Alex Iwboi has missed both FA Cup ties so far through slight injury but is back in the squad to face Leicester
Everton return to Premier League action after a two-week hiatus to face Leicester City in a match that has taken on added significance as both clubs have maintained their challenge for a place in the top four this season.
The Toffees' recent inactivity because of COVID-enforced postponements of their games against Manchester City means that they have slipped to seventh place but they have as many as three games in hand while teams around them have continued to play.
The Foxes sit in third and are six points better off but have played two more matches, meaning that Everton can halve the gap between the two teams and move back into fourth place if they can complete the league double over their opponents on Wednesday evening.
This clash represents a big opportunity for Carlo Ancelotti's men to press their claims for a Champions League slot this season, then. However, in addition to Allan, who is expected back in the next week or so, the Italian will be without a key and often underrated presence in midfield in the form of Abdoulaye Doucouré.
The Frenchman serves a one-match ban for accumulating five yellow cards for the season and will be a huge miss but as Ancelotti hinted in his pre-match press conference, Tom Davies is ready to step in to deputise.
Meanwhile, Alex Iwobi and Lucas Digne are fit and available again after missing the FA Cup win over Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday. The duo had minor knocks and were held back from the Fourth Round tie against the Owls as a precaution but Ancelotti confirmed that they are fit to face Leicester City in the Premier League tomorrow evening.
Fabian Delph continues his recovery from a hamstring strain and Jean-Philippe Gbamin is still working through his patient recovery from Achilles surgery while Niels Nkounkou is also ruled out.
"We have Digne and Iwobi back, and we have out Delph, Allan, Gbamin and Nkounkou. The others are all good," the manager said.
"We don't have a lot of injuries at this moment because Delph has started to train with us, so practically he is back. We have only Allan, Gbamin and Nkounkou that can recover soon.
"The squad are [otherwise] all in good condition."
Iwobi's return on the right flank will likely see James Rodriguez move into a more central roaming role with Richarlison continuing on the left playing off Dominic Calvert-Lewin who made a scoring return against Wednesday in the Cup.
That will leave Gylfi Sigurdsson and André Gomes to battle for the remaining midfield slot, one that Portuguese will feel he has earned with assists in each of the last two games while the Icelander offers a stronger presence on the press.
At the back, Michael Keane will likely return to partner Yerry Mina after sitting out on Sunday but it remains to be seen if Seamus Coleman will retain his place at right back or if Ancelotti opts again for Mason Holgate. Jordan Pickford is expected to rotate back in between the posts.
Leicester successfully negotiated a potentially tricky cup tie of their own against Brentford at the weekend but this will be their first League game since Jamie Vardy underwent hip surgery, a potentially significant loss for Brendan Rodgers, particularly given his side's penchant for playing on the break away from home where they are among the top flight's most effective outfits.
However, the Foxes have talent in all areas of the field and Ancelotti will be hoping his players can shut their opponents down in the same manner in which they did in the reverse fixture six weeks ago when they ran out 2-0 winners at the King Power Stadium.
Kick-off: 8:15 pm, Wednesday 27 January 2021 on BT Sport 1
Referee: Mike Dean
VAR: Simon Hooper
Last Time: Everton 2 - 1 Leicester City
Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Holgate, Keane, Mina, Digne, Davies, Gomes, Iwobi, Rodriguez, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin
Reader Comments (200)
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1 Posted 26/01/2021 at 16:17:08
As how we're looking in the table right now, imagine beating Leicester. We can do this! COYB.
2 Posted 26/01/2021 at 16:31:18
Iwobi Rodriguez Sigurdsson Dignr
3 Posted 26/01/2021 at 16:36:01
They have their own worries with Vardy side-lined.
I would like to see Godfrey or Holgate playing in midfield in the absence of Doucouré.
In the long term though, it still worries me that so little is happening with the transfers both in and out. I know it is hard with movement of people in a lockdown. But we have less than a week left to get this squad ready for the longest run-in to a season.
And let us remember – this is as good a position as we have been in for some time. I don't want it risked for the lack of a striker.
4 Posted 26/01/2021 at 16:44:56
A central midfield of Rodriguez and Sigurdsson, are you having a laugh?
5 Posted 26/01/2021 at 17:02:16
7 Posted 26/01/2021 at 17:31:13
8 Posted 26/01/2021 at 17:31:42
I endorse Bobby's lineup for tomorrow.
9 Posted 26/01/2021 at 17:36:09
Godfrey will likely drop to the bench, with Digne at left back. If needed Godfrey can come on to tighten things up if we're winning.
The question is mainly at right back. Holgate or Coleman. I'd go with Holgate (or indeed Godfrey) as Barnes is possibly Leicester's most dangerous threat with his pace.
Davies will have a game on his hands to try and keep Maddison quiet.
10 Posted 26/01/2021 at 17:39:39
11 Posted 26/01/2021 at 17:39:40
Holgate - but he will play Davies
12 Posted 26/01/2021 at 17:39:56
13 Posted 26/01/2021 at 17:41:30
Coleman, Holgate and / or Gomes may come on to shore things up or enable a tactical switch to 433 / 451. Holgate in particular is unlucky if he does miss out.
Even without Vardy, Leicester are a really good side. So could be tricky.
14 Posted 26/01/2021 at 17:46:06
15 Posted 26/01/2021 at 17:51:54
I'd have Holgate behind Iwobi and risk Davies and Gomes in the centre of midfield. So 4-2-3-1 with James and Richy making up the 3.
I gave Gomes a load of abuse on Sunday but I don't think we have much option. Horses for courses and we have to neutralize Leicester's centre mid.
Hoping a goal will have made Richy more interested, he's looked miles away recently.
16 Posted 26/01/2021 at 17:55:59
17 Posted 26/01/2021 at 18:01:19
Holgate, Mina, Keane, Godfrey
Richarlison, James, Digne
18 Posted 26/01/2021 at 18:04:10
If Godfrey is in possession of the left back shirt he should keep it.
