In a crazy transfer market, backed by the Everton board, Ronald Koeman has brought in an arsenal of summer signings that saw Everton spend a net amount of £142.38m. It is a statement of ambition from the Merseyside club.
The board expects the team now to challenge the ‘top six’ of the English Premier League; to fight for a European spot this time. Seven matches into the season and Everton are languishing at the bottom half of the table with seven points from as many games.
In a summer that promised so much with the return of their boyhood star Wayne Rooney, things have gone horribly wrong. They have just collected a grand total of one point from their four big matches against Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, with the 1-1 draw at the Etihad the only positive result. While the results itself do not create many issues, it is the spineless nature of these defeats that have left the Everton fans devastated.
The Toffees have shipped in 9 goals in their three matches against Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham without reply. Following their latest defeat against Burnley this weekend, Everton are just standing just two points and two places off the relegation zone.
Their Thursday night outings in the Europa League has been in sync with their disappointing domestic form with Koeman’s side claiming one point in two matches which included a 2-2 draw against Apollon Limassol at Goodison Park and a 3-0 defeat to Atalanta.
The international break gave Koeman some much needed time to reconsider his squad and he will look to bounce back from the 1-0 defeat to Burnley at the Goodison Park when they play Brighton and Hove Albion.
The Everton squad hosts a team of players of great calibre. The squad has a good mixture of youth and experience. The likes of Rooney, Sigurosson, Schneiderlin, Coleman, Baines, Williams have a collective experience of 1000 Premier League games and have always maintained a top level of football whichever club they have played for.
Add to the mix the youthful exuberance in the likes of Pickford, Barkley, Ramirez, Klaassen, Keane, Calvert-Lewin and Everton have few of the brightest prospects of European football at the club. The likes of Bolasie, Mirallas and Niasse also play for the Everton giving them plenty of cover in their attacking third.
Here is how they are likely to line-up for the fixture with 4-3-3:
Jordan Pickford in goal is likely to be the logical choice. Leighton Baines will be covering the left-back position with the experienced Ashley Williams alongside Michael Keane, Mason Holgate is expected to start at right-back.
Morgan Schneiderlin will play at the centre of the middle three with Davy Klaassen to his left and the dynamic Idrissa Gueye to his right.
The attacking trio is likely to consider of Oumar Niasse, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Gylfi Sigurðsson with Wayne Rooney coming off the bench. This is how they might line up: