The Toffees boss had hoped to see Calvert-Lewin return from an abductor muscle problem to lead his side’s charge, after missing Monday’s goalless draw with Brighton & Hove Albion despite travelling to the Amex Stadium.
The Seagulls affair was only the fourth Premier League fixture that the 14-goal frontman had sat out this term, following spells on the sidelines with separate hamstring injuries in January and February.
Ancelotti fielded Richarlison and James Rodriguez at striker but failed to see either deliver the needed impact to beat Graham Potter’s south coast side, as the Brazilian struggled for service and the Colombian found himself marked out of the game.
Ancelotti will now need to see his forwards step up if Everton are to beat Tottenham on Friday night and move above the north Londoners into seventh place, after confirming that Calvert-Lewin will be absent once again.
“Available for the game are Jordan Pickford, Allan, Joshua King and Andre Gomes. In the next week, we are going to have Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Yerry Mina, Fabian Delph and Bernard [back],” the Blues boss said on Thursday.
“It will be longer for [Jean-Philippe] Gbamin and [Abdoulaye] Doucoure. Gbamin doesn’t need surgery, but he will be out for at least eight weeks. The plan for him is to be back for the start of the new season.”
Calvert-Lewin returning next week could see the striker be made available for Everton’s trip to Arsenal on Friday 23rd, who currently trail the Merseyside outfit by three points and having played a game more.
But Ancelotti will be gutted to be facing Tottenham without his top-scorer, who has 19 goals and four assists over 32 games in all competitions this season, knowing his side struggles to play to the same rhythm without the 24-year-old on the field.
Calvert-Lewin gives Everton a focal point in attack and a teammate for Richarlison to bounce off, while offering an aerial presence in the opposition’s penalty area.
No Toffees player contests (8.7) or wins (4.4) as many aerial duels per Premier League game than Calvert-Lewin has this season, with left-back Lucas Digne contesting the second-most (4.5) and Mina winning the second-most (3), per WhoScored.
Richarlison led the game for aerial duels contested against Brighton on Monday with six, but only two of those challenges came in an offensive situation – one less than Digne (3).
Calvert-Lewin’s ability to occupy defender’s thoughts is just one reason why Rio Ferdinand has lauded the England international and claimed that players would fear coming up against him.
“I’ve watched a lot of Everton this year and he’s one that unnerves defenders,” Ferdinand said on his FIVE YouTube channel. “He’s not one you want to play against week in, week out. He’s aggressive, he attacks the ball.”
It will be a huge blow for Everton’s hopes of beating Tottenham to be without Calvert-Lewin, in what is almost a must-win match if Ancelotti is to see the Goodison Park natives qualify for a European competition this season.
AND in other news, an “outstanding” talent is keen to join Everton this summer, but there’s a hitch…