If Davies is in possession of centre mid slot please dont play a centre back there.
Im looking forward to this!! Should I know better by now ?
19 Posted 26/01/2021 at 18:08:26
20 Posted 26/01/2021 at 18:08:54
Davies has been very good recently too. He has improved greatly and considering he is only 22, is reason to have great hope.
Robert's 3-5-2 is possible. Most formations are fluid anyway - in possession and out of possession.
21 Posted 26/01/2021 at 18:09:09
Mina Keane Godfrey
Iwobi Davies Siggy Digne
James DCL Richarlison
SUBS: Olsen, Coleman, Holgate, Gomes, Bernard, Tosun, Gordon
22 Posted 26/01/2021 at 18:13:28
23 Posted 26/01/2021 at 18:14:43
24 Posted 26/01/2021 at 18:16:01
I think Digne, Iwobi maybe miss out and back in for Newcastle. 4231
Holgate Keane Mina Godfrey
James Sigurdsson Richarlison
25 Posted 26/01/2021 at 18:18:46
26 Posted 26/01/2021 at 18:19:37
Against a decent Premier League attack, Gomes is a defensive liability. Hell, he's a defensive nightmare. Gomes is a sub and that's all.
27 Posted 26/01/2021 at 18:20:25
Hes coming back from a bad injury.
A good player if we can get him back to where he was before the injury
28 Posted 26/01/2021 at 18:31:44
29 Posted 26/01/2021 at 18:34:06
30 Posted 26/01/2021 at 18:35:45
31 Posted 26/01/2021 at 18:38:13
Carlo will play eight behind the couch, He will concede the lions share of possession, but Jamie Vardy has been as important to Leicester as any player in the league has been to his club. Without him, Leicester will be attacking with a blunt instrument. I don't se them scoring.
If Davies is selected he wont chase mark or hunt Maddison, In fact nobody will. He will stick to orders. He and everyone else in our ranks will keep the shape and discipline.
We just need to make it count when we do get opportunities.
I expect it to be really tense rather than wildly exciting...Massive Massive game.
32 Posted 26/01/2021 at 18:46:36
33 Posted 26/01/2021 at 18:48:30
I thought Godfrey behind Digne worked great the last time. Holgate at RB gives us a bit more defensive cover than Coleman who gets forward more. If we fall behind or it's 0-0 in the last 15 minutes we can always bring on Seamus.
34 Posted 26/01/2021 at 18:53:30
An attritional game and a headed goal from a corner 1-0 to us will do for me.
35 Posted 26/01/2021 at 18:53:39
36 Posted 26/01/2021 at 18:57:05
In many ways, if we win tomorrow it will be against the grain of Everton psychology. If we do win, I believe it would mark a turning point.
I am not sure that we will be passive. As I say, this is a game which will show us quite a lot. Stay calm.
37 Posted 26/01/2021 at 18:58:36
With Calvert Lewin back we need crosses from the byline. Godfrey at LB with Digne ahead to make the crosses, Certainly James at his best to provide the forward passes. COYB
38 Posted 26/01/2021 at 19:06:38
Hence about 3 or 4 decent formations / personnel.
A bit more competition in midfield and forward positions is needed, but a lot of progress made.
Big game this. A win would be huge.
39 Posted 26/01/2021 at 19:08:20
Additionally It may make some of the media take us a little bit more seriously.
If we play both Iwobi, Richarlison on the flanks and DCL as the target man then I think we will cause them far more problems than visa versa due to the pace of our players.
40 Posted 26/01/2021 at 19:10:12
No Vardy. Plus...
James looked as fit as a fiddle verses Wednesday, and so I reckon they'll be shocked within the first few touches by James in terms of the speed he acts as a connector to move the ball into dangerous areas of the pitch, and won't push forwards. They'll be scared to let one of his balls get Digne or Richarlison or Iwobi in. And any foul means a set-piece by James.
Yep - they'll be much more worried about how to contain this one.
41 Posted 26/01/2021 at 19:11:03
Maybe switch Godfrey to right back, bring Digne back in at left back, and have Iwobi, Rodriguez and Richarlison, who can also possibly rotate at different times, with Lewin leading the line.
Ancellottis got options tomorrow, so hopefully he picks the right ones, in a very important game.
42 Posted 26/01/2021 at 19:14:30
43 Posted 26/01/2021 at 19:14:43
Unfortunately, he's still as dumb as a box of rocks defensively. Without Vardy, Leicester's best chance to score on us will be from free kicks. Barnes and Maddison are two of the best in the Prem at drawing fouls just outside the box. And Gomes is one of the worst in the league at committing them. He has 19 fouls for the season against only 14 tackles, so whenever he goes in he's 40% more likely to foul than win the ball, which is a joke. And he's WAY more likely give up a scoring chance with a dumb foul than he is to create one with a good pass.
So no, I don't want to see him in the starting 11 against this opponent. Gomes at defensive mid against a quality midfield is suicidal.
44 Posted 26/01/2021 at 19:18:55
45 Posted 26/01/2021 at 19:20:08
For sure they will miss him - he bangs them in but also keeps defenders occupied to the benefit of his midfield. Barnes, Tielemans and Maddison are dangerous units - 24 goals between them in all comps this season (what would we give to get that return from our own midfield) and I see a real tough shift for our boys whoever get the gig tomorrow. This is one game we could really use Allan and Doucs on the pitch.
I have been predicting a draw for this one and think we may struggle to manage that. Under the circumstances I would take that and follow up with 3 points at the weekend. However, the outlook before the Wolves game was a little bleak so trusting in Carlo to produce some magic again tomorrow.
Big game this and both teams will know that. COYB - a six pointer this.
46 Posted 26/01/2021 at 19:26:11
47 Posted 26/01/2021 at 19:27:11
48 Posted 26/01/2021 at 19:32:47
Yes, he played really well against Sheffield Wednesday but without Allan or Doucouré in there with him he is a liability defensively.
