Everton are (effectively) four points from safety and the Blues have two very winnable home games next, before ending the season away at Champions League chasing Arsenal.
Brentford are the first visitors to Goodison Park this week and the Blues can’t afford to slip to defeat. That was certainly how the midweek game against Watford was approached, so how will Frank line-up his Blues at home with raucous crowd support again?
Will it be another cautious 5-4-1 setup?
A familiar name has unfortunately returned to the physio room: Fabian Delph. The 32-year-old has been one of Everton’s best players when he’s been available this season, but like his entire Goodison career, he’s just not available very often. He’s out with a “small muscle injury” that forced him off against Watford and it remains to be seen whether we’ll see him in a Blue shirt again considering his contract is up at the end of the season.
Another regular absentee, Yerry Mina, is also out – and the only chance of him returning this season is on the final day against Arsenal.
In better news, Ben Godfrey and Donny van de Beek should be available for selection after recovering from injury. It seems most likely from Lampard’s comments that both will be eased back into the side from the bench, though.
The only other absentees are Andros Townsend and Nathan Patterson who are out for the rest of the campaign.
EVERTON SQUAD AVAILABLE VS BRENTFORD
Goalkeepers: Pickford, Begovic, Lonergan
Mina (INJURY), Godfrey, Holgate, Branthwaite, Mykolenko, Coleman, Kenny, Patterson (INJURY)
Midfielders: Allan, Doucoure,
Delph (INJURY), Gomes, Dele, van de Beek, Davies
Wingers: Gray, Gordon,
Townsend (INJURY), Iwobi, El Ghazi
Attackers: Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison, Rondon, Tosun, Dobbin
Tactics and Formation
After back-to-back wins with a well-utilised 5-4-1 system, there were some grumblings among Evertonians that Frank didn’t switch it up for the latter stages against a poor Watford side, and instead seemed more intent on not losing rather than really going for a valuable three points.
A similar problem of “stick or twist” could well occur this weekend and I’d be surprise to see the Blues boss differentiate from the conservative system against Palace. The only change I’m expecting to see is Allan coming in for Fabian Delph, although there’s a possibility that Calvert-Lewin could also inspire a reshuffle up front with Richarlison going to the left in place on Demarai Gray.
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford – 10/10
Seamus Coleman – 9/10
Mason Holgate – 9/10
Michael Keane – 9/10
Vitaliy Mykolenko – 9/10
Allan – 8/10
Abdoulaye Doucoure – 9/10
Alex Iwobi – 9/10
Anthony Gordon – 9/10
Richarlison – 10/10
Demarai Gray – 7/10
Unless DCL returns and Richie goes left.
Donny van de Beek