Marco Silva is seeing further progress on getting his formerly injured players closer to first-team action with the news that four of them came through a practice match at Finch Farm this past week, seemingly unscathed.
The international breaks can come as unwanted interruptions to the Premier League season but, as Everton's boss is finding, they can have their benefits in allowing extra time for members of the squad to build up their fitness. That is why Silva arranged a 60-minute, behind-closed-doors game with exactly that in mind.
Yerry Mina (foot), Andre Gomes (hamstring), James McCarthy (broken leg), Seamus Coleman (foot) and Beni Baningime (ankle) all reportedly took part in the match, furthering the possibility that all five could be passed medically fit for the visit of Crystal Palace next weekend.
It's unlikely that any of them would be drafted straight into the starting XI but there is a strong case for all four of the senior players being genuine contenders once they are deemed fully match fit.
It's a big boost at a time when the revolution under Silva and Director of Football, Marcel Brands, appears to be starting to take shape following the 2-1 victory at Leicester last Saturday. The Blues are priced at around 11/2 in the “betting without the big six” market and with indications that, at the least, reclaiming the mantle of “best of the rest” could be possible, there might be plenty of punters willing to use this bet365 bonus code to back them if they can maintain their upward trajectory over the coming weeks.
The win at the King Power Stadium was Everton's fourth away game of the season and there was an argument to be made to varying degrees in each case that Silva's side deserved to win based on their overall performance.
Phil Jagielka's red card at Wolves and the free-kick goal that came as a direct result decisively altered the direction of that game, making it that much more difficult for the Blues to defend the lead they would reclaim in the second half.
They tossed away a two-goal advantage at Bournemouth and were good value for a lead at Arsenal that never came, denied as they were by some indecisive finishing and a man-of-the-match display from Petr Cech.
The Leicester win, albeit secured with a world-class strike by Gyfli Sigurdsson after the Foxes had gone down to 10 men, felt like a significant milestone in Silva's nascent tenure, however, and it's conceivable that three positions in the team could be strengthened further by the return to fitness of the afore-mentioned players.
Two of them, Mina and Gomes, have yet to kick a ball in anger for their new club after signing for Everton in August and they are untested in England but their respective pedigrees offer the potential of being hugely valuable members of the side. Mina will bring aerial prowess at set-pieces and, it is hoped, a generally commanding presence in the back four while Gomes promises to add some guile and creativity in central midfield to compliment Idrissa Gueye's tenacity.
McCarthy and Coleman, meanwhile, are veterans of the Goodison scene, with the latter an automatic choice at right-back when fit and the former offering a bit more power and defensive-midfield resilience than can Tom Davies and Morgan Schneiderlin when required.
Assuming none of them suffer relapses, their availability will come at an important time given the announcement of further kick-off changes due to Sky Sports broadcasting that mean Everton will play their four Festive fixtures in the most compressed timeframe of all 20 Premier League clubs.
It means that, in addition to upcoming tests against Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and the first Merseyside derby of the campaign between now and mid-December, a Christmas schedule that is already historically hectic will be especially demanding and will require Silva to draw on the depth of his squad to steer the Blues into the New Year.
Reader Comments (36)
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1 Posted 14/10/2018 at 07:43:34
2 Posted 14/10/2018 at 08:23:03
3 Posted 14/10/2018 at 08:39:18
I love Seamus as much as the next toffee but his form since returning from injury has been underwhelming (understandably) and Jonjoe Kenny seems to be doing a lot of good things. Think Seamus is my pick but I'd see it as a battle.
4 Posted 14/10/2018 at 09:00:04
The signs of improvement are obvious. Silva, in a very short period, has us playing quicker, fast one- and two-touch passing football. When the signings bed in and the injury list clears, it can only get better.
While not writing this season off, next season is the big one for me. Players out and players in will see us challenge top six in my opinion.
5 Posted 14/10/2018 at 09:17:39
6 Posted 14/10/2018 at 09:26:18
It will be good to have Seamus back, but it is Gomes that intrigues me most: Can he upgrade our midfield? As an option ahead of Schneiderlin and Davies?
McCarthy is worth having around to give Gueye a break.
I'm not sure if this team can find the consistency to challenge the top six this season, but I'm enjoying the football.