James is our game changer and should be allowed the freedom with two solid midfielders behind him. Probably Davies and Holgate with Allan and Doucouré out.
Iwobi more than deserves to come straight back in on the right and the back four should stay as is strongest, Coleman, mina, Keane, godfrey
So that's leaves a tough decision at left midfield, Digne or Richarlison? Carlo knows best though! COYB
49 Posted 26/01/2021 at 19:40:07
IN Carlo We Trust.
50 Posted 26/01/2021 at 19:41:50
51 Posted 26/01/2021 at 19:45:01
52 Posted 26/01/2021 at 19:47:34
Is that a fact or opinion?
53 Posted 26/01/2021 at 19:49:15
54 Posted 26/01/2021 at 19:57:09
Special up to David Moyes today.
55 Posted 26/01/2021 at 20:03:43
We do have 3 games in hand mind and will go above West Ham on goal difference with a win tomorrow with 2 remaining games in hand.
In fairness, he's done well with West Ham this season.
56 Posted 26/01/2021 at 20:04:45
57 Posted 26/01/2021 at 20:06:37
58 Posted 26/01/2021 at 20:12:46
59 Posted 26/01/2021 at 20:13:11
60 Posted 26/01/2021 at 20:20:09
We just need to put them into fifth tomorrow.
61 Posted 26/01/2021 at 20:28:55
Is he an attacking midfielder? Well, he has been involved in six goals in 64 appearances for us (one goal, five assists). Is that what you call "very good"?
By contrast, James has generated the same six goals in just 12 appearances (3 goals, 3 assists).
So I guess I was indulging in hyperbole when I said James is 10 times the attacking player that Gomes is. Statistically speaking, he's actually only 5 times the attacker. I stand corrected.
So is Gomes a defensive midfielder? Sorry, but a player who fouls nearly 3 times for every two legal tackles isn't a defender, he's an arsonist.
62 Posted 26/01/2021 at 20:31:46
"He's been at full fitness for months now, which means he has returned to his usual dismal standard defensively. Siggy is WAY better in that role"
Can you put Siggys tackle stats up please
63 Posted 26/01/2021 at 20:33:09
So while i'm very happy we have Ancelotti, and in no way do I believe Moyes to be the greatest manager ever - his pragmatism and conservatism will forever be the better of him - I do occasionally wonder what would have been if we had had Moyes when we splurged all that money. And for Everton to 'smash the glass ceiling', it required a heck of a lot more than a managerial change.
I'm pleased to see Moyes do well. The way he was mocked post-Man Utd always felt like they were patronising Everton too. Like with this 'He may be good for little old Everton, but to manage 'Utd', no chance', he should have known his place etctect.
64 Posted 26/01/2021 at 20:39:45
The penalty incident in the last game at Leicester could well have cost us the win - luckily the VAR gods were being kind with us that night.
So Gomes is a liability in that regard. I had given up on him, but his most recent cameos have given me hope. Maybe more for games where we will dominate possession, or off the bench when we are pushing for a goal, he can add some attacking flair.
In terms of his creativity - I think stats are unfair, because he has always played deep - so his good passing doesnt usually result in assists, but can still be an important cog.
Same issue with Rodriguez. His stats show 3 goals and 3 assists, but we all know he has actually created about 10 goals this season if you include 'pre-assists'. So stats are misleading.
65 Posted 26/01/2021 at 20:43:34
66 Posted 26/01/2021 at 20:45:04
67 Posted 26/01/2021 at 20:49:00
The eye test is even more convincing. Just watch the two of them. Siggy's in position defensively. Gomes isn't. Siggy has intercepted 16 passes this year. Gomes has 1. Siggy tracks runs from opposing midfielders. Gomes waves at them as they go by. Siggy marks attackers on free kicks. Gomes needs a map to our penalty area.
Siggy ain't no great shakes defensively, but face it, Gomes is a walking can of gasoline.
68 Posted 26/01/2021 at 20:51:08
69 Posted 26/01/2021 at 20:52:47
Would you start tomorrows game with Sigurdsson as a defensive midfielder?
I ask because, in my opinion he is the most feeble of our players apart from Iwobi.
He will not put his foot in
70 Posted 26/01/2021 at 21:05:34
71 Posted 26/01/2021 at 21:09:38
72 Posted 26/01/2021 at 21:11:24
73 Posted 26/01/2021 at 21:12:19
Back 4, take your pick from the 6.
Davies and Gomes.
Iwobi, James, Richarlison.
Thats my guess but its a guess. The manager will pick the team and the formation.
Newcastle in trouble?
74 Posted 26/01/2021 at 21:14:07
Jesus, easier to leave Scientology (even with them top Thetan ones after you)
76 Posted 26/01/2021 at 21:27:54
77 Posted 26/01/2021 at 21:28:31
I think Sigurdsson and Davies have cooler heads while not necessarily being "better" overall. I would say Sigurdsson is a bigger liability against a possession side like city as he will happily be a spectator for 90 minutes, and Davies is a bigger liability against a physical team as he is physically weaker. But for Leicester's dirty divers, Gomez is the weakest link.
78 Posted 26/01/2021 at 21:39:22
79 Posted 26/01/2021 at 21:39:43
So I don't care whether Siggy does or not. If it's a question of which player fulfills his overall defensive responsibilities better, it's no contest. Like I said, Siggy has 16 interceptions. At least he knows where to position himself on the pitch when the opposition has the ball. So do Davies and Iwobi. They know fundamentals. Gomes doesn't have a clue. Never has.
By the way, I think you're being a bit harsh on Iwobi. He's not feeble. Did you know he has more tackles than Digne, Keane or Mina?
80 Posted 26/01/2021 at 21:40:15
Its a massive 6 pointer and Ill take a grinding win, but win is a must.
