It all boils down to this.
One game. One game to decide whether Everton will remain in the Premier League for the final season at Goodison or be relegated for the first time in 72 years.
The good news is that Everton’s fate is in our own hands.
The bad news is that Everton’s fate is in our own hands.
So, how will Sean Dyche line up his Blues for this final day relegation battle with anything less than a win likely to see the Blues go down?
Not good news. Not good at all.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin is out. A lack of a (fit) striker has been Everton’s downfall this season and it’s almost fitting that this is also the case on the final day.
In another blow, Nathan Patterson is also out.
Ben Godfrey, Ruben Vinagre and Andros Townsend are also out.
EVERTON SQUAD AVAILABLE VS BOURNEMOUTH
Goalkeepers: Pickford, Begovic, Lonergan,
Defenders: Keane, Mina,
Godfrey (INJURED), Tarkowski, Holgate, Coady, Mykolenko (DOUBT), Coleman (INJURED), Patterson (INJURED), Vinagre (INJURED), Welch, Samuels-Smith
Midfielders: Doucoure, Iwobi,
Davies (INJURED), Onana, Gueye, Garner, Price, McAllister
Townsend (INJURED), McNeil, Mills
Calvert-Lewin (INJURED), Maupay, Simms
#h2 Tactics and Formation
There are some big questions regarding Everton’s line up for this one.
The key question being: who replaces Dominic Calvert-Lewin up top.
For most Evertonians, the answer is simple: Ellis Simms. He’s the closest thing to a like-for-like replacement, and although lacking in experience, he’s shown he is capable of finding an important goal – as he did against Chelsea.
But Simms has – perplexingly – barely had a look-in, with Neal Maupay seemingly favoured to the youngster or Demarai Gray being shoe-horned into the role.
There are also some questions in midfield, with four central midfielders starting last week, as McNeil shifted to left-back.
At the back too, Nathan Patterson will need to be replaced – with Mason Holgate the most obvious choice to replace him – although Michael Keane was chosen to replace Patterson from the bench last week, but Keane is clearly not a full-back and that is not an experiment that ought to be repeated.
My bess guess would be Holgate on the right, Mykolenko on the left, which should free up McNeil and Iwobi to return to the wide positions.
That would mean a decision would need to be made about the midfield three, with Garner the most likely to drop out.
Up front, I think Dyche may opt to start with Gray. Although I wish we’d stick to using players in their actual positions, so I will continue to pray for Simms (though I’d love to see Gray on the right side of midfield).
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford – 10/10
Mason Holgate – 6/10
Vitaliy Mykolenko - 7/10
James Tarkowski – 9/10
Yerry Mina – 9/10
Abdoulaye Doucoure – 9/10
Idrissa Gana Gueye – 8/10
Amadou Onana - 7/10
Dwight McNeil – 9/10
Alex Iwobi – 8/10
Demarai Gray – 7/10