The clouds have parted – for now at least. The brief Benitez era is, finally – and thankfully – over. An air of cautious optimism has entered Goodison Park in the form of Frank Lampard and a couple of deadline day signings.
Unfortunately for Frank, though, none of his new boys are available. So, he’s stuck with our torrid lot.
Dele Alli, Donny van de Beek and even Anwar El Ghazi (remember him?) are all cup-tied for this one and won’t feature in the FA Cup for us this season – regardless of how long or short our journey is.
Abdoulaye Doucoure and Fabian Delph are also out for the next month at least, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin has also been ruled out with a knock for this one. Tom Davies isn’t expected to return this season following hamstring surgery.
In essence, the Blues are looking at bit sparse here.
Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how Lampard sets up his first Everton team.
Tactics and Formation
Frank’s known to be a versatile and attacking tactician, so there’s no certainty about how he’ll set his side up, although 4-3-3 would be the bookmakers’ favourite.
If he wants to earn some early kudos with Evertonians, he’ll line up with Richarljson at centre forward instead of the lump Salomon Rondon, despite his hat-trick for Venezuela during the international break.
It will be interesting to see who he puts at left-back in particular, with Big Dunc rumoured to have made some disparaging comments about “Championship at best” new signing Vitaly Mykolenko. The Blues don’t have many options there, though, so if Ben Godfrey deputises there once more, it’s not a good sign for the young Ukrainian who cost the Blues a pretty penny.
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Asmir Begovic – 7/10
Begovic has been the “cup keeper” under Benitez so let’s see if that continues.
Seamus Coleman – 6/10
Could also see Jonjoe Kenny or even a debut for Nathan Patterson.
Vitaliy Mykolenko – 7/10
Won’t bode well for his young Everton career if Ben Godfrey gets the nod ahead of him.
Ben Godfrey – 8/10
Probably the most likely defender to start, just a question of whether that’s at left-back or centre-back
Yerry Mina – 7/10
Or Mick Keane.
Allan - 9/10
Andre Gomes – 8/10
Demarai Gray – 9/10
Likely to occupy a more central role with numbers lacking in the middle.
Andros Townsend – 7/10
Anthony Gordon – 7/10
Richarlison – 10/10