I sense Leicester will be cagey but can spring on the break so keeping shape is key.
For me Godfrey should play and Digne a day Id take Siggy over Gomes at the moment, despite his two good low driven crosses, the last two games, over all in my view he needs to do more.
But the team is showing belief and hopefully the goal for Richarlison, v SW, will get his mojo, going and stick a few in tomorrow night.
Nice to see a few goals around the team.
82 Posted 26/01/2021 at 21:55:06
Not being a smart arse but you pick a defensive midfielder who wont tackle?
Did Stevie Wonder do the stats on Iwobis tackling?
84 Posted 26/01/2021 at 22:39:41
I would (just for once) like to see us play a more aggressive game. One which forces the opposition to worry about how they will defend.
This could be a world record. The 312th home game in succession that we have gone with two insurance policies
85 Posted 26/01/2021 at 22:43:12
86 Posted 26/01/2021 at 22:49:32
Maddison and his mates need to be taken down a peg or two.
87 Posted 26/01/2021 at 22:58:24
Holgate, Mina, Keane, Godfrey
Siggy, Allan, Doucoure
Iwobi, DCL, Richy
On 40 minutes Carlo made a forced substitution, bringing on Gomes for the injured Allan (even with Davies on the bench).
Thereafter, he only made two token subs after 90 minutes, Anthony Gordon for DCL and Jonjo Kenny for Iwobi.
They had 60% possession to our 40%.
14 shots (only 2 on target) to our 11 (6 on target).
0 goals to our 2.
We were so in control they were largely kept not just at arms length, but half a pitch length from our goal.
Of course, they know the game plan from that match so it may not be a simple matter of rinse and repeat, but I imagine the line-up and tactics will be close to it.
Just 2 players who played that night are missing, Allan and Doucoure. In his presser today Carlo confirmed that Tom Davies will start and how happy he is with his performances in recent weeks. He also praised Gomes, but without confirming he will be a starter.
When asked the question about playing Mason Holgate in midfield, I thought Carlo indulged the journalist. Saying yes he could play there before saying Tom will start.
The dilemma in selection is the full-back positions with Coleman and Digne both available, and covering for Allan and Doucoure. Will he repeat the Godfrey-Digne combo down the left flank as per the Wolves game? If that's the case with Tom also starting, places are at a premium.
James, DCL and Richy I fancy will start. Iwobi, Siggy and Gomes could possibly be fighting for one place. And Iwobi was a constant creative threat in the away game.
Suddenly, we look in a very good place with our squad.
I just hope it doesn't turn out like my dream last night. I never dream of Everton's upcoming games, but I did last night. Mason Holgate was sent off and we lost 2-1!
88 Posted 26/01/2021 at 23:06:01
89 Posted 26/01/2021 at 23:14:20
90 Posted 26/01/2021 at 23:15:27
We need to win some of the games in hand if we are to be in the mix for Europe and tomorrow would be a good time to start..
I like Tom Davies as he is a grafter but a little one paced and Siggy has a good brain but is past his best. Iwobi will start tomorrow in place of Doucoure.
91 Posted 26/01/2021 at 23:24:58
Arent you doing exactly what you criticised me for with Gomes? I think Christy explained perfectly what Siggi brings to the team. But, with regards to youre Gomes comments, kettle, pot black springs to mind
92 Posted 26/01/2021 at 23:28:19
93 Posted 26/01/2021 at 23:46:46
Personally, I'm with Darren at #83. With our current brilliant backline of four CBs, we don't need two DMs. Best way to defend Barnes and Maddison might just be to keep them on their heels with our own midfield attack. So yeah, I'd go with Iwobi and Digne on the flanks with James and Siggy in the middle. Rich does a great job of getting back in support.
94 Posted 26/01/2021 at 23:52:09
I'm not going to speculate a team; the attitude, belief and commitment matters more in this game. Taking it to your direct rivals and top teams is what separates the big boys, no room for hiding.
I'm hoping to see a bit of attacking "Strut" tomorrow, let's see them look for safety.
95 Posted 26/01/2021 at 00:02:18
Annika #91, I haven't recovered yet from seeing you compliment Siggy the other day -- I needed CPR and adrenaline to restart my heart -- so I hadn't responded. My apologies.
Regarding Gomes, I am quick to compliment him for his positives -- lovely movement to make himself constantly available, the immaculate first touch, great turns, the educated distribution of his passes, and the fact that he almost never makes a mistake on the ball. Few in the Prem move the ball from defense into attack better than Gomes. And his attitude is stellar. You should have seen how ecstatic I was on the Forum with that ball to Keane against Wolves -- best pass of the year I called it -- and the slide-rule cross to DCL.
But it's a simple numeric fact that up until the past week he almost never directly contributed to goalscoring plays. (If he has in fact raised that part of his game, I'll cheer louder than anybody.) And it's irrefutable that his defending is a catastrophe waiting to happen.
96 Posted 27/01/2021 at 00:15:17
A central midfield partnership of James and Sigvurdson?
We will have to agree to disagree.
I don't think Ancelotti will select Siggy as a defensive midfielder tomorrow.
Obviously could be wrong.
97 Posted 27/01/2021 at 00:32:12
Carlo had learnt his lesson so l can't see him changing the back four. Gomes is getting his confidence back after that injury. Davies will plug the hole. If anything and he fancies Digne then Richarlison could miss out. Or if Iwobi is fancied we could see Siggy miss out and James taking the spot behind DCL.
I'm starting to really like these players. They seem a tight group, fighting for each other and enjoying the ride. If we can get 6 points from the next 2 we might all be gping on a european tour... errr
Not too much tinkering Carlo. And definitely no to 3 at the back.
98 Posted 27/01/2021 at 00:55:49
The opposite viewpoint is that recycling the ball left, right and back does nothing to advance the play (and in fact slows attacks down) and just looks nice on the stat sheet.
