Everton are back on track, it seems. But the festive fixtures are starting to pile up (as well as the injuries).
Below we take a look at how we expect Carlo Ancelotti’s side to line-up when struggling Arsenal visit Goodison Park.
The injury list is starting to mount again. Joining Lucas Digne, Fabian Delph and Jean-Philippe Gbamin on the sidelines is Allan, who picked up a hamstring injury against Leicester and will probably be out for at least the Christmas period, and probably most of January.
But there is some good news in that Seamus Coleman is again available for selection, although it remains to be seen whether Carlo Ancelotti will want to disrupt a back four that has kept two rare and consecutive clean sheets.
Tactics and Formation
4-2-3-1 has worked well for the last couple of games, so I wouldn’t expect this to change here.
The biggest question is who will come into replace Allan. One would expect a more defensive player (i.e. Holgate, Godfrey or Tom Davies) to fill the role, but based on Carlo’s decision to replace Allan with Andre Gomes in midweek, you’d have to assume that the Portuguese is his preferred option. Considering Andre Gome’s (lack of) defensive abilities, we would assume that Doucoure would sit a bit deeper in order to cover Allan’s absence.
However, if Holgate or Godfrey are indeed favoured in a holding role, this could present a rare opportunity at full-back for either Jonjoe Kenny or Niels Nkounkou.
There’s also been a change in Premier League rules this week, so that clubs can name nine substitutes on the bench as from Saturday. This could provide some of Everton’s younger players with a chance at making the squad, most notably Nkounkou.
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford – 7/10
Expected to return after being dropped for Robin Olsen in midweek.
Mason Holgate - 9/10
I think that Mason Holgate could be moved to centre-back here in order to add some much-needed pace to cope with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Therefore Jonjoe Kenny could get a rare start in a Blue shirt.
Ben Godfrey - 9/10
Michael Keane – 9/10
Yerry Mina - 8/10
Abdoulaye Doucoure – 8/10
Andre Gomes – 6/10
Favourite to get the nod to replace Allan after coming off the bench in midweek, but also could be a chance for Tom Davies.
Alex Iwobi – 8/10
Gylfi Sigurdsson – 8/10
Richarlison – 9/10
Dominic Calvert-Lewin – 9/10
Seamus Coleman – Could make for a selection problem for Jonjoe Kenny, as you surely don’t need two right backs on the bench… stranger things have certainly happened though.
Niels Nkounkou – With nine subs available, Nkounkou will surely now make the bench.
Jarrod Branthwaite – Could make a return to the first-team setup after impressing at the end of last season.
Ellis Simms – Beni Baningime or Tyler Onyango may also make the squad, but after banging in the goals for the under-23s this season, Simms is favourite to get the nod. Friday night’s under 23s line-up should provide us with some clues though.