Everton have secured safety in the Premier League ahead of their final game of the season after a difficult relegation battle and this afternoon the Toffees will travel to North London to play Arsenal.
Frank Lampard will be going into his first comfortable game since arriving at Goodison Park in January and can go into the clash against top four chasing Arsenal knowing that he has successfully completed the great escape from relegation to the Championship this season.
In terms of injury updates, Fabian Delph and Yerry Mina have both been confirmed as unavailable for the final game, and with Delph out of contract this summer it means that his outing against Watford may have been his last performance in an Everton shirt.
Andros Townsend and Nathan Patterson remain sidelined with long term injury issues, whilst Salomon Rondon will continue to see out his three-match suspension making him unavailable for selection for today’s game.
With that being said, this is how Football FanCast expects Everton to line up this afternoon…
We expect that Lampard will make just two changes to the team that beat Crystal Palace earlier this week, changing to a 4-3-3 formation.
The first change we predict is the introduction of Anwar El Ghazi who hasn’t been given the opportunity to show what he can offer to the Toffees since he joined on loan from Aston Villa in January, playing just 11 minutes over the last five months.
El Ghazi who was hailed “remarkable” by pundit Adrian Clarke, will unlikely feature on the wing as Anthony Gordon and Richarlison are likely to keep their spots, but could appear in an advanced midfield role if the Everton boss decides to give the player a chance to make his mark, replacing Andre Gomes.
We expect 28-year-old Gomes who was dubbed a “walking red card” by Greg O’Keeffe to lose his spot in the selection to make way for Donny van de Beek’s return to the side after being out with injury issues since the beginning of March, and will play alongside Alex Iwobi to complete the midfield three.
With safety secured it would be the perfect opportunity for Lampard to give opportunities to players that have been rarely seen but he will also want to end the season on a high by causing an upset at the Emirates against Arsenal who will be desperate to take all three points from the clash to keep their Champions League dreams alive for next season.
AND in other news: Lampard plotting Everton bid for £158k-p/w dynamo, he’d be a “joy to watch”