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Everton vs Leicester City: Projected XI | Midfield Limitations

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How will the Blues line-up after a two-week break from league action?

Everton v Sheffield Wednesday: The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round Photo by Emma Simpson/Everton FC via Getty Images

If Everton are serious about challenging for at least a top four spot this year, this clash with Leicester City is massive.

The Blues are sixth, but with two games in hand. A win over Leicester would see the Blues move up to fifth, having played less than all of the teams above them – including the Foxes who are currently third and six points clear of Everton. A loss, though, would see all of our rivals pull away.

So how will the Blues line-up?

Who’s Out?

Fabian Delph, Allan, Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Niels Nkounkou remain out injured, but there’s good news for the Blues as Alex Iwobi and Lucas Digne are declared fit.

Tactics and Formation

Everton started the season with a wealth of options in midfield. But then Allan got injured. So did Delph. Gbamin’s still not back. Mo Besic (remember him?) isn’t registered. And now Abdoulaye Doucoure is suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season.

That leaves Carlo with a dilemma: can Tom Davies and Andre Gomes be trusted to marshal Everton’s midfield?

If not, could we see Mason Holgate or Ben Godfrey in another makeshift position? Holgate has played a couple of games in a holding role before, while Godfrey was primarily used in that position during a successful loan spell at Shrewsbury Town in 2017/18.

There’s also the question of Lucas Digne. He’s one of Everton’s best players but was utilised in at attacking left-wing role at Wolves in Richarlison’s absence. But with Richie back and Everton having looked rock solid with Godfrey at left-back, the question for Carlo is if he changes a winning defensive formula.

Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)

Jordan Pickford – 6/10

Pickford’s turn.

Seamus Coleman – 7/10

Mason Holgate also an option

Lucas Digne – 8/10

Expecting Digne to return to left-back to offer a more attacking threat.

Ben Godfrey – 8/10

Could be a rare outing for him in his preferred position! May be preferred to Mina with the Foxes unlikely to provide much of an aerial threat in lieu of pace.

Michael Keane – 9/10

Mason Holgate – 8/10

Has previously made a couple of midfield appearances and Carlo did note in his press conference that he knows “Mason can also play in midfield”.

Tom Davies – 7/10

Another toss-up between Davies and Gomes, but would edge for Davies after Gomes started in the cup. Could also be paired together, but not the most comforting of partnerships.

James Rodriguez – 9/10

Gylfi Sigurdsson – 8/10

Richarlison – 10/10

Dominic Calvert-Lewin – 10/10

Bench

Robin Olsen

Jonas Lössl

Jonjoe Kenny

Yerry Mina

Andre Gomes

Tyler Onyango – Might make the squad again after making his debut on Sunday. Did also play 90 minutes for the under-23s on Monday though, so might not be fresh enough. Also depends on whether Cenk Tosun’s apparent exit is happening.

Alex Iwobi

Bernard

Anthony Gordon