Everton used up their best form of the season and all the good will borne from it by laying an absolute egg against Fulham at Craven Cottage last week. That circus was followed up by one of the Blues’ best players being suspended for three matches. In short, we’ve no idea how Marco Silva will react with his lineup, but might as well take a shot, eh?
Tactics and Formation
Truthfully, the disaster at Craven Cottage might have been a little more predictable than we admitted ahead of the match last weekend. Everton’s recent strong performances have come against teams with a deep desire to pass through the midfield, something the Toffees were well-equipped to counter.
So when Fulham came along, content to launch the ball toward Aleksandar Mitrović’s head or in behind for Ryan Babel to chase down, Everton had no recourse. Fortunately for Marco Silva, this week’s match brings another team looking to play expansive, attacking football in Manchester United. Unfortunately, he’ll be without Andre Gomes, whose presence played a huge part in Everton’s success against Chelsea, West Ham United, and Arsenal.
That said, we expect Silva to press high anyway, and pray that Gomes’ replacement can get a similar job done.
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford - 10/10
Lucas Digne - 10/10
Kurt Zouma - 10/10
Michael Keane - 10/10
It was bad and stupid that Marco Silva started Phil Jagielka over Keane last week — provided he wasn’t still fighting the illness that saw him removed from the Arsenal lineup two weeks ago. Jags wasn’t directly at fault for either Fulham goal, but Keane has been a calming overall presence at the back this season, and it’ll be good to see him on the pitch again.
Seamus Coleman - 10/10
Tom Davies - 5/10
Andre Gomes is suspended for this match and the two that follow it — a reasonable suspension given the act, but the sort of ruling that has been applied incredibly inconsistently this season. Everton supporters probably have legitimate cause to complain, but it isn’t going to change the dilemma Marco Silva faces Sunday.
How does he replace Gomes? He could turn to Morgan Schneiderlin, who was calm, composed, and useful in a few surprising performances in February and March. James McCarthy, evidently fit again, is another option.
Schneiderlin is the best passer of the bunch, McCarthy the best ball winner, while Tom Davies is the happy medium between the two. Forced to choose, we suspect Silva will opt for the young Englishman — but we wouldn’t be surprised to see any of these three starting, on the bench, or left out of the 18 all together.
Idrissa Gueye - 10/10
Gylfi Sigurdsson - 10/10
Richarlison - 9/10
Bernard - 9/10
Dominic Calvert-Lewin - 9/10
We don’t think that the Fulham fiasco will cause Marco to make any changes to his front three — but with Ademola Lookman, Theo Walcott, and Cenk Tosun all available for selection too, we at least have to acknowledge the possibility that one or more of those guys gets a start ahead of Richarlison, Bernard, or Calvert-Lewin
You wouldn’t necessarily put it past Everton to get a result against Manchester United, simply because they’ve shown a propensity for playing oddly well against top six sides. Without Andre Gomes, though, it could be a rather tall order.