Michael Keane is fit again but will he walk straight back into the starting XI?
Everton are back at Goodison Park this evening looking for a first home win since the start of March in order to press their claims for European qualification.
The Blues kept pace with the top six with their slender victory at Arsenal last Friday, yet another away win in this unusual season, but they will need to rectify their miserable form on their own turf if they are to make it into Europe for next season.
Unless Fulham do Carlo Ancelotti's men a favour in the 5:30 pm kick-off, Everton could find themselves 11 points off the Champions League spots and, realistically, out of contention for the top four by the time they kick off but a place in the Europa Conference League at least is very much still in their hands.
Standing in their way tonight are Aston Villa who looked at one stage this season to be strong contenders for the top six under Dean Smith's stewardship but they have fallen away in Jack Grealish's absence in recent weeks.
The England international has been struggling with injury and the Midlanders haven't had the same cutting edge without him and since beating Leeds on 27th February, they have just one win in eight Premier League games.
With Ollie Watkins leading the line and Anwar El Ghazi chipping in with goals, they remain a dangerous side, however, and they will have done their homework on how to cause Everton problems based on a succession of matches at Goodison where the Toffees have been overrun by a more intense opposition midfield.
Rediscovering that tempo that, in truth, has really only surfaced in the two home fixtures against Tottenham in recent weeks, will fall on Ancelotti's shoulders as he prepares for this one with a practically fit squad. Unfortunately, one of the two absentees, Abdoulaye Doucouré, is arguably his most important in terms of providing the legs and stamina in the middle of the park.
Still, Allan is back fit and has settled back into his groove since returning from a hamstring injury — even if he has, understandably, looked a touch short of match sharpness. And in Tom Davies, the manager has a player who can provide a decent foil for the Brazilian, although the young Englishman was overlooked at the Emirates until late on, with André Gomes preferred in the starting XI.
Gomes would count himself fortunate if selected to start again after a disappointing hour or so against the Gunners and his replacement in that match, Fabian Delph, wasn't much better. Ancelotti can exhibit a frustrating deference to experienced players, though, and it wouldn't be a surprise if Delph got the nod to start against Villa.
At the back, there will be a decision to make given that Michael Keane is fit again after missing out last time with a slight hamstring problem. He was involved in both of Spurs' goals in that 2-2 draw at Goodison a fortnight ago and, as such, might not walk back into the side. Yerry Mina, who was only deemed fit enough to begin the last match on the bench, is the more likely option to partner the in-form Ben Godfrey if Ancelotti sticks with the four-man back line.
There has been much talk in the Everton camp about needing to approach the last quarter of the campaign as a series of cup finals but thus far they have failed to raise their game to the required levels.
With games running out but so much still to play for, hopefully this will be the moment where the players break out their best form, get into Villa from the first whistle, establish some early dominance, and then finish them off to set the tone for the five fixtures that will remain.
Kick-off: 8 pm, Saturday 1 May 2021 on BT Sport 1
Referee: Simon Hooper
VAR: Graham Scott
Last Time: Everton 1 - 1 Aston Villa
Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Coleman, Mina, Godfrey, Digne, Allan, Delph, Sigurdsson, Rodriguez, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin
Reader Comments (74)
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1 Posted 01/05/2021 at 06:19:15
2 Posted 01/05/2021 at 07:04:28
For me Delphis a bad bad influence on the squad, fit or unfit and his body language at Arsenal for me summed him up, as a person and player, he thinks hes above it all and doesnt give a crap about Everton.
Tom Davies must start and hopefully Isaac Price can get a place on the bench, as he and the other youngsters in contention for the first team do care and put a shift in.
Delph if he starts could prove me wrong and Ill eat double slices of humble pie and give credit if due.
But some how I doubt it.
No excuses and I fear Villas attack and hopefully Tom playing alongside Allan can help stop the feeds into the Villa attack.
For me start as last week but Tom Davies starts in place of Gomes.
3 Posted 01/05/2021 at 07:11:46
Six big games, all cup finals. Finish off the season the way they began it.
4 Posted 01/05/2021 at 07:13:49
We should, and I believe we will, be winning this game. Clean sheet and 2 goals from somewhere. 2-0
5 Posted 01/05/2021 at 07:33:33
Still I wouldn't be surprised if carlo plays him against one of his old clubs - it usually brings the best out of a player.
