Everton head to the coast tomorrow afternoon to face a somewhat resurgent Southampton side, newly refreshed under Ralph Hasenhüttl. The Saints still languish in 16th place, though - a full eleven points behind the Blues, and there’s a marked talent difference between the two squads.
If Marco Silva gets his setup right, Everton should have no excuse not to win this match. How do we expect them to line up?
Tactics and Formation
Last week, Ademola Lookman’s introduction into the starting lineup brought a new element to Everton’s attacking gameplan. His ability to threaten on the dribble opened up space for others, in particular Gylfi Sigurdsson in the center of the park.
That ability to open up the central channel has been missing pretty desperately from the Everton attack most of the season — and with Southampton missing Pierre-Emile Hojberg and potentially Mario Lemina this week, look for the Toffees to try to exploit that area on the pitch once more.
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford - 10/10
Lucas Digne - 10/10
Kurt Zouma - 9/10
If Zouma has figured out how to head balls at goal, instead of 20 feet high or wide of net, Yerry Mina should be really worried. Offensive contribution was one of the few areas that the Colombian was clearly ahead of the Frenchman, but Zouma opened the scoring well against Bournemouth last week.
Michael Keane - 9/10
Another quiet match for Keane last week — generally a good thing for a center-back. He was only beaten by David Brook’s chance off the post after his central defense partner was nearly disrobed.
Seamus Coleman - 10/10
Andre Gomes - 9/10
After a very strong start at Everton, Gomes has come back to earth a bit in recent weeks. His decision-making nearly got him in trouble against Bournemouth, something we saw very little of in his first few months with the club.
He’s played at least 45 minutes in every match since his October 21 debut against Crystal Palace — with a stretch of eight consecutive full-90s before the festive period. Marco Silva might want to give the Portuguese midfielder a full rest sooner rather than later, but we don’t suspect this is the week in which it comes.
Idrissa Gueye - 9/10
Everton haven’t quite come out and said they refuse to sell Gana, but there certainly seem to be few, if any, indications that the club is legitimately considering a sale. He’s played the full-90 in Everton’s last five matches in all competitions following a brief injury-induced spell on the sideline.
Nor has his play noticeably dropped off — he remains high energy and high action, even if his passing remains typically suspect as well.
Gylfi Sigurdsson - 10/10
Ademola Lookman - 9/10
The young winger was superb against Bournemouth, providing the sort of breakout performance from a starting role that felt so tantalizingly close over the final months of 2018. A return to the starting lineup doesn’t just give Everton the best chance to win — it’s also vital to reward the 21-year-old’s patience.
Bernard - 7/10
We’d prefer Bernard in a bench role with Lookman deservedly in the starting lineup, but Marco Silva has been hesitant to deviate from a successful starting lineup. Adam would prefer to see Theo Walcott return on the right with Lookman on the left, while Chris favors Dominic-Calvert-Lewin up top with Richarlison returning to the left wing.
But we both are resigned to another likely start for the Brazilian — who continues to impress in spells, but lacks the consistency necessary for a starter at this level.
Richarlison - 10/10
As always, we know the Brazilian will start. His match against Bournemouth featured perhaps his most well-rounded performance up top, even if the goals didn’t come, which leads us to believe he’ll be up top rather than wide left.
Tom Davies -
Who would you start at striker? Would you give Andre Gomes a break? Should Jonjoe Kenny be getting more of a chance in the team? Let us know in the comments.