Everton will host Manchester United in an important clash at Goodison Park this afternoon, and Frank Lampard must do everything he can to keep his team’s relegation fate in their hands by taking all three points from today.
Conceding their third consecutive defeat this afternoon could send the Toffees into the bottom three by the conclusion of the weekend if Burnley defeat Norwich City at Carrow Road on Sunday.
Despite the pressure mounting, Everton have received a triple boost as both Allan and Michael Keane return from suspension for the match today and Seamus Coleman is also available following a bout of illness which has ruled him out of the last two games.
Having these three experienced players available for selection again will definitely be a relief to Lampard as they take on a difficult challenge against Ralf Rangnick’s side in the early kick-off.
The injury table is unchanged for the fixture, with Yerry Mina, Nathan Patterson and Andros Townsend still unavailable, whilst Man United loanee Donny Van de Beek is ineligible for the fixture against his parent club.
With that in mind, this is how Football FanCast expect Everton to line up against their opponents at Goodison Park today…
Predicted XI: Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Godfrey, Kenny; Doucoure, Allan, Iwobi; Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin, Gordon
We predict that the Everton boss will make three changes to the team which lost to Burnley on Wednesday night, playing a 4-3-3 formation against the Red Devils.
We expect to see two changes in the back four to accommodate the return of Keane and Coleman, with Kenny moving into the left-back role to replace Vitaliy Mykolenko. That sees the captain resume duties at right-back, while Keane will be restored to the centre-back partnership alongside Ben Godfrey, taking the place of Jarrad Branthwaite.
One player we predict to be axed from the team today is Mason Holgate, who was labelled “poor” by Paul Robinson and endured a shocking performance against Burnley this week. The 25-year-old makes way for Allan to return following his three-game suspension.
The £120k-p/w Brazilian, who was hailed as “vital” by BT Sport commentator Darren Fletcher, has been a crucial component in Everton’s midfield this season, starting in the defensive role in all of their victories this season, so it is a no-brainer that he makes an instant return to the team this afternoon.
Lampard must capitalise on the advantage of playing at home for this fixture, especially given the Toffees’ dreadful away record, and will be hoping that the team can salvage one of their few remaining chances to secure safety in the Premier League for next season.