As of this writing, Everton are experiencing something that is at least neighborly with a crisis. They’ve lost two league games in a row to bad teams, and generally looked horrible doing it. Nothing to fear - they only play perhaps the best team in world football tomorrow. Is there a lineup that can save us?
Tactics and Formation
We have seen, at times, Marco Silva tweak his squad selection or tactics against top-level Premier League clubs, but if there’s any time that he should stick to his guns, it’s this weekend. His team isn’t good enough defensively to sit deep and hope to frustrate Manchester City.
So, instead he should (and we think will) retain the high-pressing gameplan that has come to define his era (for better or worse), especially given the injury situation City faces at center-back. A high-pressing Dominic Calvert-Lewin or Gylfi Sigurdsson could force a mistake from the makeshift City backline — and that’ll probably be Everton’s best chance to get a goal in this match.
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford - 10/10
Lucas Digne - 10/10
Yerry Mina - 10/10
Michael Keane - 10/10
We don’t need to tell you that Everton have conceded a fair number of garbage goals in recent weeks, but it’s just hard to see Silva making a change at center-back. You can argue with us about our opinion of Mason Holgate (he’s bad) until you’re blue in the face, but it looks pretty evident at this point that Silva feels as we do about him, so a change at this position seems unlikely.
Seamus Coleman - 9/10
Change at right-back seems unlikely too, but Djbril Sidibe played a hell of a cross to Dominic Calvert-Lewin on Everton’s first goal against Sheffield Wednesday, and he remains a clear class above the rest of the Toffees’ defensive reserves. Do we think that means he should or will start over Coleman? Not really, but it does leave it as a potential possibility.
Morgan Schneiderlin - 9/10
Go re-read what we wrote about Mason Holgate above, replace Mason Holgate with Tom Davies, and you have our general feelings on Tom Davies. Some rate him highly, we aren’t among them, but most importantly it seems Marco Silva isn’t either. As such, we’d be shocked to see him replace Schneiderlin or Delph in the center of midfield.
Fabian Delph - 9/10
Gylfi Sigurdsson - 10/10
Richarlison - 10/10
Alex Iwobi - 7/10
Iwobi should start this game. He’s a better defensive winger than Bernard by a mile, and he’s outperformed the Brazilian in attack too (though by a much smaller margin). But Silva loves him some Bernard, so we certainly can’t rule out him getting a start on the left wing.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin - 8/10
Like Iwobi, Dom should start this game. If you want to be a pressing team, then you best bring it against possession teams of the highest level. And if you’re going to bring it, you need your best pressing forward — that’s DCL by a lot.
If you’re the religious type, I would start praying.