Everton return to Premier League action with a home game against Cardiff this weekend and they have been bolstered by the fitness of Gylfi Sigurdsson and André Gomes.
The duo were doubts for this weekend after picking up knocks in the draw at Chelsea a fortnight ago, with Sigurdsson a particular concern after he left Stamford Bridge wearing a protective boot and missed Iceland's fixtures over the international break.
The midfielder was the victim of a terrible tackle from Jorginho that only merited a yellow card in the eyes of referee Kevin Friend and it looked initially as though he would need to come off straight away.
Sigurdsson ended up playing deep into the second half before hobbling off to be replaced by Phil Jagielka but he has trained this week and is available to face Cardiff.
Gomes, meanwhile, collided with the advertising boards in the same game and took a while to begin moving freely again. He, too, joined the first team in training this week and will be in the squad for this weekend.
"We had some worries during the week about Gylfi but he's okay and that's good," Silva said of the duo. "They are available for selection this weekend."
They will be joined by Richarlison who was also forced off at Stamford Bridge but he shook off a minor groin strain in time to play for Brazil and scored the winner against Cameroon in Milton Keynes.
The positive injury news means that Marco Silva is in a position to name an unchanged lineup if he so chooses but it won't be an easy decision, particularly when it comes to central defence.
Kurt Zouma is eligible again after missing the goalless draw against his parent club but he was in fine form alongside Michael Keane prior to Yerry Mina's recovery from a foot injury.
Mina played in Zouma's stead last time out but made a strong case of his own to remain in the side. Silva has experimented with a three-man central defence before and has intimated that he would not be averse to using it at Everton but it remains to be seen whether he would adopt that approach at home in a match his side would be expected to win.
Elsewhere in the side, Ademola Lookman gave his manager something to think about with an enterprising cameo off the bench at Chelsea and he is pushing both Theo Walcott and Bernard for a place in the starting XI.
Neither winger is enjoying their best form at the moment but Silva has shown a willingness to make as few changes to his team as possible in recent weeks and that could be the case again this time around.
"If you have competition in your squad, you have a good headache to decide what will be the best eleven," Silva said in his pre-match press conference. "I have that at this moment because they are all available which is a good sign for us as well.
Cardiff are come to Goodison Park on the back of only their second win of the season, a 2-1 triumph over Brighton that was secured by Sol Bamba's last-minute goal. They sit in the relegation zone below Southampton on goal difference but have been showing signs that they are getting to grips with life on their return to the top flight.
Midfielder Aron Gunnarsson said: "The first few games we were learning, just to see what the league was about.
"I feel like we are growing into the league. It's coming and I feel like we are progressing as a team and definitely the Fulham and Brighton games gave us confidence going forward."
Despite being praised in the press recently for an expansive style of football under Neil Warnock, the Bluebirds are likely to come to Merseyside looking to keep things tight and to make things as difficult for their hosts as possible.
Warnock has identified Richarlison as a key threat and will, no doubt, take measures to nullify his influence but that will hopefully just open up opportunities for other members of the Everton attack.
Without wanting any over-confidence or cockiness to enter the equation, Everton must be looking at this as a game they should be winning. It would represent a fourth straight home victory and help keep them in touch with the top six ahead of the visit to Anfield looming next Sunday.
Kick-off: 3pm, Saturday 24 November, 2018
Referee: Paul Tierney
Last Time: Everton 2 - 1 Cardiff
Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne, Gueye, Gomes, Sigurdsson, Bernard, Walcott, Richarlison
Reader Comments (64)
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1 Posted 23/11/2018 at 19:47:33
2 Posted 23/11/2018 at 19:48:13
3 Posted 23/11/2018 at 19:50:56
5 Posted 23/11/2018 at 20:03:23
6 Posted 23/11/2018 at 20:19:23
7 Posted 23/11/2018 at 20:28:29
Mina, Keane, Zouma
Coleman, Gomes, Gana, Digne
Walcott or Lookman, Richarlison, Sigurdsson.
Bench: Stekelenburg, Baines, Bernard, Davies, Tosun, Jagielka, Walcott or Lookman — depending on who gets the nod.
8 Posted 23/11/2018 at 20:29:23
9 Posted 23/11/2018 at 20:34:19
Can't see them either taking anything for granted tomorrow, after having underperformed in games at home against Huddersfield and West Ham not too long ago. I just hope that Cardiff don't resort to kicking lumps out of our players.
