The home derby represents one of if not the last chance to make something memorable from a season that’s made us want to take a long walk off a short pier with a toaster. How might the Blues line up?
Tactics and Formation
Last week, we didn’t anticipate Big Sam doing something tactically idiotic in an effort to slow down Manchester City — and that was a pretty obvious mistake on our part, in retrospect.
So, we had some difficult decisions to make when projecting this week’s lineup. Would he do something unusual and probably stupid again? While that is how Allardyce operates, it doesn’t seem particularly likely we’ll see anything outside of the standard 4-3-3.
Allardyce tried the 4-4-2 last week and it was a complete disaster, so we don’t think that project will be revived. The only other non-standard option would include playing three center-backs, and we just don’t think Big Sam trusts his current crop of central defenders enough to trot three of them out there at once.
So, it’s back to the 4-3-3 — we think.
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford - 10/10
Seamus Coleman - 10/10
Ramiro Funes Mori - 6/10
Michael Keane - 8/10
The center-backs really should not take any blame for what happened against Manchester City last week. Against potentially the most potent attack in Premier League history, they were protected by a midfield two of Wayne Rooney and Morgan Schneiderlin — and what do you know, it didn’t work!
But Sam Allardyce is not a smart man, so we don’t think he’ll see things that way. We expect at least one change in the center of defense, and given his bizarre apparent beef with Phil Jagielka, we think the Englishman will come out to make room for Ramiro Funes Mori alongside Keane.
Leighton Baines - 10/10
Tom Davies - 8/10
Big Sam, who appears to in general like Davies, inexplicably left him out of the starting lineup against Manchester City. We don’t think he’ll do it again.
Idrissa Gueye - 7/10
Allardyce stated in his pre-match media availability that Gana is fit to play in this match -- and if he’s fit, he should start.
Wayne Rooney - 8/10
Rooney has made himself very useful several times this season, but his usage against City was infuriatingly moronic — and obviously not his fault. We think he’ll get a more advanced role in this setup than he did last week.
Yannick Bolasie - 7/10
Had Bolasie not scored a meaningless goal toward the end of last week’s match, we might have instead guessed that Dominic Calvert-Lewin or Nikola Vlasic played in this role. But, Yala was the first player not named Cenk Tosun to score for the Toffees since February 10 (a span of four matches), so Big Sam isn’t exactly in a position to bench him.
Theo Walcott - 10/10
Cenk Tosun - 10/10
- Joel Robles
- Cuco Martina
- Phil Jagielka
- Nikola Vlasic
- Morgan Schneiderlin
- Dominic Calvert-Lewin
- Oumar Niasse
Hopefully Ashley Williams isn’t granted a return to the team given his suspension has ended. I can only deal with so many incompetent overweight geriatrics near the Everton bench at once (please do not contact me about this line. I stand by it, given I’m an unprofessional, according to one of the incompetent overweight geriatrics near the Everton bench. Thank you.)
Up the Toffees.