When the fixtures came out, it seemed like a favourable start to the season for Everton.
Unfortunately, the Blues have picked up just two points from a possible 12 so far, and now the fixtures are turning us.
After our trip to Leeds on Tuesday night, the Blues face Liverpool and Arsenal back-to-back. If we were to fail to get a win in Yorkshire, it seems very feasible that the Blues could get to matchday eight without a win – at which point the pressure will really start to ratchet up on Frank Lampard – fairly or not.
Let’s make no bones about it. This is a must-win game.
So how will Super Frank line-up his misfiring Blues at Elland Road?
There’s not much change once more, although Mason Holgate has been added to the growing injury list and is awaiting a scan after hobbling off with a knee issue at Brentford.
He joins Yerry Mina, Ben Godfrey, Andros Townsend, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Dominic Calvert-Lewin on the sidelines.
The only new name in the squad will be Neal Maupay, who joined the Blues on Friday. Ideally he’d be straight into the team, but that seems somewhat unlikely given his lack of time with the team and he played no minutes so far at Brighton either.
EVERTON SQUAD AVAILABLE VS LEEDS
Goalkeepers: Pickford, Begovic, Lonergan,
Mina (INJURED), Godfrey (INJURED), Tarkowski, Holgate (INJURED), Coady, Mykolenko, Coleman, Patterson, Vinagre, Welch
Doucoure (INJURED), Iwobi, Gomes (DOUBT), Davies, Onana, Gbamin, Warrington
Wingers: Gray, Gordon,
Townsend (INJURY), McNeil, Mills
Calvert-Lewin (INJURY), Rondon, Maupay
Tactics and Formation
It’ll be the same 3-4-3/5-2-3 setup and I think we’ll see one – possibly two - changes for the Blues.
Michael Keane will come in for the injured Mason Holgate at the back.
The other question, though, is whether the Blues opt to start Rondon instead of Dwight McNeil, as despite Gordon’s goal at the weekend, the “winger up front” tactic isn’t working. Unfortunately, unless Maupay is thrown straight in, Rondon is the only other option.
On the bench, we’ll likely
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford – 10/10
Vitaliy Mykolenko – 9/10
James Tarkowski – 10/10
Conor Coady – 10/10
Michael Keane – 9/10
Nathan Patterson – 9/10
Amadou Onana – 7/10
Could be Davies, but Onana put in his most composed display so far at the weekend.
Alex Iwobi – 10/10
Anthony Gordon – 10/10
Salomon Rondon – 7/10
Or Dwight McNeil. Or Neal Maupay straight into the mix.
Demarai Gray – 10/10