Everton take on Wolves today in what is their third game in a gruelling run of four matches in ten days. With that in mind, coupled with the Blues’ wretched performances in the previous two against Spurs and Southampton, time for changes.
Carlo Ancelotti’s hand is certainly forced to some extent, not least in the void formerly known as Everton’s midfield, but what can he alter against Nuno Espirito Santo’s high-flyers?
Tactics and Formation
Adopting 4-4-2 as per usual against a Southampton side that play the same system, Ancelotti saw his side come unstuck as the Saints ran all over them in midfield. Though, it’s hard to say this was the fault of his tactics, rather the plays at his disposal and how jaded they are.
Wolves, who play a back three supplemented with wing-backs, will offer another stern test. Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota make for a dynamic, canny strike partnership, Adama Traore (if passed fit) has searing pace on the wing that has terrified many a Premier League defence already, and Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho are two of the most intelligent midfielders in the league.
How do Everton fight fire with fire?
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford - 10/10
Lucas Digne - 9/10
Needs a break having not missed a minute of Everton’s five games since the restart, but likely to come against the weaker opposition the Blues face after Wolves.
Michael Keane - 9/10
Another who may need a rest soon, but Keane hasn’t really put a foot wrong since football returned and Everton are short of alternatives.
Yerry Mina - 8/10
If Mason Holgate is fit and plays in central defence, more likely to be Mina dropped for Holgate than Keane. Average on return from injury against Southampton on Thursday.
Seamus Coleman - 8/10
Would have dropped for Djibril Sidibé here - another who needs to catch his breath - but see below.
Anthony Gordon - 10/10
Must start every game for the rest of the season. The only player bar Richarlison who’s looked like making something happen recently.
Mason Holgate - 8/10
Impressed in midfield previously and could have the range of passing to do a job there again if need be.
Beni Baningime - 6/10
Included here more out of hope than expectation, but Everton’s midfield needs more balance and, truth be told, Baningime is the only naturally defensive-minded midfielder available to them at the moment.
Djibril Sidibé - 7/10
Not as bad a defender as some make out but will certainly benefit from having more of a licence to drive forward with the protection offered by Coleman behind him.
Richarlison - 10/10
Dominic Calvert-Lewin - 9/10
Not great since the restart and needs a goal, but work rate still faultless as ever.
Bernard - not showing enough to stake a claim to win his place back off Gordon.
André Gomes - assuming he’s recovered from the knock that forced him off against Southampton. But good Lord, has any footballer ever looked more in dire need of a rest than Gomes?
Gylfi Sigurdsson - not good enough - certainly not to play in a midfield two, anyway - and has played too much football lately anyway.
Alex Iwobi - is not a winger. Is not a central midfielder. Is (probably) a number ten, which Everton don’t play with anymore.
Theo Walcott - rather start Sidibé on the wing than Walcott given he is only just back from injury.
Moise Kean - would be tempted to offer him a start at this point but haven’t seen anything in albeit brief cameo roles to suggest he would be a better option than either of the front two even for one game.