James Rodriguez will miss the finale with a calf problem after missing the penultimate match against Wolves midweek, which the Blues won 1-0.
Seamus Coleman will also miss the match against City with an as-yet disclosed injury, just a few days after one of his best matches of the season in which he garnered numerous Man of The Match shouts.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Friday, Carlo Ancelotti said:
“James Rodriguez unfortunately is not available for the game. He didn’t recover from the problem on his calf and unfortunately he didn’t finish the season well.
“Now he will be focused to prepare for the Copa America with the national team. I hope to have him next season, fit and at his best.
“Also, Coleman had a problem during the game against Wolves. He will not be available for the game.”
The Toffees will have to look to other areas for creativity in place of James, with Gylfi Sigurdsson usually asked to make up for the absence of the Colombian. Of course the Icelandic midfielder has been more of a ball shuttling mid this season and has not seemed the most comfortable in the 10 spot, it’s hard to see Ancelotti making major line-up changes following a win against Wolves.
There will be some fans clamouring for the inclusion of Tom Davies to pair (presumably) with Allan and Doucoure, so it will be interesting to see who Carlo trusts in such a big match.
As far as replacing Coleman we could see a number of options, with Mason Holgate coming in a CB in a back three and moving Ben Godfrey to the wingback role Coleman has occupied the last few weeks.
Ancelotti could also choose to revert to a back four and play Holgate (or Godfrey) at right back. Whatever he chooses, the manager is going to have some big decisions to make for the Europe-deciding match.
There have been rumours going around that James had withdrawn from Everton’s squad for the last couple of weeks of the season to ensure that he would be fully fit to play for Colombia in the Copa America tournament that starts on June 11th. However, Ancelotti firmly denied that was so.
“I think the Copa America is in his mind when the season finishes. James unfortunately, in the last period, was not fit. He had a little problem which didn’t give him the possibility to play regularly, which he needed to do.
“And that’s it. Now, of course, he has to be focused for the Copa America because he wants to play for his country as all the players do after the end of the season.
“This is absolutely normal. But to say that James was focused on the Copa America before now, no. James was really disappointed for the fact that he was not able to help the team in this final part of the season. He was really disappointed and really sad.
“But what can he do? He has to be ready when next season starts, and to try to avoid the problem he had this season.”
Fans have been somewhat irate after Ancelotti revealed ahead of the Wolves game on Sunday that James was out due to ‘fatigue’, considering how little he has played this season. This news doesn’t make the 29-year-old look any better in the supporters’ eyes.