The games are about to come thick and fast. Palace on Sunday, with the Blues in action five times in the next 22 days.
The good news is, that the worst of the injury crisis seems to be over and Everton finally ended their winless streak with an impressive performance against Arsenal on Monday.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been back in training this week and is getting closer to a return, but that won’t come at Selhurst Park. We may see him again before Christmas, though, which will be music to Evertonians ears.
Tom Davies is also nearing a return, but still a couple of weeks away from action.
After a two-month absence, Yerry Mina returned to the Everton line-up against Arsenal but reaggravated his injury just 31 minutes in. Very frustrating.
Allan is also a doubt for this one with a slight muscle injury. With plenty more games on the horizon, one would hope Rafa will give him extra time to recover and bring in Andres Gomes or Fabian Delph rather than repeat the Mina mistake.
Lucas Digne, meanwhile, has been training this week and he’ll suppose speak with Rafa before this game to determine whether he is “available” after a bust-up with the Spaniard last week. If he misses this game too, it will look increasingly likely that he’ll be on the move in January.
Tactics and Formation
It’s been 4-2-3-1 (which looks more like a 4-4-2/4-4-1-1) most of this season, but Andre Gomes definitely stated his case for a start after impressing from the bench against Arsenal. That could mean the Blues could switch to a 4-3-3, with Gomes and Doucoure either side of Allan or Delph.
At the back, Rafa will have to pick between reinstating Digne or keeping Godfrey there. After Godfrey’s solid performance against Arsenal, I would be surprised to see Digne return straight to the line-up, so there’s a good chance he’ll be on the bench if they can clear the air. That would mean Mason Holgate would get a rare start at centre-back.
Richarlison will lead the line, but Anthony Gordon may make way if Everton switch to a 4-3-3, with Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend flanking the Brazilian.
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford – 10/10
Seamus Coleman – 10/10
Ben Godfrey – 9/10
He’ll start, but will it be at left-back or centre-back?
Michael Keane – 10/10
Mason Holgate – 7/10
Holgate will come in if Digne is left out of the side again.
Fabian Delph – 6/10
If Allan’s a doubt, hopefully Delph will provide him some needed rest.
Abdoulaye Doucoure – 9/10
Andre Gomes – 6/10
Definitely not a nailed on starter but impressed from the bench against Arsenal. A change from Everton’s 4-2-3-1 will be need to accommodate the Portuguese, however.
Andros Townsend – 9/10
Demarai Gray – 9/10
Richarlison – 10/10