Everton ended an ultimately disappointing season by getting battered 5-0.
And things have gotten worse over the summer.
The Blues now have a Red at the helm, they’ve invested a meagre £1.5 million in the squad and, to top it off, a “mystery” player has been arrested in awful circumstances.
Oh, and now five players are in COVID-enforced isolation ahead of the season opener against Southampton.
That’s a good question.
While Rafa said five players are in isolation, he didn’t confirm the identity of them. It is strongly suspected that Andres Gomes, Moise Kean and James Rodriguez make up three of those players, but the final two are unknown. Jean-Philippe Gbamin could be in line for a very rare first team appearance, although he was also forced to isolate last week and could miss out.
Fortunately, though, the new Everton boss did confirm that Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison are both available to play.
Tactics and Formation
Based on what we’ve seen so far in pre-season, it looks like Everton are set to refer back to the 4-2-3-1 system that was most frequently utilised by Marco Silva a couple of years ago.
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford – 8/10
Made a horrible mistake as he returned to Everton last week, but should surely be between the sticks.
Seamus Coleman – 9/10
Lucas Digne – 9/10
Michael Keane – 8/10
Ben Godfrey – 8/10
Allan – 9/10
Abdoulaye Doucoure – 9/10
Andros Townsend – 8/10
Has looked a bright spark during pre-season and should make his debut.
Demarai Gray – 8/10
Has been Everton’s best player during pre-season and should bring some much needed dynamism to the attacking midfield role.
Richarlison – 8/10
No rest for Richie, who has played 15 times for Brazil since the 2020/21 season ended less than 12 weeks ago.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin – 8/10
Hasn’t featured in pre-season, but is available after shaking off a knock from last week.