Everton recorded an impressive 1-0 victory over Europa League side Sporting CP in the last pre-season friendly before the commencement of the regular league season for both sides. A Dominic Calvert-Lewin penalty just before halftime was the only scoring in the game, with both sides clattering the woodwork as well. The Blues held on well late on despite the visitors throwing everything forward to get the equalizer.
However, with just a few minutes to go in the game the Toffees were hit by a devastating blow for captain for the day James Tarkowski who got into a knee-on-knee collision with striker Viktor Gyokeres. Iron man Tarkowski, who was the only outfield player in the Premier League last season to play every minute of every game, stayed down after the impact, rolling around and clutching his left knee. Evertonians’ hearts remained in their mouths as he received extended medical attention before walking off under his own steam and straight down the tunnel to the dressing room.
With the departures of Yerry Mina and Conor Coady, and Mason Holgate out of favour and likely gone soon, the Blues are pretty thin in the centrehalf corps with Michael Keane, Jarrad Branthwaite and Ben Godfrey the only likely options available to Sean Dyche. The pre-season so far has been all about finding the best partner for Tarkowski, but we are seven days away from seeing two of Keane, Branthwaite and Godfrey against Fulham, who could have talismanic striker Aleksandar Mitrovic lining up.
Sean Dyche is hopeful the injury that forced James Tarkowski off against Sporting is 'just a knock', and the Club were 'being ultra careful' ahead of next weekend's opener. Summer signing Arnaut Danjuma missed the match with a minor knock, and he could 'be back on grass' from…— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) August 5, 2023
After the game Dyche had somewhat encouraging news regarding the 30-year-old, saying he was taken off with an abundance of caution. Having the former Burnley player would be a huge boost for the Blues next weekend.
Latest signing Arnaut Danjuma missed the game after picking up a minor knock at Finch Farm on Thursday, but the word from the manager is that he could be back in training this coming week, and that would make him available for next Saturday.
The new was not so good for key wide man Dwight McNeil. He left the friendly last weekend against Stoke City after a heavy challenge from behind, and is yet to train this week. Dyche added that he would be out for several weeks, which could put into jeopardy the transfer out of Demarai Gray.
Journalist Paul Joyce had more bad news though, adding that Dyche had said that no new signings were imminent after we’d been hearing that Youssef Chermiti was close to sealing a switch to Merseyside. One would safely assume that at this point he would not be available for selection on Saturday against Fulham .