If you’ve been following Everton coverage since the international break ended, you’re probably well aware of two things.
- Everton currently sit 15th in the Premier League (3 points off 5th place).
- The Toffees play Norwich this week, which is then followed by a hellish run of fixtures against many of the league’s top sides.
Everton had a pretty good run against some of the top clubs in the Premier League toward the end of last season, but Marco Silva can hardly rely on replicating that form with his team so low in the table at this stage.
So the upcoming match against Norwich City is a big one — and Silva has a tough job ahead in picking his team for the match given the club’s injury status and slowly improving form.
Tactics and Formation
There’s a temptation to look at Norwich City’s roster, results, and place in the table and assume that this is a team that looks to primarily bunker and counter — especially since that’s essentially what they did to Manchester City in their 3-2 victory over the defending champions.
But that’s been the exception rather than the rule since Daniel Farke’s side made it back to the Premier League this season. The Canaries average 51.1% possession (10th in the Premier League) and complete 82.3% of their passes (6th), so we aren’t talking about a team that simply looks to hoof it long here (also a prime example of why stats like possession and pass accuracy are meaningless without context!).
That’s probably good news for Everton, who have tended to perform better against teams willing to press them and play a little more attacking-minded football. As such, I’d expect to see the Toffees look to press Norwich high whenever possible, and force the sort of defensive-third mistakes that have caused the Canaries to concede a staggering 28 goals this season.
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford - 10/10
Lucas Digne - 10/10
Mason Holgate - 9/10
No one is more surprised than me that this is a thing that continues to happen, and yet, here we are. Holgate was decent against Southampton once again, and hasn’t given Silva any real reason to remove him from the lineup.
He still makes me nervous when he has the ball at his feet, as his distribution is generally feast-or-famine — but he’ll continue to get chances until he puts on a display that hands Michael Keane another chance.
Yerry Mina - 10/10
Djibril Sidibe - 8/10
The Frenchman appears to have supplanted Seamus Coleman in the starting lineup, at least for now. Maybe that changes in the upcoming more difficult matches, but Silva has preferred Sidibe of late, and I see no reason why that would change against the Canaries.
Tom Davies - 10/10
Andre Gomes’ injury opened the door for Tom Davies to get into the first XI with regularity, and so far, he’s done a decent enough job. He grabbed the headlines by scoring the opening goal against Southampton, though the rest of his match was somewhat underwhelming.
Without a doubt though, he’s the most mobile of the midfield options Silva has at his disposal, and looks likely to have a starting spot nailed down at least until Jean-Philippe Gbamin returns.
Morgan Schneiderlin - 9/10
If Fabian Delph is healthy enough to participate in this match at all, you’d suspect it would only be off the bench, leaving the Frenchman as the obvious choice to partner Davies in the midfield. Schneiderlin has been his quiet but dependable self for the most part since his petulant sending off early in the season.
Gylfi Sigurdsson - 7/10
The Icelander got the start against Southampton last time out, beating out Alex Iwobi in the No. 10 role. Both guys have had their moments there this season, but neither has quite grabbed the spot with both hands.
Given that, we go with the rule of thumb for predicting Marco Silva lineups — pick the last guy to start a match at the position, especially after a win.
Theo Walcott - 9/10
Who is this guy? Walcott is generating 0.52 xG+A per 90 this season — his best output since his days at Arsenal. Sure, he still can’t shoot straight, but the guy has 73 Premier League goals to his name — surely he’s going to find the net sooner or later, right?
Richarlison - 10/10
Dominic Calvert-Lewin - 5/10
Look, I’ll be honest. I don’t have the first damn clue who is going to start at striker this match.
Tosun started last match against Southampton and was fine, but picked up an injury ahead of the international break. Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been top-choice much of the season, but Silva’s evaluation of him seems to change by the day. Moise Kean has yet to make an impact at Everton, but scored twice for the Italy U21s over the break, and Silva could certainly look to build off that momentum in this match.
Because, as I noted above, Norwich seems to be a team that’s susceptible to the high press, I’ll lean towards Dom. But Silva could absolutely look to build upon the momentum that both Tosun and Kean have built in recent weeks by starting either of those players as well.
If Marco Silva wants to get Everton’s season turned around, these are the sort of matches that just have to be wins. The injury situation in the center of midfield could definitely serve to complicate things in December, which is why it’s all the more important that Silva gets his team selection right on Saturday and the Toffees grab all three points at home.