Everton have beaten Spurs 5 – 4 and been beaten 0 – 2 by Fulham since my last post. So lots to reflect on going into tonight’s game against Manchester City.
Everton pulled off an amazing victory against Spurs at Goodison Park to put them in the quarter finals of the FA cup.
Everton then played their home league game against Fulham and totally failed to turn up.
Passive and lacking any intensity they were bullied again at home in similar fashion and the same scoreline as the Newcastle game.
Both 0 – 2 defeats and with both goals coming in the second half in each of those games
Carlo questioned his team and said they were lazy in the 0 – 2 defeat to Newcastle.
But the manager put forward fatigue following the extra time win against Spurs as a reason for the poor showing against Fulham.
Everton have fallen into a rut of losing at home to teams lower in the league and playing very well away to better teams.
This has cost Everton 15 winnable points. Points thrown away that would see them second in the table if those winnable points would have been taken.
Tonight we take on league leaders Manchester City at home.
It is strange that two of our few home victories this season have been against Chelsea and Arsenal.
It seems we play better at home against the better sides.
So I will reflect on this strange situation by selecting the starting eleven I would choose for tonight’s game.
Also reflect on the recent performances and form of the players for the various positions.
I expect to see Jordan Pickford brought back into the side tonight.
Being a Premier League goalkeeper is not easy. Kepa at Chelsea, recently Allison at Liverpool have all had horrendous patches of form.
However Tuchel and Klopp have stuck by and believed in their number one keepers.
Jordan Pickford is Carlo Ancelotti’s number one keeper and in Robin Olsen he has a keeper who can push Pickford to his best form.
I think Pickford’s shot stopping, distribution and kicking, just gives him the nod over Olsen.
So, I expect to see Pickford in the Everton goal tonight.
Here Everton have their biggest problem in my opinion.
The right hand side is where City will see Everton at it’s weakest. Seamus Coleman, who came on as a sub against Spurs on the right of midfield did a fantastic job. Though in his normal Right Back position has played poorly recently.
Mason Holgate has been chopped and changed from Right Back to Centre Back in recent games and suffered because of that.
I feel the constant changing of the back four has left all Everton defenders being a bit off just now. Players need to play a few games in a set position to get into a rhythm. There as been so much change recently.
I would bench Coleman and Holgate tonight and play Ben Godfrey at Right Back.
I expect to see Man City have a lot of the ball and I would play Godfrey.
I would play Keane and Mina. I think we will be forced back to defend quite deep and I would trust Michael and Yerry to have the most experience to deal with the game tonight.
The rotation recently has been both good and bad for each player. But I would expect both to put in a good shift tonight.
Lucas Digne seems to be getting back into his stride, following his recovery from injury.
Quality player who rises to the occasion against quality opposition.
We have three midfielders who are extremely talented footballers but who struggle to get around the pitch for 90 minutes and put the graft in that is essential for the intensity of the premier league.
Against Fulham playing James, Sigurdsson and Gomes together was a disaster.
It has to be one or at most two of these in the side at any one time.
None of these would appear in my midfield four tonight.
I would play Richarlison, Tom Davies, Allan and Doucouré as my four across midfield. Davies to play deeper mopping up to give Allan more freedom in transition.
In front of the four midfielders I would play James Rodriguez in a free role.
Just let him read the game as he sees it and make himself available as much as possible as the point of transition to attack.
I expect to see Josh King leading the line due to his pace and both Richarlison and Doucouré supporting attacks on the break.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin will not be rushed back for tonight’s game against City. Though Ancelotti has hinted he could be back for Saturday’s Derby game against Liverpool.
Richarlison scored two excellent goals against Spurs in the FA Cup game but then only had 4 touches of the ball against Fulham at the weekend.
Richarlison’s work rate and defensive side of his game will be very much needed tonight as will a positive attitude, which I hope he brings to the game.
We need Richarlison at his very best tonight.
In the absence of DCL to lead the line I see this as the ideal oppotunity to give Joshua King his first full start for Everton.
King’s pace could give James the ideal target for the passes to get beyond what will probably be a Man City high defensive line.
There should be opportunities for James and King to breach the City back line tonight.
My prediction is an Ancelotti tactically inspired performance:
Everton 2 – 2 Manchester City