It is impossible to know what kind of performance to expect tonight. Can we actually brush a team aside and win comfortably?
For once it would be nice to see a two goal cushion and a canter to victory instead of the usual nail-bitten finale.
6 Posted 01/05/2021 at 08:07:15
7 Posted 01/05/2021 at 08:13:10
9 Posted 01/05/2021 at 08:17:48
By the law of averages he should be due for a brace at least.
10 Posted 01/05/2021 at 08:18:45
The above doesnt make sense. Everton are six points behind Chelsea so how could they then be 11 points behind after the Chelsea match ? Am I missing something?
11 Posted 01/05/2021 at 08:21:55
The word intensity applies again. All teams who come to Goodison ; rich, poor, good or bad know they can get something, at least a draw, if they bring all the intensity they can muster to the game.
Our midfield has buckled when teams have outdone us for energy and intensity, our supposed classier players have been nullified by it time after time at Goodison. I mean can anyone honestly say that we have been unlucky at home ?
So tonight the key will be matching the intensity that Aston Villa will undoubtedly try to impose. Our success in that will be down to either how the team is set up or wether we can reproduce the rejuvenated last home performance against Tottenham.
Coleman Holgate Godfrey Digne
Davies Allan Gomes
James DCL Richarlison
That looks a strong team, always concerned about Gomes but I think he has shown some incremental improvement , and much prefer him to Delph.
12 Posted 01/05/2021 at 08:23:09
13 Posted 01/05/2021 at 08:41:07
14 Posted 01/05/2021 at 08:43:48
If Sigurdsson can get the right delivery on the edge of the area he might get lucky with one of his shots. The overall objective will be to grind out a result and hopefully nick a goal. What I would give for a upgrade in Everton's set piece play to something like before Xmas.
Everton are going to need the right motivation or spirit as Ancelotti calls it. If they come out and give one of those inept performances they are capable off, I may break the TV throwing something at it.
IMO Delph is the linkman to nowhere. Davies rather than Delph please.
15 Posted 01/05/2021 at 08:48:42
Why is he having problems with his dental alignment/arrangement?
Not the most inspiring team as per Lyndon's projected eleven, but as Kunal and Kim have said, surely Tom Davies has shown enough to merit a place, as the best of a 'limited choice' pool of available players.
Missing Jack Grealish, has clearly affected Villa's potency of late, and he is clearly missed by them, but by the same token, they are not to be seen, or treated as an easy 3 points. Our Home Form inexplicably has been very poor, with virtually the same personnel who have performed a lot better away, the game before. I know there are no crowds, which thankfully has highlighted how important the fans actually are. Still doesn't explain why we should be verging on crap/really disappointing against teams we should be beating though.
16 Posted 01/05/2021 at 09:00:58
17 Posted 01/05/2021 at 09:01:57
The Villa supporting wife is continuously reminding me of my sceptical raised eyebrow when they splashed £33m on an unproven player in the summer.
I should know better. I constantly bang the drum about proven Premier League experience not being important.
I anticipate a end to end game with plenty of goals.
18 Posted 01/05/2021 at 09:06:13
Near enough in double fugures.
19 Posted 01/05/2021 at 09:15:34
20 Posted 01/05/2021 at 09:18:18
Coming to the game, if Carlo starts Delph for this one, I will truly lose it and gladly join the COB! The back 5 was solid against Arsenal, so why tinker with it? I like Tony‘s team, but Carlo will fancy Siggy over Gomes for sure.
Coleman Holgate Godfrey Digne
James Siggy Richarlison
SUBs: Olsen, Mina, Keane, Nkounkou, Gomes, Delph, Bernard, Iwobi, King
21 Posted 01/05/2021 at 09:18:58
22 Posted 01/05/2021 at 09:21:06
23 Posted 01/05/2021 at 09:24:15
24 Posted 01/05/2021 at 09:26:16
25 Posted 01/05/2021 at 09:30:29
26 Posted 01/05/2021 at 09:37:03
I was also for some reason there for the Littlewood's (League) Cup match when Gary Stevens snapped him in half, effectively ending his career.
Awful tackle, awful injury. I guess that and the fact we were all chanting "die you barsteward die" as he was carried off left him with a bitter taste. He most certainly has no affection for Everton!
