It was a night of mixed emotions for Everton football club yesterday. In the midst of a run of 3 wins in their last 12 games, the Toffees had to face the defending champions Manchester City in a preponed fixture which came after a chastening 1-3 defeat to Wolves. Added to that was the murmur amongst fans of the implications of the result, a positive one would have sent their fierce rivals Liverpool clear at the top while a defeat (which was ultimately the case) would increase further pressure on the manager and the players.
And Marco Silva’s surprise team selection also threw a number of people off guard before the commencement of the match. But the players who came in had a point to prove, and while there was a certain lack of quality at times, the desire and commitment put on display certainly gave Manchester City a run for their money.
But the ultimate result was a loss and now Silva, as much as he would have wanted to experiment, has to go back to his big guns with a trip to Watford coming up. A win could be imperative as Everton’s remaining home games are against Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United.
EARLY EVERTON TEAM NEWS
Leighton Baines is expected to remain out along with Phil Jagielka while Yerry Mina will be assessed before the match.
PREDICTED EVERTON LINEUP VS WATFORD (4-2-3-1)
Jordan Pickford will start in goal. The Englishman has kept a single clean sheet in his last 15 matches and is due one on Saturday.
Seamus Coleman was benched against City but might have to miss out once more with Jonjoe Kenny putting in a decent shift yesterday.
The central defensive duo of Kurt Zouma and Michael Keane is unlikely to be changed. The former was especially impressive and will look to continue his good form.
With Baines missing, Lucas Digne will retain his place at left-back.
Andre Gomes and Idrissa Gueye will start in the double pivot. The latter’s importance to the team was visible in the game against City and he will play a crucial role in the remainder of the season for Silva.
Tom Davies has impressed recently but might have to make way for Gylfi Sigurdsson in the no.10 role.
Richarlison was rested against City but should start against the Hornets in his favoured left-wing role. Ademola Lookman is likely to get a start on the opposite flank after impressing in the few opportunities he has got recently.