Seems ages since the last game, so really looking forward to seeing our boys in action again.
10 Posted 23/11/2018 at 20:41:55
If so, I can see a good hiding on the cards for Little Old Cardiff. and a hat-trick for Richarlison.
If not, 1-1. Please let it be the former!!
11 Posted 23/11/2018 at 21:26:35
12 Posted 23/11/2018 at 21:27:34
If we can get an early goal, I think we could be in for a few goals, but I'll take a win and no injuries bearing the next few games.
13 Posted 23/11/2018 at 21:28:12
On the squad. Zouma made it clear he wanted to return to Chelski. As much as I'd like him to stay – long live Mina.
I'd go with Frank's pick (#7).
14 Posted 23/11/2018 at 21:44:57
15 Posted 23/11/2018 at 22:32:19
Mina, Keane, Zouma
Coleman, Gomes, Gana, Digne
Walcott or Lookman etc (Whoever's in form), Richarlson
16 Posted 23/11/2018 at 22:55:26
I am sure Seamus has a lot of time for him also.
Having said that I hope we batter them.
Up the Blues.
17 Posted 24/11/2018 at 00:03:35
18 Posted 24/11/2018 at 00:12:13
Start Walcott but sub earlier if it's not working and let Lookman loose.
19 Posted 24/11/2018 at 00:27:47
20 Posted 24/11/2018 at 01:03:29
It will be more interesting to see what Silva does on the wings. I fully expect Richarlison to play up top but I think it wastes him against teams that sit deep.
Then there's Bernard, Walcott and Lookman... good to see quality competition for places.
21 Posted 24/11/2018 at 01:17:25
22 Posted 24/11/2018 at 02:13:15
Kev Jones @17, have you been on the Vera Lynn?
23 Posted 24/11/2018 at 06:18:15
A formation tried, failed and quickly abandoned by 99% of clubs around the world. You get nothing more going forward from your full-backs and they chase back less. The 3 centrebacks get dragged all over the place and the oppositions wingers run riot.
God, I was excited about the game when I came on here. Now Ive got steam coming out my ears.
24 Posted 24/11/2018 at 07:41:39
I doubt Silva will change much, but Id want Calvert-Lewin leading the line so Richarlison can play in a freer role. I also think this is the game to start Lookman. Bernard and Walcott would drop to the bench to accommodate this.
25 Posted 24/11/2018 at 07:59:05
26 Posted 24/11/2018 at 08:02:46
Too open, this Everton team, it's getting better, but let's not kid ourselves that unless we defend from the front, like we did at Chelsea, then – because of the positions our fullbacks take up – the two men in the middle of our defence can become really exposed.
I keep saying I'm intrigued but, with the players we have now got, I just have a feeling this change in formation could really help this team progress. But, either way, I'm just really happy to be going to Goodison again, which is more than enough for me after the last four seasons of pure exasperation and unadulterated shite.
27 Posted 24/11/2018 at 08:02:58
I know there was some bellend on here a few weeks ago criticising him and since then there hasn't been any, but George, if you read this, please keep them coming? To me, I look forward to your wonderful, epic, lyrical posts as much as I await the first drum roll of Z-Cars.
28 Posted 24/11/2018 at 08:08:15
29 Posted 24/11/2018 at 08:16:56
30 Posted 24/11/2018 at 08:42:41
I am that bellend.
Sorry, I didn't like them but it was never my intention to offend George or to discourage him from posting.
If you're around, George, ignore me – I'm a miserable twat. Give the people what they want!
31 Posted 24/11/2018 at 08:52:29
As for the game, it has been international week which always seems to be disruptive.
I will take a scrappy 1-0.
A win and keeping all players fit is the key. Richarlison and Sigurdsson, our two form attackers, have come in for treatment.
32 Posted 24/11/2018 at 08:55:42
So George, there you go, keep em coming! 👍
33 Posted 24/11/2018 at 09:00:06
I don't feel like risking our best players in a physical battle pre-derby but pragmatically we need these 3 points.
34 Posted 24/11/2018 at 09:01:44
As for Cardiff, I hope they stay up as I really like Mr Warnock, a hard-working no-nonsense journeyman. A Manager who survives on scraps and likes a few too! When he retires, I wish him all the best driving his tractor; however, his team today could get a thumping.
