Well, the deed is done.
Marco Silva is gone, and you’d have to say that some of his questionable personnel decisions against Liverpool on Wednesday played no small part in the final decision to let the man go. I was shocked he went back to the same group that played against Leicester City, and it was ultimately among the last mistakes he made at Everton.
That leaves us now with interim manager Duncan Ferguson, who has never served as the primary manager for a club at any level.
Tactics and Formation
So, how do we project a lineup put together by a man who has never managed at any level, much less the Everton senior team? If you came here hoping for a confident answer to that question, I have bad news for you.
That said, there’s so little time between the Liverpool match and this weekend’s match against Chelsea that it’d be hard to imagine Big Dunc implementing any significant changes to the way Everton has been operating. Take into consideration that he’s also been very upfront about the fact that he’s just a caretaker, and it seems pretty safe to assume we won’t see anything too exotic or outlandish in terms of tactics this weekend.
In reality, that probably means a return to the comfortable 4-2-3-1 of the Silva era, at least for now.
Personnel selection on the other hand...I could easily entertain an argument that he sticks with proven players to try to power through this difficult time, or that he throws a whole bunch of kids onto the pitch to try to change the momentum. My best guess is that he uses a little of both.
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford - 10/10
Lucas Digne - 10/10
Yerry Mina - 9/10
The only doubt with Mina is health related — if he’s fit, he’ll start.
Mason Holgate - 7/10
Marco Silva absolutely screwed over Michael Keane by dropping him back into the starting lineup in an unfamiliar back three system, and then using him on the left against Leicester but the center against Liverpool. I think Keane will be fine in the long-term, but there’s no arguing he struggled against the Reds.
So, I suspect we’ll get Holgate alongside Mina in the center of defense once again.
Djibril Sidibe - 10/10
The on-loan fullback did get roasted midweek, but Chelsea will not provide him with the kind of challenge that he got at Anfield and should return. And Seamus Coleman is still out, so it’s moot anyway.
Tom Davies - 10/10
There’s still a shortage of healthy central midfielders, so even though Tom hasn’t exactly excelled in recent matches, he’ll certainly start against Chelsea — especially given that he’s the sort of high-energy, high-action player Ferguson is sure to love.
Beni Baningime - 5/10
Here’s my first off-the-grid pick. Beni excelled the last time Everton sacked its manager, and was summarily shoved back into the youth setup by Sam Allardyce and Marco Silva. With Morgan Schneiderlin not exactly grabbing hold of a regular place, and Gylfi Sigurdsson proving without doubt that he’s not a true central midfielder, Beni represents the best opportunity to get some control back in the midfield.
Richarlison - 10/10
Alex Iwobi - 8/10
Theo Walcott - 8/10
Walcott is another high-energy, high-action type of player that I think Ferguson will look to in order to get a little bit of life back into this Everton side. He was solid before being briefly sidelined by injury, and deserves a place back in the lineup.
Moise Kean - 6/10
Big Dunc knows goals. Moise Kean is the best pure goalscorer among the striker ranks. I don’t have a ton of other justification for this pick — just a hunch that Ferguson will look to get the Italian on the board as soon as possible.
I could be entirely off with this prediction, given how little we know about Duncan as a manager, but this is the best guess given the short turnaround between the derby and Saturday’s match.