Everton host Crystal Palace at Goodison Park this afternoon and Frank Lampard will be hoping that his team can perform in front of their home crowd after suffering three consecutive defeats in the Premier League.
The Toffees are now just one point off the relegation zone, and should they lose they could even fall into the bottom three by the end of play tomorrow night, although a win could push the Merseysiders as high as 12th in the table.
In terms of injuries, there were no new problems reported by the Everton boss, with Yerry Mina, Nathan Patterson, Andros Townsend and Ben Godfrey all remaining unavailable for the clash against the Eagles.
However, there has been some good news in terms of recovery progress. Patterson could be back as early as next week following an ankle injury, with Lampard saying of the Scottish defender in his press conference on Friday afternoon: “He’s progressing, he’s training with us and will be fit hopefully for next week.”
The 44-year-old also gave a timeframe on Ben Godfrey’s potential return date, stating: “I think it might be tough for Ben to be back before the World Cup, because of the injury and because of how quickly that time is coming – November 12 we break up. We’ll look at the best plan around that.”
With all that considered, here is how Football Fancast predicts Everton will line up against Crystal Palace today…
We predict that there will be three changes to the team which lost to Newcastle United earlier this week, with Lampard sticking to his 4-3-3 formation.
The first change we expect is for the Everton manager to make a slight tweak to his back four as he includes Ruben Vinagre in a Premier League starting line-up for the first time since coming to the club and drops Vitaliy Mykolenko to the bench in an otherwise unchanged defensive line, with James Tarkowski, Conor Coady and Seamus Coleman keeping their places in the team.
The second change we expect to see is James Garner coming into midfield to replace Idrissa Gueye alongside Amadou Onana and Alex Iwobi, freshening up the central roles slightly to offer a deeper attacking threat and possibly injecting more creativity from the former Manchester United midfielder.
The third and final change we expect to see is Anthony Gordon losing his place in the team following a number of reckless performances which have seen the winger become more of a hindrance than a help, picking up the most yellow cards in the Premier League with six bookings in just 780 minutes of action.
We predict that Dwight McNeil will reprise his role on the right flank in place of Gordon, lining up alongside Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Demarai Gray to complete the front three.
The £20m winger – who was dubbed a “real talent” by his former Burnley boss Sean Dyche – found the net against Southampton and has been a reliable performer in the wide forward role. He has created two big chances this season, making two tackles and completing 1.2 dribbles per game, along with winning 53% of his duels across 11 appearances.
There is a great opportunity to freshen up the starting team with the depth that Lampard has, so he should utilise the fullness of the squad that he has at his disposal to give Everton the boost they need to take all three points against Palace today.