Carlo Ancelotti declared at the beginning of the season that his goal was for Everton to be competitive, to show that The Blues can challenge the so called “top six” for those coveted European places.
Well tonight against Leicester we are at a crucial stage of Everton’s development under Ancelotti.
Do Everton have the grit, ambition and determination to take tonight’s opportunity and climb into the top four.
It will be fascinating to see how Everton set up for this game, against a Leicester side bang in form and James Maddison in a purple patch, though fortunately for Everton missing Jamie Vardy up front.
Ancelotti has both his first choice full backs available in Coleman and Digne. Though the form of Holgate and Godfrey while deputising for the injured first choice duo, gives the manager many options.
In midfield we are missing Allan and Doucouré, to injury and suspension. Thankfully Doucouré will be back from suspension at the weekend.
In yesterday’s press conference Ancelotti stated he is pleased with both Tom Davies and Andre Gomes, the latter chipping in with two assists in his last two appearances.
Could we then see a return to a 3 – 4 – 3 formation, with Keane, Mina, Godfrey as a back three. Then with Digne and Iwobi playing as wing backs. Davies and Gomes occupying the two central midfield roles.
There is no doubt we will miss Allan and Doucuré’s industry and energy in this game. Though if Everton are to compete for Europe we need Davies and Gomes to step up and put in two good performances tonight.
Up front, I expect to see James step up and show that although Maddison may be a “good” player, that he James is world class and ready to stamp his mark on Everton’s challenge for Europe. This battle between the games two playmakers will be fascinating to watch.
The battle of the James’s…
James Rodriguez v James Maddison
James looked in very good condition in the Sheffield Wednesday cup game and provided a masterclass. He looked refreshed and fittest he has looked all season.
Richarlison has looked troubled in recent games. He’s trying a little too hard at times and a little off his game in periods.
He seems like a player who is torn between being the one asked to do a job for the team and providing for Calvert-Lewin and wanting to lead the line himself.
I am actually wondering how much Moise Keane’s agent driven move to PSG has played on Richarlison’s mind.
As a competitor for Brazil’s centre forward position. Playing a provider role and covering a lot of hard yards defensively out of possession for Everton, must make him wonder why his agent didn’t manoeuvre a move for him to play centre forward for PSG with Neymar.
All I can say is I hope Richarlison sees the stage tonight as where he can show the Premier League and the world he is the player who be world class opposite James in a front three.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin seems to have honed his game to a simple reality. If Digne, James, Richarlison, Gomes and Iwobi can feed him with the right supply he will stick them away.
So time to step up and time to show we mean business. I predict Everton to do just that tonight and I am confident we can win this 3 – 1.