On defence, if you value defending a square of turf, and 'shepherding' your man side to side until he passes to someone else, in some sort of zonal territorial defending, then Sigurdsson is surely your man.
...the flip side to that is the argument that a player who doesn't tackle or hassle the opposition just moves the problem on to someone else to try to win it back.
Football is all about opinions, and for me I rate a combo of Allan and Davies more than Gomes and Sigurdsson. I'd rather a pairing that will often lose the ball, but also one that will often win it back / thread a thru ball that leads to an attack, over a pair that keeps possession more but is pretty static.
But, of course, in a perfect scenario an astute manager would utilise different combinations of all these players depending on the opposition - maybe against one team that plays thru the middle, an obstinate Sigurdsson might force them down the wings... But perhaps in the following game against someone else, a harrying, haranguing Davies in the middle might be more worth...
..I guess that's the decisions we entrust to Carlo and his team, and given where we currently sit I'm pretty content that they know what they're doing...
99 Posted 27/01/2021 at 00:56:08
With 13(?) fit first team outfield players to choose from I see Coleman drawing the first short straw. The other 2 are much harder to pick...or not pick in this case.
100 Posted 27/01/2021 at 01:10:54
I mean seriously, this time, this is a big, big game. Gotta beat Leicester.
Glad to see Iwobe and Digne back. Whomever Carlo picks, I'll go with it. Just want 3 points.
101 Posted 27/01/2021 at 01:36:08
Rick #98, I'd rate Allan and Peter Ustinov ahead of Gomes and Sigurdsson, but Allan's not available.
102 Posted 27/01/2021 at 01:36:08
Rick #98, I'd rate Allan and Peter Ustinov ahead of Gomes and Sigurdsson, but Allan's not available.
103 Posted 27/01/2021 at 02:27:02
Just spat my coffee out all over my keyboard laughing at that!
For what it's worth, I think it is more likely that Siggy will play ahead of Gomes though I really don't like the idea of either them as a DM. Tom is going to have his work cut out either way if we play with 4-2-3-1 formation. I'd be tempted to push Holgate into mid if Seamus is fully match fit.
Coleman Mina Keane Godfrey
Holgate Davies Digne
3-0 to the Toffees! DCL, Mina (corner), Keane (free kick)
104 Posted 27/01/2021 at 03:01:18
Ancelotti did say that playing Holgate in midfield is an option, so we might see Tom and Mason together at DM tomorrow.
105 Posted 27/01/2021 at 03:08:14
106 Posted 27/01/2021 at 03:44:20
I think will has a good point too.
Determination, belief and a will to win is more important than who plays
# points tomorrow and the media cant continue to count us out of the equation.
107 Posted 27/01/2021 at 03:56:35
Olsen (though I think Ancelotti will go with Pickford)
Coleman Mina Keane Digne
Iwobi Rodriguez Richarlison
I think having our original full backs will give more balance and fluidity (transition between attack & defence) overall.
Our four centre backs of Holgate and Godfrey are really solid, but it's disjointed when we have to shift into attack mode. Now that we are playing at home, and Leicester is already a predominantly counter-attacking team, we need more fluidity.
I think Iwobi's current form will help our attack, and he can be counted on to support Seamus in defence.
Moving Rodriguez into the middle can allow the team to accommodate Iwobi, while still allowing James that free rein.
In the middle, while Gomes is getting better, I would still trust SIgurdsson to be more disciplined alongside Davis.
108 Posted 27/01/2021 at 05:00:40
Save Digne for Newcastle and continue with Godfrey.
RB is slightly different as I think Mason hasnt looked totally comfortable there and we miss the marauding runs of Seamus but I would consider MAson for the holding MF role backed up by Tom Davies in this one.
109 Posted 27/01/2021 at 07:06:51
110 Posted 27/01/2021 at 07:36:16
If we can stop their midfield creating chances, then I think we can win this game. Im not sure about playing Davies, maybe push Holgate into midfield and leave Godfrey in the back four, put Digne on the bench as he recovers.
111 Posted 27/01/2021 at 07:44:49
Although it sounds a bit daft with so many games left for me its a must win
We need to keep up with the pack and turn one over in the process
We have a couple if games in hand and must make them pay
Mind you pointless beating Leicester if we dont go for the throat against the Geordies
We have to beat Leicesters strong midfield
Doucoure will be a big miss
112 Posted 27/01/2021 at 07:52:54
I would sit Richi on the bench- he has to realise it is a team game and he simply hasn't been gelling.
Iwobi on the right, James at ten and Davies will have to do Doucoure's job. Gomes looks to have improved and I would give him a start and obviously Dom up top. As for the goalie, Pickford may be quicker but Olsen can reach those long shots from Maddison. Late-on, if we're losing, it's Siggy for James and Richie for whoever.
113 Posted 27/01/2021 at 08:06:13
I only saw the highlights of the Sheffield Wednesday game but noticed Olsen was called in to action on at least three occasions. Two things struck me:
He made a very good shoulder height save to his left from a shot just outside the box.
He has got “soft hands” - he killed two shots / crosses stone dead at his feet.
I think he is a better keeper than Pickford and he would be my first pick.
My team against Leicester
Holgate, Keane, Mina, Godfrey
Coleman, Davies, Digne
Gomes, Sigurdsson, Iwobi, Pickford, Bernard, on the bench.
That will probably raise a few eyebrows!
Up the Blues!!!
114 Posted 27/01/2021 at 08:24:45
115 Posted 27/01/2021 at 08:31:09
116 Posted 27/01/2021 at 09:31:01
117 Posted 27/01/2021 at 10:03:12
Maddison is a worry but I should think theyll be a bit concerned about James.
Id go with Tom, Gomes and James in CM flanked by Richi and Digne with Dom up front.
A very intriguing game and if we win it really will send a signal of intent to other teams.
Any notion about dropping Godfrey has to be quashed- he and Holgate add some bite and determination which affects the rest of the team not to mention some genuine pace. They have to play.