27 Posted 01/05/2021 at 09:41:12
28 Posted 01/05/2021 at 10:22:25
29 Posted 01/05/2021 at 10:28:05
30 Posted 01/05/2021 at 10:33:17
31 Posted 01/05/2021 at 11:00:07
32 Posted 01/05/2021 at 11:11:33
33 Posted 01/05/2021 at 11:21:41
34 Posted 01/05/2021 at 11:42:57
I'll watch tonight and pretend there's no Europa qualification possible.
35 Posted 01/05/2021 at 11:45:40
1-0, 1-1, 0-1 take your pick, or maybe we go wild and score 2 goals, hope so.
36 Posted 01/05/2021 at 12:03:02
On paper we are better than them and surely our dismal home form must change.
They have a solid centre at the back so DCL is going to have to be very cute, maybe something from Siggy or James may do the trick.
37 Posted 01/05/2021 at 12:13:31
We won't be playing next season with the same squad. Especially if we qualify for Europe.
38 Posted 01/05/2021 at 12:32:59
European footy is all that matters now.
39 Posted 01/05/2021 at 12:36:40
40 Posted 01/05/2021 at 12:35:12
There are just over 25 days before the last game of the season, against Man City. I find it unbelievable that a date has not been set. What do both clubs feel about this and should they be doing something about it? I think the Premier League officials must be held accountable for this inexplicable lack of information. Or is this yet another unacceptable example of how Sky Sports and BT Sport control the Premier League? I cant believe that they will ask both teams to play in the week leading up to the last match. How is that fair? So come on, Premier League – pull your friggin' finger out and set a date!!!
41 Posted 01/05/2021 at 12:41:58
42 Posted 01/05/2021 at 13:18:16
The owner has a stadium to build at £500M, we're in the middle of a global recession, I wouldn't at all be surprised if we only see one or two new faces in the summer and another tough season.
I've been wrong before, Moshiri might splash the cash, but I believe the Europa League will be a burden we don't need.
43 Posted 01/05/2021 at 13:25:07
You just got to hope the ends justifies the means.
Villa not a one man team, but they can be a very decent team with Grealish. I don't think they can without him.
We may not be troubling the edge of our seats, but we win this one all day long
44 Posted 01/05/2021 at 13:34:44
45 Posted 01/05/2021 at 13:38:19
Man City on the beach having won the treble.
We need to WIN to beat the rs to the last CL place.
We're two nil down with ten minutes to go when DCL and Tom Davies score within a minute of each other. Two all in the ninetieth minute.
Five minutes of added time.
With four and a half minutes gone Richi darts into the City box and goes down after the slightest of touches by, guess who, John Stones.
No penalty given by the ref but the Everton players, for once, surround him demanding VAR intervention.
Penalty is somehow given much to everyone's surprise.
Sigurdsson's been subbed, nobody seems keen to take the penalty but up steps Pickford who smashes it home.
Final whistle goes and then the myth that Pickford ruined the shite's season becomes reality.
Not a fucking lot to ask is it?
46 Posted 01/05/2021 at 13:45:01
European football very much part of the "project" (hate that term by the way). Nice interview with Carlo on the YouTube channel this week where he refers to the stadium. Other notable comments from him where relating to Inzahgi. When we talk about DCL not being great outside the box, listen to what Ancelotti says about Inzahgi. That aside, Crosby beach gets the nod over Venice's Lido and there is now a restaurant in Parma I need to check out!!
47 Posted 01/05/2021 at 13:54:02
Very Shakespearean love it
48 Posted 01/05/2021 at 13:56:19
49 Posted 01/05/2021 at 14:12:37
50 Posted 01/05/2021 at 14:29:59
51 Posted 01/05/2021 at 14:31:37
52 Posted 01/05/2021 at 14:39:35
53 Posted 01/05/2021 at 15:03:00
Finishing above that lot will also almost definitely keep them out of Europe unless Uefa come up with yet another dirty fix. I can't help but feel we've thrown away a magnificent opportunity to overturn the status quo this season.
If Delph starts, I'm switching off and won't watch until he goes off injured, hopefully about 7 minutes in.
Here's hoping we are all shocked by a return to the form and performances of early in the season.
54 Posted 01/05/2021 at 15:07:53
I have just read some comments from Ancellotti blaming Iwobi's shiteness (my word, not Carlo's) on the performance of the rest of the team. Hmmmm...
