Set pieces and screamers from defenders. That’s how Everton can stay up this season.
Next up is a trip to an erratic Manchester United side. But how will Sean Dyche line up his side in Saturday’s early kick-off?
Let’s take a look…
There’s no fresh injury news for the Blues, which is mostly a good thing.
But that does mean that Dominic Calvert-Lewin is still out.
Ruben Vinagre had a minor problem but is now fit to continue not playing or even making the bench.
The Blues will, of course, be forced into one change, with Abdoulaye “Rocky” Doucoure out for the next three games due to suspension. That will provide a massive opportunity to Tom Davies or James Garner though, with the latter still yet to have had any real chance to make an impact in a Blue shirt.
Alternatively we could see Ellis Simms start up top with Demarai Gray going out wide and Alex Iwobi returning to the middle, but that will depend on if Dyche thinks Gray has the defensive wherewithal to handle Uniteds' pace on the wings.
EVERTON SQUAD AVAILABLE VS UNITED
Goalkeepers: Pickford, Begovic, Lonergan
Defenders: Keane, Mina, Godfrey, Tarkowski, Holgate, Coady, Mykolenko, Coleman, Patterson, Vinagre, Welch
Doucoure (SUSPENDED), Iwobi, Davies, Onana, Gueye, Garner, Price
Townsend (INJURED), McNeil, Mills
Calvert-Lewin (INJURED), Maupay, Simms
Tactics and Formation
Although Doucoure has been a key cog in the Everton engine of late, it’s hard to imagine much of a change to the overall system.
I’d predict that James Garner will come in for Doucoure and while he won’t provide the same athleticism as the Frenchman, he will be a technical upgrade and a much-needed midfielder-that-can-actually-shoot. His setpiece delivery could be a difference maker for the Blues, and the 22-year-could be doubly motivated to take on his former side.
Other than that, it’s hard to see any changes to the line-up. Ellis Simms deserves to start soon, but I hope he’s not thrown in at the deep end here like he was at Anfield, especially against seasoned veteran Raphael Varane and the scrappy Lisandro Martinez.
Nathan Patterson hasn’t yet made an Everton squad under Dyche, but he hopefully gets a place on the bench for this one with Doucoure dropping from the squad – and possibly a chance to show off his immense talent.
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford – 10/10
Seamus Coleman – 8/10
Ben Godfrey - 7/10
James Tarkowski – 9/10
Michael Keane – 9/10
Amadou Onana – 9/10
Idrissa Gana Gueye – 9/10
James Garner – 7/10
Dwight McNeil – 9/10
Alex Iwobi – 9/10
Demarai Gray – 8/10