It’s official: Everton are in a relegation fight.
Are we “too good” to go down? One win in 15 games says definitely not.
In Frank Lampard’s first Premier League game at Goodison Park, fellow strugglers Leeds are the visitors and three points are becoming an increasing necessity.
And the injuries are starting to mount again…
Yerry Mina (8-10 weeks) and Demarai Gray join Ben Godfrey, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Fabian Delph and Tom Davies on Everton’s once-again increasing injury list. Vitaliy Mykolenko is also absent – assumedly after failing a COVID test which also ruled him out in midweek.
Fortunately, the Blues did add numbers to the squad in January, so it’s not reaching “injury crisis” levels yet.
EVERTON SQUAD AVAILABLE VS LEEDS
Goalkeepers: Pickford, Begovic, Lonergan
Mina (INJURY), Godfrey (INJURY), Holgate, Branthwaite, Mykolenko (COVID), Coleman, Kenny, Patterson
Doucoure (INJURY), Delph (INJURY), Gomes, Gbamin, Alli, van de Beek, Onyango, Davies (INJURY)
Gray (INJURY), Gordon, Townsend, Iwobi, El Ghazi
Attackers: Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison, Rondon (DOUBT), Tosun, Dobbin
Tactics and Formation
With both Yerry Mina and Ben Godfrey now out injured, this may well force Frank Lampard to change shape against Leeds. Although he did persist with a back three against Newcastle, with Jarrad Branthwaite putting in a mixed performance from the bench.
But with Dele Alli and Donny van de Beek itching for full debuts, this seems like the ideal moment to switch to a 4-3-3.
Everton’s two left-back options are unavailable, though, so it will be interesting to see who gets selected there. Andros Townsend operated at wing-back against Newcastle, but it’s not clear whether he would be suitable further back. Jonjoe Kenny has also got a run out at left-back against Brentford, so that seems to be the other most likely option.
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford – 10/10
Seamus Coleman – 8/10
Jonjoe Kenny 6/10
Will be down to him or Townsend to play out of position at left back. Alternatively, Branthwaite may start as part of a back three again, with Townsend at wing-back.
Michael Keane – 9/10
Mason Holgate – 9/10
Allan - 9/10
Donny van de Beek – 7/10
Likely to replace Gomes and get his first start.
Dele Alli – 7/10
Was off the pace against Newcastle but should start in an advanced midfield role.
Richarlison – 10/10
Likely to move out to the left side of attack, assuming DCL returns.
Anthony Gordon – 6/10
Could make way for Dele Alli but is Everton’s best winger (and player?) at the moment.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin – 8/10
Hopefully the big man is fit enough to start.
Anwar El-Ghazi – The new Josh King?