Carlo Ancelotti must unleash Bernard on Manchester City with the Everton manager considering changes for Monday night’s Premier League meeting.
The Toffees welcome Pep Guardiola’s Citizens to Goodison Park looking to maintain their position in second in the table after edging a nervy 1-0 win over Sheffield United at the weekend, but would fall behind the Etihad Stadium natives with a defeat.
Everton are without a win over Manchester City since January 2017 when a Ronald Koeman led side stormed to a 4-0 victory, and any hopes of claiming a first win in seven games will have to come without star forward Richarlison in the line-up.
Ancelotti has confirmed that Richarlison will miss the Monday night affair through the Premier League’s concussion protocol following his collision with Manchester United’s Eric Bailly in last week’s Carabao Cup quarter-final, which ruled the Brazilian out of Saturday’s clash with Sheffield United.
Anthony Gordon stood in for the missing Richarlison at Bramall Lane to earn his first top-flight start of the campaign, but struggled to find a groove in the game to work one-on-one situations with the Blades swamping the academy graduate.
Ancelotti ultimately saw enough from the floundering 19-year-old to replace the teen talent 10 minutes into the second half, with Bernard introduced from the bench for only his fifth league outing this term.
Bernard had been an unused substitute in five of Everton’s last six Premier League fixtures following his sole start of the season at home to Manchester United, while featuring for the final half-hour in the Carabao Cup loss to the Red Devils after opening roles in the second and third rounds.
Ancelotti must see a reason to hand Bernard his first starting call in any competition since November 7 with the Italian considering changes whilst Richarlison is still sidelined, having looked lively throughout his time on the field at Sheffield United.
Following his introduction early into the second-half, Bernard recorded 30 touches at Bramall Lane, with which he played 16 accurate passes, won three of five ground duels, took one shot, made a successful tackle and won his sole attempted dribble, per SofaScore.
The Brazilian, who Danny Mills believes is blessed with “fabulous ability on the ball”, also provided a deft delivery into Abdoulaye Doucoure for the Frenchman to tee Gylfi Sigurdsson up for the Iceland international’s match-winning strike.
Ancelotti will stand to benefit far more from Bernard and his experience against Manchester City than to see Gordon struggle again, even though the Italian is reportedly likely to make the former AS Roma target available for a January transfer.