118 Posted 27/01/2021 at 10:29:18
Paul Baxter, your strategic genius is an inspiration to all of us.
119 Posted 27/01/2021 at 10:54:41
120 Posted 27/01/2021 at 10:56:21
Win this and were really amongst it !!
121 Posted 27/01/2021 at 10:59:07
We have no real defensive midfielders available and in terms of Siggy or Gomes neither can tackle and both lack pace.
Siggy does more running around but he's never been a defensive player. He's an attacking player.
Gomes stays deeper in position and is a midfielder.
Davies is our best midfield option IMO but who partners him should be a gamble. I understand Holgate can do a job there but as a defender lacks the passing ability to be effective.
To really challenge the top 4 we need better.
122 Posted 27/01/2021 at 11:04:39
We know that Tom Davies plays but who else and in what formation we play nobody knows. We have played with a few different formations this season, which is a big plus for Carlo, knowing that whichever formation he chooses these players can cope. We know that Leicester have a very decent midfield in Tielemins, Ndidi and Maddison, and it will be interesting to see how Carlo tries to nullify their impact. We are missing both Doucoure and Allan who I think would have been more than a match for Leicester, but they are missing Vardy who is integral to the way they play. He is a constant threat and a nightmare to mark so the fact he isn't playing must be a plus for us.
I am sure both sets of players realize the importance of tonights game, a win for either and it will not only improve their league position, but more importantly it will send a message to the rest of the league. Should Leicester win it will be a big statement showing they can come to a club in the top 6 and win without their talisman Vardy. Likewise if we win the message is something similar we will have beaten a team at the top end of the league, and we will have done it without 2 of our most influential midfield players.
123 Posted 27/01/2021 at 11:31:32
Might seem like a crazy thing to say because he's always been a massive thorn in our side but the last two games we've faced Leicester our defence has been completely switched on knowing Vardy had been on the pitch.
I just hope we don't get too casual thinking Leicester will lack punch without their main striker because they do have quite a few good threats going forwards.
124 Posted 27/01/2021 at 11:38:16
On the positive side we do have that compact and tough defence, and going forward we have match winners in James, Richarlison and Calvert Lewin. On top of that we may have the biggest threat from set pieces in the league with Keane Mina Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison all ready to head a decent cross home.
It all makes for an excellent and competitive game. I think we will sneak it with a set piece goal.
Come on you Blueboys !
125 Posted 27/01/2021 at 12:05:19
Carlo is getting a tune out of a squad that he will change massively. I genuinely believe he will let Pickford, Coleman, Gomes, Sigurdsson, Davies & Tosun go, as well as the out of contract Bolasie and Besic etc and will revamp in the summer. However, if we can get European football, particularly Champions League, with this squad that's only going to help the Don bring in even better players more quickly. Exciting times.
For what it's worth, I reckon tonight:–
Holgate Keane Mina Godfrey
Richarlison Rodriguez Digne
I think the Don will have one of his fluid formations where Digne will play in front of Godfrey when we have the ball but will drop in beside him when we don't have it to make a back 5, same with Richarlison on other side. And we'll win 1-0.
126 Posted 27/01/2021 at 12:11:42
In the time saved reading through this ever-expanding thread, we could be watching reruns of A Place in the Sun or Location Location, Location or Porridge and Are You Being Served?
Fingers crossed for a positive result and a decent performance.
127 Posted 27/01/2021 at 12:13:09
128 Posted 27/01/2021 at 12:37:55
129 Posted 27/01/2021 at 12:56:41
A 4411 formation with James having a fee role.
A difficult game in store and they have a good record at our place but I think we will do enough to win.
132 Posted 27/01/2021 at 13:15:04
Others have said he could have done better with the Rotherham goal, so even giving that the benefit of the doubt, he has done the simple things, no over playing the ball around our penalty area, no flapping at crosses, catches a ball when he needs to, pushes the ball away from the danger area, so it is not parried out towards an incoming attacker.
He has done a very good job, which is also making Pickford raise his game, fewer mistakes from Pickford now.
For me you play a player or keeper in form, if Pickfords form dips, then we should look to put Olsen in goal, I do not like the Pickford will definitely play in the next league game, everytime Olsen is selected for the cup game, from our Manager.
We seem to have the right balance now, but push comes to shove, I would have no problems Olsen taking over the number one spot, love his calmness and presence between the sticks.
133 Posted 27/01/2021 at 13:36:52
Repeating myself Id say Ancellottis got choices so lets just hope he gets it right!
134 Posted 27/01/2021 at 13:52:31
135 Posted 27/01/2021 at 14:07:35
This is his record to date
Last season P20 W8 D6 L6 F24 A27
This season P17 W10 D2 L5 F28 A21
Combined P37 W18 D8 L11 F52 A48
Obviously against Leicester we can win, draw or lose and taking each one of those scenarios into account this is what a combined 38 game season would look like.
If we win Played 38 Points 65
If we draw Played 38 Points 64
If we lose Played 38 Points 62
If you take into account Evertons improved record this season and a victory against Leicester would see Everton move onto 35 points after 18 games an average of 1.94 points a game over 38 games. 1.94 x 38 = 73.8 points for the season.
An Everton loss against Leicester would using the same maths bring us a total of 67.5 points for the season.
The average points required for a top four finish in the last six seasons is 71 points
(highest was 76 points, lowest 66 points)
The average points required for a top six finish in the last six seasons is 64 points
(highest was 69 points, lowest 59 points)
If we continue in a similar fashion to the second half of the season as we have done in the first half, top four is not out of the question.
Am I happy with top four, yes. Will I see it as job done, no. That only comes when we finally start to see stats comparing us with first place finishes.
