Everton limped over the finish line in 2019/20 with barely a team to put out. But with a few weeks rest and some much-needed signings, Carlo Ancelotti won’t be short of options anymore and will even have a few positive selection headaches for the trip to Tottenham Hotspur.
Obviously the biggest question for Blues is whether we’ll see Everton’s new trio starting the game, and Ancelotti provided some insight into that topic:
“Allan and Doucoure were training at their clubs before coming here, so were already in good shape physically. James started to fully train this week but he is fit.”
This seems to be an indication that we’ll be treated to a new midfield combo of Allan and Doucoure, although we can perhaps expect James Rodriguez to emerge from the bench later on – which should certainly quench the thirst for a new midfield.
Of course, with so many players available, it could well mean the likes of Anthony Gordon, Fabian Delph, Tom Davies, Niels Nkounkou and Bernard may not even make the matchday squad despite being fit.
Tactics and Formation
Carlo Ancelotti shifted back to a 4-2-3-1 setup to see out the season and with James Rodriguez now amongst the ranks, it would seem likely that the Italian will favour this system heading into the new season.
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford – 10/10
Jonjoe Kenny – 7/10
Having scored against Preston in Everton’s “final” (of two) pre-season games, one would assume Ancelotti would go with Kenny over Coleman for this one. The main reason I’m predicting this is because he already has a good measure of Coleman, while Kenny remains something of an unknown. Therefore, giving Kenny game time will give him an idea of whether Everton do need to step into the market once more in order to sign a right-back before the window closes.
Lucas Digne – 10/10
Michael Keane – 10/10
Yerry Mina - 7/10
Is supposedly back fit after yet another niggling injury. If he isn’t match fit, it could be a big opportunity for either Lewis Gibson or Jarrod Branthwaite to get a first-team opportunity.
Abdoulaye Doucoure – 8/10
Central midfield was undoubtedly Everton’s biggest weakness last season, but with the signings of Doucoure, Allan and – to some extent – James Rodriguez – the Blues look flush in the middle of the park now. Expect the bite of Doucoure and Allan to rouse Evertonians’ hopes for the season.
Allan – 8/10
Gylfi Sigurdsson – 9/10
Although he is often the target of Blue fury, coaches seem to stick with him. If Everton go with a 4-2-3-1 here, expect Sigurdsson to start ahead of Rodriguez, while the Colombian picks up match fitness.
Richarlison – 10/10
Theo Walcott – 7/10
Tough call on the right wing and I’d much rather see Anthony Gordon there, but if Richarlison is on the left, it seems somewhat inevitable that Ancelotti will go with Iwobi or Walcott, with the latter having started against Preston.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin – 10/10
Jarrad Branthwaite – It’s a straight toss up between Branthwaite and Gibson for who provides cover at centre half - or possibly even start if Mina is not deemed ready.
James Rodriguez (!)
Alex Iwobi – Again, would much prefer to see Anthony Gordon at the top of the list, but leaving a £34m signing out of the squad entirely could be deemed controversial.