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Everton vs Aston Villa Predicted Line-Up: Doucoure to Return?

How will Everton line up for the first league game in 2024?

Everton FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images

It’s fair to say 2023 was a challenging year for Everton. But glimmers of hope and a potential future on the rise started to emerge towards the end of the year.

So, can Everton get off to a winning start in 2024, as high-flying Aston Villa visit Goodison Park? And, more importantly, how will Mr Dyche line up the Mighty Blues of Everton?

Who’s Out?

The good news is that Sean Dyche is “hopeful” Abdoulaye Doucoure will be available for this one. The Blues sorely missed him in the final fixtures of the year and he’s undoubtedly a key part of this Everton team.

Dwight McNeil, however, won’t be available after being stretchered off against Palace. Fortunately, the injury isn’t as bad as first feared and he should be available for the replay in midweek.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin is also available after his outrageous VAR-induced red card was rescinded. Idrissa Gueye won’t be available again this month after linking up with Senegal to play in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Ashley Young has resumed some full training, but he seems unlikely to be ready for this game. Dele still a long way off returning.

EVERTON SQUAD AVAILABLE VS VILLA

Goalkeepers: Pickford, Virginia, Lonergan,

Defenders: Keane, Godfrey, Branthwaite, Tarkowski, Mykolenko, Coleman, Patterson, Young (DOUBT)

Midfielders: Doucoure (DOUBT), Onana, Gueye (International Duty), Garner, Onyango, Gomes, Dele (INJURED)

Wingers: McNeil (INJURED), Danjuma, Dobbin, Harrison

Attackers: Calvert-Lewin, Beto, Chermiti

Tactics and Formation

Everton returned to a bit of form against Palace in the cup, so expect a similar set up to that here.

Jordan Pickford will of course return in goal, but the back four of Seamus Coleman, James Tarkowski, Jared Branthwaite and Vitaliy Mykolenko will stay the same.

If Doucoure is fit enough, he should bolster Everton’s midfield back to full strength just in front of James Garner and Amadou Onana. Arnaut Danjuma and Jack Harrison will probably line up on the wings.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin up front most likely, although Beto could come in to start in the cup in midweek.

Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)

Jordan Pickford – 9/10

Seamus Coleman – 8/10

James Tarkowski – 9/10

Jarrad Branthwaite – 9/10

Vitaliy Mykolenko – 9/10

Amadou Onana - 9/10

James Garner – 9/10

Abdoulaye Doucoure – 6/10

Arnaut Danjuma – 7/10

Jack Harrison – 9/10

Dominic Calvert-Lewin – 7/10

Bench

Joao Virginia

Michael Keane

Ben Godfrey

Nathan Patterson

Mackenzie Hunt

Andre Gomes

Lewin Dobbin

Beto

Youssef Chermiti