7 Posted 14/10/2018 at 10:10:25
8 Posted 14/10/2018 at 10:34:04
9 Posted 14/10/2018 at 10:37:36
If everyone is fit, we have a strong squad;
Coleman - Keane - Zouma - Digne
Gomes - Gana
Walcott - Sigurdsson - Bernard
Subs: Stekelenburg, Mina, Baines, McCarthy, Lookman, Tosun, Calvert-Lewin
Back-uo: Jagielka, Holgate, Kenny, Davies, Schneiderlin, Dowell, Niasse
Really good squad, and in a good place for the future if we can keep Zouma and Gomes (if he performs).
10 Posted 14/10/2018 at 10:41:42
11 Posted 14/10/2018 at 11:23:50
Fitness, as ever, is critical. Especially with key players like Richie, Bernie and Siggy.
I think Kenny has performed admirably, save for when he was left exposed against Leicester. Silva said he wanted competition and he's certainly got this in a number of positions including right-back.
I think everyone knows what to expect from Mina. I think he will be an improvement on Zouma, particularly in the opposition box. Although fair play to him. He's put in some great performances and steadied the ship. But let's not forget – it's his stated intention to return to Chelsea.
I think the player that intrigues me the most is Gomes. Another Arteta? Undoubtedly gifted and able to create many chances. I wonder about his defensive qualities?
I'm sure we will find out soon enough. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the games and looking forward to each match. And the future looks bright.
12 Posted 14/10/2018 at 11:32:17
13 Posted 14/10/2018 at 12:49:58
All teams get injuries and suspensions, this season we will cope with it. When other teams are weaker and under pressure with European fixtures, we can take advantage. Starting now and through November, December and January, we can make gains and a statement of intent.
I'm convinced with our quality and squad we can compete far better than recent seasons with any of the top 6. Bring it on!
14 Posted 14/10/2018 at 12:56:42
Jonjoe Kenny has developed really well and, in particular, his positioning when making aerial challenges. Given his height, I always thought that to be a problem. Well done to him and the staff for improving. The quality of his passing and crossing remains patchy, however, and, as a consequence, Coleman gets my nod. When fit, Coleman has greater pace and balance on the attack.
Very early days but assuming Richarlison can play as a central striker is precipitate. Admittedly, Morgan's repeated assaults on him arguably won us the match, and he showed great mobility across their back four but playing him with his back to goal is asking him to run before he can walk. He deserves a full season getting the ball with all the play to his right, able to go at pace as he chooses.
At the minute, I think the best option is to persist with Tosun. With Bernard in a position to see and encourage his runs in the box, he'll score goals.
15 Posted 14/10/2018 at 13:23:41
The chance to bring in Gomes, maybe for Davies, would give our midfield another dimension. With a dynamic front 3 of Bernard, Richarlison, Walcott/Lookman, somebody creative in the middle could really lift us.
Mina for Keane would give us a centre-half partnership that no striker will look forward to, Zouma and Mina should win everything in the air, and also provide a threat from set-pieces, especially with Sigurdsson providing the crosses.
McCarthy also could provide energy to defensive midfield, especially in games against the top-5/6, where the game is often decided in midfield. A fully-fit (if possible) McCarthy alongside Gueye would certainly be full energy.
Baningime looked a good player also when given a chance, and hope he gets some minutes on the pitch.
We have a full squad, and options all over the pitch for the first time in my memory. Come February, if they have the desired impact, we could well be set for an exciting end of the season.
16 Posted 14/10/2018 at 13:56:34
Like many have mentioned, I can't wait to see Gomes as our midfield does need to be more mobile and link play up better. Let's just hope and pray that he gives us that much-needed boost.
17 Posted 14/10/2018 at 14:25:40
I can't recall any options to buy when we got him on loan; does anyone know if this is the case?
In the two years he played for Barcelona, he played a total of 78 games, so clearly they must rate him quite highly. He cost Barcelona €35M, so hopefully a figure well within our reach should Barca decide to let him go. Only 25 years old as well, so still plenty of years ahead of him.
18 Posted 14/10/2018 at 14:50:23
Gomes remains an enigma, a hot and cold type (mainly cold in Barcelona) and I think Tom Davies has been better than some give him credit for.
For me, the team that beat Leicester on their patch is the first team till one of them underperforms or another shows something that demands their inclusion.