35 Posted 24/11/2018 at 09:16:17
Laurie #16: "Being a bit of a nutter myself...".
Phil #30: "I am that bellend".
We've gone all confessional! I have to admit, though, I've never been to confession.
36 Posted 24/11/2018 at 10:03:02
So my non posting has more to do with my health. I am going to The Dark House today and onto the match after missing several games this year due to cancer treatment and latterly serious heart surgery from which I am now recovering and with Doctors advice will step out to Goodison to see the Mighty Blues ( everything can be seen as cliche or if seriously intended is quite lovely and sincere - - depends on your own frame of mind).
This post - - like all my other posts - - is mainly light and lyrical and slightly tongue in cheek - - but with a smattering of goodwill and cosmic grooves.
I was in hospital - - recovering from a serious operation with tubes and pipes shoved everywhere - - when we beat Leicester away and I managed to get the Ward Staff to let me watch MOTD on the Sunday morning from my Bed. The last few matches have been viewed from my settee turned bed at home. I can barely tell you how delighted I am to return to "Live" football today - - and to see my friends and Fellow Blues. As I said some sayings or words can sound like cliches but so what - - I have a saying to myself - - "never take medicine for other people's illness's" - - I have missed the game - - watching it from my settee with a cup of tea and in the warmth of my house was wonderful - - seeing replays of incidents - - close ups of players and interviews - - - all seemed good and very comfortable - - BUT - - as some replacement for actually going to the game - - in the cold - - wrapped up - - NEVER - - there is for me no comparison - - the whole going to the game for me included/includes sitting a reading TW in the morning, music in the background (Hyndford Street in the background just now), walking past my old neighbourhoods, memories being stirred, thoughts and dreams, reading some poetry ( I often stick a book of poetry in my pocket to read on the bus under the Mersey), seeing and talking with friends in TDH - - maybe cliches but for me they carry me and lift me into the very magical world that I want to live in - - -
"Don't it always seem to go,
That you don't know what you've got
Til its gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot"
I do not wish upon anyone missing the match for the reasons I did - - within the last 7 or 8 months Doctor have mentioned "death " to me twice - - laying in bed for weeks on end - - I really know who and what I missed - - including you Phil - - really - - so today I am off out - - well wrapped up - - thermals and long johns - - - to the game - - to TDH - - for me The Pub with no beer from now on - - - It was my birthday on Tuesday - -69 - - among many presents I got the Compete Works of Robert Frost - - the memory of our parlour in Smith Street - - listening to The Paul Simon Songbook on vinyl (still got it) on my little Blue Dansette -- "and for each your Emily Dickinson and I my Robert Frost" - - - so here's a lovely little cliche - -
" I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
I think ( do that a lot - - think) - - that's enough for today - - but I sincerely pass on my good wishes and cosmic grooves to you all:
"Well I've been too long in this storm
I feel so sad and forlorn
And perhaps I'm counting on you
See me through (yeah)"
One further look over The River from my window and then off to get ready for my first day out in many many months and how right it is that it's to Goodison.
Best wishes Phil - - cosmic grooves to you all - - from New Brighton - - George
37 Posted 24/11/2018 at 10:16:02
This will be a tough game. Despite a couple of away defeats, our progress has been on a steady upward trajectory over the past couple of months, let's keep that going into next week.
I feel sure Mina will play, I hope he can improve our aerial ability at both ends of the pitch. Defensive stability and a bit more steadiness in front of goal and we have the makings of a team.
38 Posted 24/11/2018 at 10:17:51
39 Posted 24/11/2018 at 10:18:32
40 Posted 24/11/2018 at 10:21:23
41 Posted 24/11/2018 at 10:22:01
42 Posted 24/11/2018 at 10:37:03
Having said that, I would pick Mina over Zouma for his goal scoring ability plus his none-too-bad performance against Chelsea. For me, I would change Lookman for Walcott.
43 Posted 24/11/2018 at 10:38:51
44 Posted 24/11/2018 at 10:42:15
C'mon, Blues — let's roar our way to Bramley-Moore.
45 Posted 24/11/2018 at 10:48:37
I also know I am not the only one, mate, who missed your much welcome Matchday posts, which are not only a fillip when skies are grey, but also enthuse a ray of hope, when we are facing a formidable opponent.
