Everton head down to London with a lot on their mind. Mason Holgate’s run-in with the FA, the arrival of Cenk Tosun, rumors of Theo Walcott, and too many injuries in defense. In order to get a result at Tottenham Hotspur, the Blues will need to clear their heads and play with a purpose.
Michael Keane is out this weekend with a continued issue from a cut on his foot, and who knows when the FA will rule on Holgate. How will Sam line ‘em up?
Tactics and Formation
There are a few complex factors at play when looking at Everton’s lineup options this week. The club is winless in five, most recently losing to Manchester United, then Liverpool in the FA Cup — but the Toffees play a decent game in both of those matches.
Those results would indicate a likelihood of changes from Sam Allardyce, but we think he’ll have been encouraged by a lot of things that happened in those matches, even if the results weren’t there.
Then there’s the more obvious question — where does Cenk Tosun fit in? Adam took a look at some potential answers to that question earlier this week, but now we’ve got to make a final determination.
Our best guess? A familiar setup, with just the one new face inserted.
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford - 10/10
Jonjoe Kenny - 10/10
Phil Jagielka - 7/10
Ashley Williams - 7/10
Things at center-back aren’t getting any clearer. Mason Holgate had what we’ll call an “eventful” Merseyside Derby, which will probably still be lingering in Big Sam’s head. Michael Keane’s been up and down, and still working back from injury.
Meanwhile, Phil Jagielka has been decent when called upon (which has been head-scratchingly rare under Allardyce), and Ashley Williams has somewhat recovered from a horrific start to the season. So, we’ll give the edge to the two elder statesmen for now, but we aren’t particularly confident here.
Cuco Martina - 10/10
Morgan Schneiderlin - 9/10
Idrissa Gueye - 9/10
Allardyce has found joy in the Schneiderlin/Gueye pairing since taking over, much as Ronald Koeman did last season. As long as Gueye is healthy, we see no reason why he won’t stick with the tried and true.
Wayne Rooney - 8/10
Ah, Wayne. What ever shall we do with you?
Rooney’s been poor since a brief spell on the sidelines with an illness, and his numbers this season (10 goals, 2 assists) are impressive, but a little misleading (three goals from the spot, along with another putback after a penalty). As long as he’s in the lineup, Gylfi Sigurdsson won’t play in the center of midfield, which raises questions about Rooney’s ultimate worth in the starting XI.
All that said, Allardyce seems to have a lot of trust in the experienced attacker, and we don’t think he’s quite ready to go away from the Englishman just yet.
Yannick Bolasie - 9/10
Bolasie has brought a level of explosiveness and unpredictability to Everton unmatched before his return from injury. The final product hasn’t been there for Yala yet, but there’s reason to hope that goals and assists will come with time.
Gylfi Sigurdsson - 10/10
Cenk Tosun - 9/10
Big Sam got his man — now it’s time to see what he can do.
- Joel Robles
- Mason Holgate
- Tom Davies
- James McCarthy
- Aaron Lennon
- Nikola Vlasic
- Dominic Calvert-Lewin - Relied upon to carry the load up front for Everton so far this season, DCL looks certain to take on a more rotational role from this point forward.
If the team sheet looks how we think it will, Everton will be better equipped to attack than perhaps any other point this season. With Ross Barkley and Kevin Mirallas now gone, every first team forward and attacking midfielder is fit. The only thing left is getting Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman back up and running, then the Toffees will really be fit to fly.