdsson out wide to terrible effect. But then through substitutions or tactical changes, we see Siggy moved to the middle of the pitch where he does extremely well.

Maybe Koeman could actually start him in the middle, especially against Burnley when guys like Rooney started and played 90 minutes on Thursday. Maybe we can try out that whole squad rotation concept?

Will Koeman rely on young speed for goals?

Thursday’s draw showed us one thing — pace is absolutely deadly, especially against inferior opposition. DCL and Vlasic completely changed the game for Everton with their speed. Even if their runs, or execution, weren’t the greatest, their pure speed caused problems. That speed can cause Burnley problems. It provides an outlet over the top of the defense and it forces defenders to track back.

In turn this gives the Everton midfield more time and space on the ball. That leads to better decisions and fewer panicky clearances. If Everton wants a result this weekend, they have to utilize the speed of some of the younger players.

Oh and play Oumar Niasse in this one please. From the start?