Gone is the day, it seems, when a good player always turned in a performance whatever the circumstances. Ben Godfrey is an apt example but perhaps he is the only consistent shining light and needs to be moved on lest he bucks the team ethic: "If one shite, all shite."
55 Posted 01/05/2021 at 15:10:55
56 Posted 01/05/2021 at 15:12:19
57 Posted 01/05/2021 at 15:25:27
58 Posted 01/05/2021 at 15:49:46
59 Posted 01/05/2021 at 16:03:02
Nail on head on the stupidity of the ESL:
'This match is a perfect example of why competition is the lifeblood of football. We are eighth but the possibility for Europe is there and the intention is to fight until the last day. 'Without this incentive, the game wouldnt be so important and, in that situation, it is tough to have the same intensity and concentration. 'In the Premier League, every opponent is difficult, all the teams have different qualities and the ambition to win matches. 'If there is no chance to achieve something more than survival, the motivation would be low and the competitive element would suffer. 'This is why the 12 clubs wanting a European Super League made a bad mistake. 'It is unacceptable to have a competition with no sporting merit and this idea could only happen when there is no consultation with the managers and players and supporters.'
'Without this incentive, the game wouldnt be so important and, in that situation, it is tough to have the same intensity and concentration.
'In the Premier League, every opponent is difficult, all the teams have different qualities and the ambition to win matches.
'If there is no chance to achieve something more than survival, the motivation would be low and the competitive element would suffer.
'This is why the 12 clubs wanting a European Super League made a bad mistake.
'It is unacceptable to have a competition with no sporting merit and this idea could only happen when there is no consultation with the managers and players and supporters.'
He goes on to say:
'At Everton, you can feel the emotion and love of the supporters, how they are really close to the team and the Club. 'Everton is a club with class, I think, and the Owner and Chairman and Board listen to the voice of the fans.'
'Everton is a club with class, I think, and the Owner and Chairman and Board listen to the voice of the fans.'
He gets it.
60 Posted 01/05/2021 at 16:07:21
61 Posted 01/05/2021 at 16:33:43
62 Posted 01/05/2021 at 16:39:27
63 Posted 01/05/2021 at 16:47:48
Hope Carlo doesnt repeat that mistake by all means. We have good availability of players so hope he gets it right.
64 Posted 01/05/2021 at 17:18:42
65 Posted 01/05/2021 at 17:32:07
And speaking of hallucinogens, here's the Sun a couple of hours ago:
Any thoughts on how real this is?
Any thoughts on whether we should want it to be real?
66 Posted 01/05/2021 at 17:59:22
Time has moved on and he has deteriorated from his best so its a no from me.
Would much sooner break the bank for a Grealish, Pulisic, Maddison type player who can create and score goals.
67 Posted 01/05/2021 at 18:10:21
I resent the inference to my use of hallucinogens.
When I posted that, I had just enjoyed a lovely cup of Earl Grey and a couple of Brownies my son had sent me from an excellent coffee shop he's found while he's working in Amsterdam.
They're delicious but I can't fathom why eating them makes me feel so bloody hungry!
68 Posted 01/05/2021 at 18:13:54
Very good player for them but seems to have drifted away a little.
69 Posted 01/05/2021 at 18:18:57
Not sure the Carlo type of player anyway. But we need a serious winger in our squad. Too many playmakers already.
Raphinha of Leeds would be great as well.
CARLO IL MAGNIFICO!!
70 Posted 01/05/2021 at 18:30:14
Coutinho hasnt justified his mega-fee and the pressure there may have damaged his confidence and game a bit. But theres no doubt hes a hugely talented player. What interests me is that Mr Ancelotti is a player whisperer. He could get a player such as Coutinho in and get him playing well and also enjoying his football. If he could do that, and you cant rule it out , it could be a fantastic signing for the club.
I agree with Jay @ 66 in his last sentence. This type of attacking midfielder is a bigger priority to move the club forward.
71 Posted 01/05/2021 at 18:30:31
72 Posted 01/05/2021 at 18:32:22
73 Posted 01/05/2021 at 18:49:54
74 Posted 01/05/2021 at 18:58:29
75 Posted 01/05/2021 at 19:02:42
Yes on Raphinha. UTFT!!!
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