136 Posted 27/01/2021 at 14:11:17
137 Posted 27/01/2021 at 14:16:03
How have we got the amount of points weve got mate
138 Posted 27/01/2021 at 14:16:17
139 Posted 27/01/2021 at 14:45:08
140 Posted 27/01/2021 at 14:50:38
141 Posted 27/01/2021 at 14:52:33
That would be my perfect team for tonight.
Coleman, Mina, Keane, Digne
Iwobi, Davies, Holgate, Richy
142 Posted 27/01/2021 at 14:58:00
143 Posted 27/01/2021 at 15:15:20
My bookie has the Foxes marginal favourites at 6/4, the quote for the Blues was 15/8. (The draw at 11/5) Interesting in light of the previous result when we played and in the absence of Vardy.
Whatever configuration we start the game in will be critical I feel, even just as a statement of intent (or god forbid, lack thereof). This is as big a league game as we've had for some time. Avoiding defeat is vital today and a win would set us up nicely for the run in.
We play the very troubled Barcodes at home followed by a trip to that most pleasant of places, Elland Road. A win would give this group terrific momentum heading into some very winnable fixtures.
But I must confess, I had a small go at 11/1 for the draw and Richarlison anytime to score. Even Ancelotti so far in his tenure has been unable to get these players to seize opportunities when they're presented to them. I don't see any reason why that should change today.
144 Posted 27/01/2021 at 15:23:46
And anyone thinking Siggy offers nothing going forward try to note where he pulls defenders with his runs. That unselfish purpose is what has brought our final third opportunities.
145 Posted 27/01/2021 at 15:25:50
146 Posted 27/01/2021 at 15:27:50
I don't think your getting mine
147 Posted 27/01/2021 at 15:37:17
148 Posted 27/01/2021 at 15:38:30
149 Posted 27/01/2021 at 15:41:39
I just read that BBC article, then read a fair chunk of the comments while eating. As ever, Everton barely mentioned even there, by fans of all persuasions; five times I think. Someone implied us as "Big six" and was immediately corrected with the "Recognized" six in the next comment.
We really are the ugly sister to many. It could be seen as a positive from one angle but I'd like to think I'll be around long enough to see another 80s, shove it right up 'em.
Let's start tonight!
150 Posted 27/01/2021 at 15:42:39
151 Posted 27/01/2021 at 15:42:42
Who plays Indiana Jones?
152 Posted 27/01/2021 at 15:46:29
You miserable sod - just joking!
"humour...won't get past a Leicester goal on the live forum" - at least we can fall back on your wit! Just joking!
153 Posted 27/01/2021 at 15:47:40
What a guy.
154 Posted 27/01/2021 at 15:48:13
155 Posted 27/01/2021 at 15:51:42
Whilst we still have a couple or three injured, a few other top clubs also have people out so we can't complain.
Would like to see Richarlison do a bit more to help the attack that is to say getting stuck in instead of whining when he loses possession.
It goes without saying that City are the team of the hour and look like the eventual champions but anything can happen if a team can get on a good run. Now would be a good time for Everton to start that run.
Realistically though, Everton are still building a squad and we may have to wait until next season to expect bigger things.
156 Posted 27/01/2021 at 15:52:14
There is definitely a media bias. Here in the US NBC were showing just the top 5 when Everton were 6th and now that Spurs are 6th they are showing the top 6.
I reckon its all those rednoses in the media.
They will be showing the top 8 when the RS are down there.
157 Posted 27/01/2021 at 15:53:05
158 Posted 27/01/2021 at 15:55:25
159 Posted 27/01/2021 at 15:57:36
160 Posted 27/01/2021 at 15:58:42
If Everton reach number 1, will they show the table at all?
161 Posted 27/01/2021 at 16:03:47
162 Posted 27/01/2021 at 16:03:58
163 Posted 27/01/2021 at 16:06:25
164 Posted 27/01/2021 at 16:08:35
165 Posted 27/01/2021 at 16:09:36
166 Posted 27/01/2021 at 16:12:40
167 Posted 27/01/2021 at 16:14:03
168 Posted 27/01/2021 at 16:14:15
169 Posted 27/01/2021 at 16:23:35
170 Posted 27/01/2021 at 16:25:53
171 Posted 27/01/2021 at 16:30:56
172 Posted 27/01/2021 at 16:40:25
173 Posted 27/01/2021 at 16:42:05
174 Posted 27/01/2021 at 16:44:03
175 Posted 27/01/2021 at 16:45:34
176 Posted 27/01/2021 at 16:47:56
I just think we have the beating of these tonight and I honestly think we will do them 4-0. Richy and DCL hat trick. However, we must turn up. Its not really a must win game but we need to show up tonight, theres really no excuses. Team should be well rested enough to perform for 90 minutes. I expected Brendan to of made a plan for James, I.e, one of these midfielders stick to him like glue and a constant press, not allowing him to dictate the play like he did on Sunday. Im hopeful Carlo has prepared for this and if anything encourages James to get the ball and give and go, drawing their players out of position.
Im just hopeful at the end of the evening we all arent on here saying, dreadful performance and reeling off names of players who didnt show. Richarlison needs a good game, like a really good game, he needs to get the ball to his feet and start running at defenders again. Also, whoever he starts in midfield needs to watch Maddison tightly as he has a quality with finding space and creating the killer ball. He needs to be closed quickly and marked well throughout.
First goal, as in any game, is vital tonight and we do really need to perform and win if we want to be taken seriously. Win our next two home games and all of sudden we are asking major major questions. COYB, please no red cards, penaltys, mistakes or let downs. For once lets go out and do what needs to be done.
177 Posted 27/01/2021 at 16:48:45
178 Posted 27/01/2021 at 17:00:17
Our biggest problem tonight is their midfielders ability to shoot from distance.
We need as much strength kn front of the back four as our depleted squad allows to try to stop that.
