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Everton vs West Bromwich Albion: Projected XI

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Back to the friendly confines of Goodison Park.

West Bromwich Albion v Everton - Premier League Photo by Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images

Everton return home with their tail between their legs. The Blues took an absolute whipping from Tottenham, and the pipe dream of finishing 7th again is fading fast. They need points, and they need them now.

Playing West Bromwich Albion is a good place to start, and Sam Allardyce has a new toy to try out. How will the Toffees line up?

Tactics and Formation

With the acquisition of Theo Walcott from Arsenal, there’s a real chance that we’ve seen the last move of the January window that could substantially change Everton’s tactical plan.

Sure, Sam Allardyce may bring in a defender or two (we sure hope he does), but swapping defenders is significantly less tactically substantial than swapping midfielders or attackers — so the squad the Toffees have now is tactically reflective of what we’ll see from Everton going forward.

Our best guess for what Theo Walcott’s addition to Everton means is below.

Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)

Jordan Pickford - 10/10

Jonjoe Kenny - 10/10

Phil Jagielka - 5/10

Mason Holgate - 5/10

Ashley Williams is available, and Michael Keane is healthy, so who really knows what Big Sam will do at center-back at this point. We lean toward a renewal of the Jagielka-Holgate pairing, but any combination of the four is possible.

Cuco Martina - 10/10

Morgan Schneiderlin - 8/10

Schneiderlin didn’t start against Tottenham last week, and the midfield resembled Swiss cheese without his calming influence. He’s got to play, and we think after the team’s most recent display, Allardyce will see that.

Idrissa Gueye - 9/10

Gylfi Sigurdsson - 9/10

It’s possible that no one benefits more from the acquisition of Theo Walcott than Everton’s resident Icelander, who will likely get shifted into the middle of the pitch as a result.

Yannick Bolasie - 8/10

Theo Walcott - 7/10

We think Walcott will be ready to jump straight into the starting lineup, and his addition gives the Toffees genuine threats and pace on both wings.

Cenk Tosun - 10/10

Tosun was perhaps the only Everton player to show positively against Spurs, and Big Sam will surely continue to ride his new striker.

FBL-ENG-PR-WEST BROM-ARSENAL Photo credit should read LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images

Bench

  • Joel Robles
  • Ashley Williams
  • Michael Keane - Tom Davies could get this spot, but he’s seemed out of favor recently and Keane is back to full fitness.
  • James McCarthy
  • Aaron Lennon
  • Wayne Rooney - Someone will have to make way for Theo Walcott, and Rooney is the most sensible choice. He doesn’t have the legs to be playing long periods in the midfield, and will serve his team better as a late-game option.
  • Dominic Calvert-Lewin

Everton are in a strange spot. With an outside chance at a European place provided the domestic cups go a certain way, they need points in the league. They also need to allow their new attack to gel so that next season can be one of true progress.

Can Sam Allardyce make it happen? Does anyone really know?