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Projected XI: Everton at Bournemouth

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To the coast!

AFC Bournemouth v Everton - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Everton travel to their second away match of the season with the wind proverbially in their sails. Sure, there are some injury issues, but the team is playing great football, and for once, there’s optimism in the air. Knowing Everton like I do, that probably means there’s a 4-1 loss in our future, but for now we’ll enjoy the newfound confidence.

We know that Yerry Mina, Morgan Schneiderlin, and Andre Gomes will miss tomorrow’s match against Bournemouth, but most everyone else is available. Could Marco Silva hand debuts to Kurt Zouma or Bernard? Lets discuss.

Tactics and Formation

Marco Silva stated near the start of his Everton tenure that his tactical setup relies largely on what he can expect out of his No. 6, his deep-lying midfielder.

Well, with Morgan Schneiderlin likely out, Beni Baningime injured, and Andre Gomes not yet available, Silva has precisely zero of those players remaining. Idrissa Gueye is the closest thing the Toffees have to a true No. 6, but his passing and positional discipline don’t really set him up for success in that role.

Silva will still roll out a 4-3-3, and it’ll be with Gueye at the base of the midfield triangle. But, look for Everton to play more like they did in the second half of the Southampton match than the first — relatively direct, either long to Cenk Tosun or by simply giving the ball to Richarlison and telling him “dribble forward as far as you can.”

This isn’t Silva’s preference, but without a true possession keeper in the center of midfield, it’s the best option available.

Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)

Jordan Pickford - 10/10

Leighton Baines - 9/10

Baines had the first touch on the Blues’ outstanding set piece goal against Southampton, and has continued to develop a good relationship with Richarlison on the left wing. Digne’s chances will come as the quality of Everton’s opposition improves, but for now, Baines is more than getting the job done.

Mason Holgate - 7/10

Last week, Holgate was again an acceptable fill-in at center-back with Phil Jagielka suspended and Kurt Zouma and Yerry Mina not yet ready. We think Marco will leave the Holgate/Keane pairing intact for this league match, then use Zouma midweek in the EFL Cup to get him up to speed. From there, it’ll be anybody’s guess how things play out.

Michael Keane - 8/10

Seamus Coleman - 10/10

Tom Davies - 8/10

With Morgan Schneiderlin looking to be out with injury this week, Tom Davies is really the only viable alternative. He’s not at all a similar player to the Frenchman (the injured Beni Baninigime and Andre Gomes would be more fitting like-for-like replacements), but he was still pretty solid off the bench against Bournemouth last week.

Idrissa Gueye - 10/10

Gylfi Sigurdsson - 10/10

Theo Walcott - 10/10

Richarlison - 10/10

Cenk Tosun - 10/10

Tosun hasn’t scored yet, but he’s been as important a part of the Everton front four as any of its other members. His hold-up play has been solid, he’s making good runs off the ball, and he creates space for the three other attackers.

Bench

Maarten Stekelenburg

Lucas Digne

Kurt Zouma

Kieran Dowell

Ademola Lookman

Dominic Calvert-Lewin

Oumar Niasse


Everton can certainly beat Bournemouth despite their walking wounded, but it’ll take a committed performance from everyone, particularly whichever central midfielders are drafted into action. Eddie Howe’s Cherries are not the most talented side, but they’re likely to be the most capable the Blues have met so far.