For those of us too, George, who are roughly the same age, it is a trip down 'Memory Lane' and many of the verses you include, bring recollections flooding back. Although nostalgia is not what it used to be! (lol)
I sincerely hope your visit to the 'Old Lady' today brings joy to your heart, and to others too.
I hope I am not tempting providence here but our improvement since Marco Silva and Marcel Brands were appointed, is there in abundance, although we are not the finished article, we are progressing and last week but one's performance against Chelsea, was an indication of how far we have come in a relatively short time.
46 Posted 24/11/2018 at 10:55:39
The blues will bloom again
And George's heart will leap
In that old dark room again
47 Posted 24/11/2018 at 11:07:46
I, and I'm sure Mike too, can fully understand the sheer joy of today and being able to "go the game" again. My mum was forever saying "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" and it's true, mate.
She also instilled in me a remarkable positive attitude which helped see me through my own dark days and you'd have to be blind or daft not to see your own positivity shining through on here. So enjoy today, mate, and enjoy many more days like it.
And at the end of the day, as a particularly dark humoured mate of mine reminded me many times during my dark times, "Death's a doddle."
48 Posted 24/11/2018 at 11:08:11
I'm not worried about going to Mordor either – we may not win that one but I'm sure we'll give a good account of ourselves.
49 Posted 24/11/2018 at 11:11:53
50 Posted 24/11/2018 at 11:28:49
As for today, it's Mina and Lookman for me with Walcott on the bench. I'm tempted to go for Calvert-Lewin with Richarlison wide left after them both scoring in the week. If we're on it, we will win by two or three; if we're complacent, Warnock will get a point. This is our best team and squad for an awful long time and we can go to the Meccano House next week with confidence.
51 Posted 24/11/2018 at 11:32:41
I'm sure you will be fine. You've got a great big Evertonian heart that will help you win.
52 Posted 24/11/2018 at 11:38:17
I am always more apprehensive when we play a team towards the bottom of the league; they never turn out as easy as some expect. This season, we struggled to create an opening against Huddersfield and only ended up from a game we expected 3 points. Then Crystal Palace, where we only scored in the last 5 minutes to win the game after they had missed a penalty.
Having said that, this team is growing in confidence and an early goal wouldn't go amiss. Good news to have Sigurdsson and Gomes fit and also Lookman who was sent home from the England Under-21 camp at the weekend with a minor injury.
53 Posted 24/11/2018 at 11:46:12
There'll be love and laughter
And peace ever after
On ToffeeWeb, when we win the league.
54 Posted 24/11/2018 at 12:02:10
George, a gentleman and a true blue.
God bless you.
55 Posted 24/11/2018 at 12:10:09
Enjoy the day, may the cosmic grooviness be with you.
56 Posted 24/11/2018 at 12:14:34
On the other side, I would have Lookman scaring the life out of them with his electric pace and sublime close control.
So my line up would be:
57 Posted 24/11/2018 at 12:20:00
Now I can enjoy the rest of the day.
Cosmic Grooves to you.
58 Posted 24/11/2018 at 12:35:17
I'd play Lookman on the left, leave Bernard on the bench and bring Bernard on for 20 mins at the end and allow Sigurdsson some rest. Beyond that, I'd make no other changes.
Zouma for Jagielka on the bench, and personally I'd prefer to see Dowell on the bench to Tosun. Tosun, let's be honest, will be gone come January. Calvert-Lewin is our back-up striker, so an extra midfielder/wide player in Dowell makes more sense, added to the bonus of promoting our young lads to the senior squad. If we're winning comfortably with 30 mins left, is an excellent opportunity to give him some minutes.
59 Posted 24/11/2018 at 13:22:00
60 Posted 24/11/2018 at 13:30:06
But when he has received the ball his first touch has to be better if he wants selection, plus he appears to want to much time on the ball, when he does get it.
I don't think he has got what we need if I were to be brutally honest.
61 Posted 24/11/2018 at 14:48:32
62 Posted 24/11/2018 at 20:45:22
63 Posted 24/11/2018 at 21:13:57
64 Posted 24/11/2018 at 21:26:47
I hope you are on the mend, we need your cosmic grooves big time for next week. Take it very easy.
65 Posted 24/11/2018 at 21:48:47
The very best cosmic wishes.
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