28 December 2020 14:46
Our Everton email brings the latest and best Blues news straight to you Sign up now Thank you for subscribing We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice Invalid Email 'Bernard gets a start in absence of Richarlison' Adam Jones: Two games in three days is not ideal at the best of times, never mind in the middle of a busy festive period. The temptation will be to rest players of course to make sure they don't pick up any injuries, but that perhaps shouldn't happen from the start of this one. Tom Davies earned his place in the side with his display against Sheffield United, while Abdoulaye Doucoure was once again brilliant alongside him. Richarlison will still be missing, but Bernard looked more promising from the bench on Saturday than Anthony Gordon did from the start. Aside from that, rest players if possible in the second half, but not from the start.
Chris Beesley: A third fixture in five days and just 48 hours since the hard-fought 1-0 victory at Sheffield United could force Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti into some big selection calls against Manchester City. Perhaps the biggest decision of them all concerns the Blues top scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Ancelotti has hinted that his number 9 might need to be rested at some point over the busy festive period and as much as you'd be at pains to leave out your main goal threat against Pep Guardiola's side under normal circumstances, when else are you going to do it? Ever since Calvert-Lewin was taken off at half-time in the Carabao Cup third round tie at Fleetwood Town over three months ago, the only respite he's received are a couple of 89th minute substitutions against Leicester City and Arsenal. When you consider that he led the line on his own for the entire matches against Manchester United and Sheffield United, perhaps this is the time to hand him a breather?
Although he almost scored a spectacular goal against his former club at Bramall Lane, ultimately with the effort against Arsenal going down as a Rob Holding 'oggy', 14-goal Calvert-Lewin has now gone five games without scoring since he last found the net at Burnley - something of a drought by his own high standards this term. Maybe the time has come to give him the night off so he's back firing on all cylinders for the New Year's Day visit of David Moyes' West Ham United to Goodison - a side Calvert-Lewin netted a hat-trick against in the Carabao Cup earlier this season. I'd also begrudgingly rest both Yerry Mina and Abdoulaye Doucoure considering the amount of minutes they've played lately to keep them fresh for the Hammers. My team (4-3-3): Pickford; Coleman, Holgate, Keane, Godfrey; Davies, Gomes, Sigurdsson; Iwobi, Bernard, Tosun. Victory over Manchester City, who have not always found Goodison Park a happy hunting ground in recent years, would really make the rest of the Premier League sit up and take notice. The Boxing Day win at Sheffield United moved the Blues back up to second in the table but the club's current injury list means Carlo Ancelotti is unlikely to be rotate as much as he might have liked for another big game just 48 hours later. Jordan Pickford should continue in goal and, while there might be a temptation to restore captain Seamus Coleman at right back, the extra pace of Mason Holgate may prove vital so the same back four who kept a clean sheet at Brammall Lane continue with Ben Godfrey given license to continue his blockbusting charges forward down the left and Yerry Mina and Michael Keane shoring up the centre of defence. Gylfi Sigurdsson is enjoying arguably the best run of form of his Everton career to date and has to continue in midfield alongside the indefatigable Abdoulaye Doucoure and, while Andre Gomes had an encouraging substitute's cameo in Sheffield, Tom Davies's man of the match performance means he keeps his place in midfield with James Rodriguez and Allan still unavailable. Striking options are limited due to Richarlison's continued absence because of concussion protocols so Calvert-Lewin continues in the central role with Alex Iwobi providing ammunition from the right and Bernard coming in on the left to replace Anthony Gordon as a reward for his role in the late Boxing Day winner. Sign up to our free EFC email newsletter Get all the latest reaction to the match, Carlo Ancelotti's next move and more. Connor O'Neill: Normally a third fixture in five days would force Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti into some big selection calls. Jordan Pickford will no doubt start in goal, while the back four that started against Sheffield United on Boxing night should once again start here. Tom Davies should retain his place in the starting line-up at his impressive performance against the Blades, with Abdoulaye Doucoure and Gylfi Sigurdsson alongside him. While out wide, Bernard, one imagines, will be given the nod over Anthony Gordon, with Alex Iwobi starting on the other flank. And while Dominic Calvert-Lewin might need to be rested at some point over the busy festive period, tonight is not the night for him to miss out. My team (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Holgate, Mina, Keane, Godfrey; Doucoure, Davies; Iwobi, Sigurdsson, Bernard; Calvert-Lewin. Exactly 48 hours after Everton lined-up against Sheffield United, the Blues are back in action once again with Manchester City the visitors to Goodison Park. However, after barely resting any players for the trip to Bramall Lane, Carlo Ancelotti has left himself some difficult decisions against a City side that's starting to find its form. There's no known changes in availability for this tie, meaning Lucas Digne, Fabian Delph, Allan and James Rodriguez will all miss out, while Richarlison will also probably be ruled out due to a concussion picked up against United. If Nkounkou was going to provide Godfrey with a break, it would have surely been against the Blades. Given Yerry Mina's injury record and City's lack of height, Mason Holgate will probably be moved to centre-back for this one. Another player that could do with a rest, but there's just no real options to replace him. Been rotating with Tom Davies for the past few games, so it should be Gomes' turn here. Again, could do with a break, but not a lot of options, unless Carlo springs a surprise and keeps Gordon in the team. Dominic Calvert-Lewin – 6/10 See: Godfrey, Doucoure, Iwobi, Sigurdsson. Jarrad Branthwaite – Could also be a chance for Ellis Simms considering the Blues will probably have three other defenders on the bench.