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Everton at Newcastle: Projected XI | Creative Forces Missing

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No Richarlison, no Rodriguez… who will Carlo turn to for creative inspiration?

Everton v West Bromwich Albion- Premier League Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

And just like that, Everton came crashing back down to earth.

Southampton outplayed the league leaders (yes, still… for now) Everton last weekend but the performance did highlight the fact that we’re not quite there yet.

So how will we line-up as we look to get back to winning ways against Steve Bruce’s erratic Newcastle side?

Who’s Out?

Unfortunately, there’s been little in the way of good news this week. In case you haven’t heard, James Rodriguez has a really sore bollock and won’t be available against Newcastle. Really.

A testy testicle just isn’t what you need, especially when two of Everton’s best players, Richarlison and Lucas Digne are both ruled out through suspension.

Digne’s suspension was reduced from three games to one, meaning this is the only game he’ll miss, but Everton’s creative forces are depleted to say the least this weekend. Although this could be a big opportunity for Niels Nkounkou to make his Premier League debut, unless Don Carlo opts for the experience of Delph.

On the upside, Jonjoe Kenny is deemed fit and ready to return, which is useful with Seamus Coleman still out with a hamstring issue. Likewise, young Jarrod Branthwaite is back available, but it’s likely he’ll remain with the under 23s for now with three fit centre-backs to choose from.

Mason Holgate, Cenk Tosun and Jean-Philippe Gbamin are all edging their way back from long-term lay-offs but aren’t ready to return yet.

Tactics and Formation

I’d assume that Carlo will stick to a 4-3-3 here, especially as we only have just one striker available. However, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that he could shift to a back three of Mina, Keane and Godfrey, loosening the defensive responsibilities of the two young full-backs, Nkounkou and Kenny, who are set to make their first league starts of the season.

Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)

Jordan Pickford – 10/10

Jonjoe Kenny – 7/10

Should come in to relieve Ben Godfrey at right back.

Niels Nkounkou – 7/10

Could be a deserved Premier League debut. Although Carlo may opt for the more experienced Fabian Delph, who performed in that position previously at Man City.

Michael Keane – 10/10

Yerry Mina - 9/10

Allan – 10/10

Abdoulaye Doucoure – 10/10

Gylfi Sigurdsson - 6/10

Apart from the rattling the crossbar, wasn’t particularly effective as he started against Saints. Andre Gomes could also return, or maybe Tom Davies will get an opportunity.

Anthony Gordon – 7/10

Came on and did pretty well in the circumstances against Southampton. He’s the most similar in profile to Richarlison and hopefully he’ll get a chance to impress here. Other alternative would be Bernard.

Would personally prefer to Anthony Gordon start here, but Bernard seems to be higher in the pecking order right now and will be favourite to start on the left wing.

Alex Iwobi – 7/10

Hauled off at half-time last week, but with another winger out injured, he’ll likely get a reprieve and start on the right this week.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin – 10/10

Bench

Robin Olsen

Ben Godfrey

Fabian Delph

Tom Davies

Andre Gomes

Bernard

Ellis Simms – With Everton’s attacking options severely depleted, Simms should be called up from the 23’s, who don’t have a game this weekend. The big 19-year-old has managed four goals in five games so far this season.