Every Premier League game has become important for Frank Lampard and his Everton side as they battle for safety this season so that their top-flight status can be maintained.
Tonight they will host Newcastle United at Goodison Park in a rescheduled fixture that gives them the opportunity to gain distance from the relegation zone.
The Toffees boss revealed in his pre-match press conference that Dominic Calvert-Lewin is still uncertain for the game and will be assessed further ahead of the clash, with the decision on his selection going down to the wire.
Yerry Mina, Tom Davies and Fabian Delph remain on the injury table, and Jonjoe Kenny will be unavailable for selection following a one-match ban after receiving a red card over two yellow-carded fouls against Wolves.
With that being said, this is how Football FanCast expects Everton to line up their team against Newcastle United this evening…
We predict that Lampard will make just two changes in his team that lost to Wolves last weekend, but will switch formation from 3-4-3 to 4-4-3, matching Eddie Howe’s favoured set-up for the Magpies.
The first player we expect to see integrated into the team is Allan, who may return to the midfield, alongside Donny Van de Beek and Abdoulaye Doucoure. The Brazilian national has proven time and time again he offers fantastic attributes in the midfield over the course of the season so far, playing the full 90 minutes in every single one of the six victories that Everton have tallied.
According to SofaScore, the 31-year-old makes 2.8 tackles and 1.1 clearances on average per game, has an 87% pass success rate in his own half and is successful in the majority of his dribbles (68%) in his 22 Premier League appearances so far, proving that he is effective in that central position in midfield.
The second player we expect to be given their chance against Newcastle United is Anwar El Ghazi, who hasn’t had the opportunity to start a game yet and has only had 11 minutes of game time for the club since he joined in January. But with the team failing to score in their last four league games Lampard could put a fresh perspective in the attacking line.
The £9m-rated gem who was hailed “unstoppable” by Alan Hutton, has already scored against the Tyneside club this season when he netted the second goal in Aston Villa’s 2-0 victory over Newcastle at Villa Park in August, and the Toffees boss will be hoping that he can emulate his performance tonight.
With El Ghazi’s inclusion in the side, it means that Lampard will need to drop an attacker from his front line, and we expect that Demarai Gray will be the player to lose out in the starting line-up for this game.
The £42k-per-week forward who was dubbed a “big player” by Lampard, could be the man that loses out with Anthony Gordon and Richarlison holding their spots in the team to make way for a chance to be given to another offensive face.
Ultimately, Everton cannot afford any room for error and must impose themselves effectively on this Newcastle side this evening, as they are currently only safe from the drop zone by goal difference.
This game in hand over their relegation competitors is the perfect opportunity for Lampard to take in front of the home fans at Goodison Park.