180 Posted 27/01/2021 at 17:10:08
On the BBC bias. read two articles on there today; one about Chelsea the other about West Ham. The former is talking about Chelsea being in the title race despite being ninth. The other refers to fourth place West Ham as being "11 points above the relation zone." Wow, how to spin a positive into a negative. It almost sounds as if Moyesy wrote that himself.
181 Posted 27/01/2021 at 17:21:02
Leicester are no Sheffield Wednesday but even with no Vardy will still play their quick break tactics and have got dangerous scoring midfielders who will be looking for the openings. We have to score quickly to put them on a more defensive game to stop another one, and stop their fullbacks from getting up field quickly.
This is another chance to take advantage of other teams struggling to get into the top 6, but it is always in the back of my mind that this is Everton who let us down at the wrong times. We cannot afford another display like we had against West Ham, and have to show that we are willing to fight for a result. A win is wanted, a draw may be except-able depending on the display, a loss is not wanted.
We are starting to get over our injuries, but even with the injuries and suspensions we have had, we have still managed to put out a winning team.
Lets put one out tonight and show these pundits who consistently overlook us we are there on merit and consistency.
182 Posted 27/01/2021 at 17:24:54
183 Posted 27/01/2021 at 17:25:17
It really is beyond oversight, is consistent, and the chance is taken at every opportunity. I really wonder what's behind it, it's more than ex RS in the media. There was a sort of hush after we won the first four too.
Would love to see us succeed to a level that has them all squirming.
184 Posted 27/01/2021 at 17:27:10
185 Posted 27/01/2021 at 17:28:44
186 Posted 27/01/2021 at 17:31:08
187 Posted 27/01/2021 at 17:31:28
As others have mentioned, hopefully, we can get some joy too from corners. A big test of character tonight and to see if the players themselves are truly starting to believe, I hope so.
188 Posted 27/01/2021 at 17:33:20
189 Posted 27/01/2021 at 17:36:44
Chelsea are actually in 10th, sometimes a change in manager helps but there are no guaranties the premier division is one of the hardest leagues in the world especially if you are struggling. The different comments about West Ham make me laugh, but the one thing I smile about is Everton have 3 games in hand over them.
190 Posted 27/01/2021 at 17:37:40
191 Posted 27/01/2021 at 17:40:45
192 Posted 27/01/2021 at 17:44:43
Phil 185, Moyes got lucky.
193 Posted 27/01/2021 at 18:00:26
Abrahamovich's company sponsor CSKA and his partner is a shareholder, his son also apparently tried to buy control of the club but technically Roman has no personal equity in the club. So he got away with conflict of interest charges when CSKA and Chelsea were both in the Champions League.
194 Posted 27/01/2021 at 18:14:16
Zlatan was supposed to offer Lukaku £50 every time his first touch was good.
195 Posted 27/01/2021 at 18:19:54
196 Posted 27/01/2021 at 18:29:54
It seems the guy who has managed some of the all time greats doesnt know his arse from his elbow when it comes to judging these players. He's been here a year and still hasn't spotted that Tom is a "Championship player at best".
197 Posted 27/01/2021 at 18:31:07
198 Posted 27/01/2021 at 18:42:10
A big improvement in Toms play over the last couple of months can be put down to the coaching Tom is getting from the manager.
Tom has got a difficult job on his hands tonight. He will give it his best shot.
199 Posted 27/01/2021 at 18:55:07
In fact the biggest criticism of Tom is that he hasn't progressed from when he first burst into the team. This is what happens when sychophancy meets poor judgment.
200 Posted 27/01/2021 at 18:59:28
Leicester without Vardy do not pose the same threat as Leicester with Vardy. A good team would take advantage of them not being 100%.
I have noticed a massive improvement in our mentality this season. Our away record is much stronger, for starters. We are defending much better. And importantly, we are now managing squad rotation. We have had a half-hearted go at it in the past, but its pretty much always been a case of having a first team backed up by misfits.
Now, we have two decent goalies fighting it out for a game. We have maybe 6/7 defenders battling for 4 places, with prospects Nkounkou and Branthwaite coming through. In midfield, we are regularly rotating Davies, Gomes, Iwobi, Sigurdsson etc. They are all fighting for their places and, generally speaking, doing ok. In the past, no matter how badly Sigurdsson and Gomes played, they played every game, as did Schneiderlin.
Up front, we dont quite have the same options. But we do have a quality front 3, and when fit, they will be dangerous against anyone.
Im feeling very positive at the moment. Id love a striker to come in, maybe on loan. But our improved mentality and competitiveness has to lead to good performances in these types of games, and 3 points ideally.
201 Posted 27/01/2021 at 19:04:03
A Leicester team without Vardy is much less of a Leicester team. We must cease the moment
2-0 for our boys....although 1-0 will do
202 Posted 27/01/2021 at 19:04:29
203 Posted 27/01/2021 at 19:04:49
1,Has Tom improved?
2,If so, who do you put that down to?
204 Posted 27/01/2021 at 19:07:39
206 Posted 27/01/2021 at 19:18:32
"Tom Davies in the games he played, he played really well"
on JonJoe Kenny in September "Jonjoe is different, he knows the club, hes a player I have a lot of confidence in."
On Bolasie in October "Bolasie is doing well, he's training well and properly. He's a professional."
On Lossl and Virginia in December "My desire was to give opportunities also to Lossl and Virginia because they are good goalkeepers and training professionally but unfortunately I cannot do what I want sometimes."
On Gordon in June "Gordon deserves to play"
The clear trend is that Carlo says nice things about everyone because he isn't a arse hole. Obviously he doesn't think Tom is that great or he would be a regular starter. Obviously he has to play the players he has in his squad so people get chances here and there, even Tosun. He may or may not think Tom is "championship at best." Probably not, he probably thinks like most on here that he's not brilliant, but is one of four (Sig, Gomez, Delph) that fall into that category. But if they're all we have they're all we have.
207 Posted 27/01/2021 at 19:24:47
Good post, mate.
208 Posted 27/01/2021 at 19:31:02
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