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Projected XI: Everton vs. Southampton

A favorable Cup draw? What’s this?

Everton v Southampton - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Everton face a quick turnaround from their Saturday win over Fulham, and head straight back into the Carabao Cup against Southampton. Marco Silva has indicated that there may not be many changes to his lineup, but we still expect a few, so let’s investigate further.

Tactics and Formation

The question, as always with cup matches, is how seriously Marco Silva wants to take this match. Liverpool and Manchester United are both already out of the competition, and the Toffees would play away to Leicester in the next round of the Carabao Cup should they win on Tuesday.

That’s a pretty viable path into the quarterfinals of the competition, and one Silva can’t truly afford to overlook as the club chases its first silverware in what I’m pretty sure is 18 bajillion years.

But, rest is obviously an important consideration too, and Silva will have to balance his approach against Southampton. Fortunately, Everton’s depth is as strong as it’s been in years, and Silva can rest some important players while still utilizing his preferred 4-3-3 with pretty strong personnel.

Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)

Jordan Pickford - 7/10

Maarten Stekelenburg got the start in the Rotherham match, but the upgrade to Premier League level opposition probably sees Pickford back between the sticks.

Leighton Baines - 7/10

Lucas Digne has an absolute stranglehold on the starting left-back spot right now, not so much due to Baines’ aging, but simply because the Frenchman has been that incredible. This seems like a reasonable spot to get Baines minutes though, and hopefully prove he’s still got a part to play at Everton.

Mason Holgate - 8/10

With Yerry Mina and Phil Jagielka still fighting injuries, Mason Holgate has been the lone reserve center-back behind Kurt Zouma and Michael Keane. With another match this weekend and no Mina return in the immediate future, we suspect Holgate will start to allow one of the other two center-backs to rest.

Michael Keane - 6/10

Keane is our marginal favorite to start alongside Holgate, but it’s nearly too close to call. Zouma has played more minutes than Keane, and might need the rest more as a result. Keane could also potentially drop out of the starting XI against the pacey Leicester City counter-attack on the weekend, making a start on Tuesday make more sense.

However, Keane is also coming off an injury and could therefore be a candidate to sit out. We think the former overshadows the latter, and Keane starts against Southampton.

Jonjoe Kenny - 10/10

This isn’t really a statement on Kenny’s potential need for rest or his current performance — there’s just nobody who can feasibly replace him.

Tom Davies - 8/10

Tom might be coming off his best game of the season, and he’s clearly worked his way into Silva’s good graces after it looked like he’d be the odd man out in midfield. Idrissa Gueye certainly could use the breather this week as well.

Morgan Schneiderlin - 9/10

The French midfielder has been on the wrong end of a few tough personnel decisions over the past two weeks, and really through no fault of his own. He got off to a pretty good start to the season, but his style simply didn’t quite mesh with what Silva looked to do against Arsenal and West Ham United.

However, he remains an important player at the club, and one Silva will want to keep involved. His ability to keep possession will be a big factor in a match that may not include some of Everton’s best players.

Kieran Dowell - 6/10

Silva has made clear that he isn’t going to completely overhaul things in the cup match, and as new managers often do, he seems to prioritize the chance at silverware that the cup brings.

So we’re quite torn at how to approach the No. 10 position for this match. Gylfi Sigurdsson may be coming off his best match ever in an Everton shirt, and Silva will surely be tempted to ride that momentum. But, the Icelander leads Everton outfield players in minutes played, will be vital to breaking down the Leicester deep block on Saturday, and will surely feature heavily for his country in the upcoming international break.

So, we give the edge here to Kieran Dowell, thinking that Silva will begrudgingly rest his star midfielder.

Bernard - 9/10

The diminutive Brazilian has shown flashes of brilliance in his yet inconsistent appearances for Everton — and with Theo Walcott second among Everton outfield players in minutes played, this seems the optimal time to let Bernard show exactly what he can do.

Richarlison - 9/10

Everton’s other Brazilian got a prolonged break during his three-match suspension, and should have no problem getting on the pitch again Tuesday.

Cenk Tosun - 6/10

The striker situation is unclear as ever, especially in a cup match. We’re still not really sure which of Tosun and Dominic Calvert-Lewin the manager currently prefers up top, and Oumar Niasse remains a viable option as well.

We give Tosun the edge here based on his goal on Saturday and Calvert-Lewin’s recent starts, but we wouldn’t be surprised if any of he, DCL, or Niasse gets the start on Tuesday.


Maarten Stekelenburg

Kurt Zouma

Lucas Digne

Idrissa Gueye

Theo Walcott

Gylfi Sigurdsson

Oumar Niasse

Would you make any changes to our lineup above? Perhaps Gylfi in for Dowell, or Niasse up top instead of Tosun? Let us know in the comments below.