So we move on to a home fixture against Newcastle. Newcastle are very lacklustre at the moment, but they have been a little bit of a bogey team for Everton. We conceded a debatable penalty and lost 2-1 at Newcastle earlier this season, though Everton were greatly depleted that day missing a number of key players.
Also, last season in this fixture Everton went into the 90th minute of the game winning 2-0, and the game ended 2-2 with Goodison Park utterly gob-smacked.
In this strange season, home advantage without fans in the stadium means nothing. At home recently Everton have been playing in a way like the away side allowing the opposition most of the possession and very confident in defending deep.
This backfired against West Ham and Leeds six points dropped, also with a bit more adventure in going for a second goal against Leicester we may have had two more points right now.
Time to be bold in my opinion. I would be looking for a fast start against Newcastle and see if we can grab an early goal or two. Newcastle will come to Goodison to make it as dour an affair as possible, though it must be said that their shots tally in their last game against Leeds showed more adventure than in previous games.
I think it is time to rest Holgate and Godfrey. Well deserved opportunity to charge their batteries and be assured of their undoubted solidity in the Everton squad. Both being versatile enough to be called upon in at least three positions if called up to do so.
I would also bring in Robin Olsen for this game. It is pretty damning to cite Jordan Pickford’s instability against teams from the North East of England, in the context of his brain fart passage of play that cost Everton two points against Leicester earlier this week.
Sit this out Jordan and reflect.
My back four would be Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne. Time to get back to our strongest two overlapping full-backs and on the evidence of this season, strongest two centre-backs.
I would want to see a solid defensive performance enhanced by both Coleman and Digne showing their quality in breaking forward and supplying the deliveries into the box to cause mayhem.
I would play four in midfield Richarlison on the left combining with Digne to control defensively and develop attacks. With Iwobi and Coleman given the same roles on the right-hand side of the pitch.
I want to say a special word here about Tom Davies, who I would give the role of sitting in front of the two centre-backs in a holding role.
Tom takes a lot of stick from some supporters for not being “the answer” in midfield. I want Tom Davies in our squad for the time being to be an undystudy to Allan and for Ancelotti to get the most he can out of Tom in that role at number 6.
It must be remembered that it is this role he has filled for the England under 21’s and it seems Carlo Ancelotti has faith in Tom when calls he gives Tom that role.
He has in the manager’s opinion played adequately when called upon. So until the manager see’s things differently, great to see Tom Davies grow in confidence and feel a valued part of the squad, in the absence of Allan and Gbamin.
I would like to see Ancelotti continue to have faith in Tom for tomorrow’s game.
It will be great to see Doucouré back in the side tomorrow. He brings so much energy box to box and seems to cover every blade of grass.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin up front has an excellent scoring record against Newcastle.
I would also expect to see James given his free role just behind DCL.
The game will be decided on just how much Newcastle can stop James from playing.
It could be a stunning display like last week against Sheffield Wednesday in the Cup or a more shackled performance like that against Leicester, were he nonetheless scored a worldy in the process.
Somewhere in between will surely give Everton three points tomorrow. COYB