19 Posted 14/10/2018 at 15:41:28
20 Posted 14/10/2018 at 16:04:39
I love to see Richarlison smash 'em in but was hugely disappointed to see his numerous shots all fielded a little too easily by Petr Cech when more invention and guile should have given us the edge in that game at The Emirates.
And I'm concerned that he is going to be heavily targeted — although that worked to our advantage in the end at Leicester. But all it needs is for Mourinho to come out ahead of the match at Old Trafford and say:
"They have this young Brazilian boy and I have seen how he falls over a little much. The referees they are buying this too much, and for me, yes, it is a concern."
It'll be Wenger and Johnson all over again!
Walcott will score a few but miss a whole lot more... Tosun has been getting the service but delivering only a 2-yard doozy... and Calvert-Lewin? Well... no. He can't hit the ball with any authority and, as a striker, that really is a useless non-skill.
Hopefully the brilliant trickery of Bernard, coupled with some more creativity from midfield, and a few (exceedingly rare) thunderbolts from Sigurdsson will create the momentum we need in attack, but 13 goals in 8 games is well below the kind of return we need.
21 Posted 14/10/2018 at 16:17:49
Er... doesn't that rather show up our poor record from set-pieces?
Perhaps that will get better with Mina on the field but Sigurdsson's deliveries range for poor to okay... I think they need to be brilliant to beat current Premier League defences.
Lots of room for improvement!
22 Posted 14/10/2018 at 16:25:28
Of course this is all so dependent on how he performs, I think many of us have pinned hopes on him being our saviour in that department, which apart from the striker situation, is definitely in need of improvement and consistency.
It's always a double-edged sword having said that; if he plays really well, Barca will either want him back, or demand top dollar for him.
23 Posted 14/10/2018 at 16:36:11
24 Posted 14/10/2018 at 16:46:43
Well, there may not be an "option to buy" in the loan deal per se, but Barca won't want him back. He's been tried, discarded and replaced (Arthur and Vidal) and I'm pretty sure we can buy him if we want him without spending top dollar.
I've said this before... he will not be effective in the holding midfield role. His passing and dribbling are sublime, but he's a hack job defensively. At both Barca and Valencia, he collected more yellow cards than goals and assists combined.
He may wind up being cover for Sigurdsson (which we need) rather than a starter ahead of Davies, Gana or Schneiderlin. We'll see.
25 Posted 14/10/2018 at 17:08:45
26 Posted 14/10/2018 at 18:40:06
27 Posted 14/10/2018 at 18:52:39
28 Posted 14/10/2018 at 18:57:06
29 Posted 14/10/2018 at 19:44:51
You cannot deny that he is consistent! :-)
30 Posted 14/10/2018 at 20:54:55
31 Posted 14/10/2018 at 21:57:13
32 Posted 14/10/2018 at 22:52:32
The interesting one is Zouma. He clearly wants to make it at Chelsea – he came out and said as much at the start of the season. But he's been loaned out two straight seasons now, and if he isn't in Sarri's plans, he may find himself at a career crossroads.
33 Posted 15/10/2018 at 07:40:33
In relation to James McCarthy, it's possible that the long lay off will have allowed him to recover from all of the other niggling injuries and get back to his best form. We definitely need his steely presence in midfield.
Regarding Kenny v Coleman, Jonjoe hasn't shown enough for me,to keep Seamus out. His tendency to jump into the tackle and take the dummy has seen him being left on his behind, while his opponent heads for goal. This is a part of his game that he needs to work on.
34 Posted 15/10/2018 at 09:36:26
Jonjoe vs Seamus
Mina vs Keane or Zouma
Richarlison vs Calvert-Lewin or Tosun
Gomes vs Davies
I firmly believe If a side is winning, don't change it. It works!
Injuries, dips in form will happen; then it's time to make alterations.
35 Posted 15/10/2018 at 09:54:51
I really like to do my Everton British-Irish XI vs Rest of the World XI:
Coleman Keane Holgate Baines
Lookman Calvert-Lewin Walcott
Mina Zouma Digne
Gueye Gomes Baningime
Bernard Tosun Richarlison
3-1 for the foreigners, I would say! With Pickford with a couple of worldies to keep the scoreline down.
36 Posted 16/10/2018 at 03:08:50
Kenny Keane Holgate Baines
Walcott Calvert-Lewin Lookman
Coleman Mina Zouma Digne
Bernard Tosun Richarlison
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