Everton travel to AFC Bournemouth tonight in what will be the first of two meetings at the Vitality Stadium this week. This particular clash will occur in the EFL Cup, with Saturday being the last Premier League game before the World Cup commences.
The Toffees will be hoping to end this portion of the season with two wins against a Cherries side in poor form, having lost all of their last four games.
It seems like Gary O’Neil’s magic has finally worn off.
Frank Lampard has a few injuries to contend with, as well as the weekend’s fixture which arguably holds more weight for a side now just two points from the relegation zone.
With that in mind, here’s the Everton XI Football FanCast are predicting for tonight’s match…
Jordan Pickford is expected to get a well-earned rest, with Asmir Begovic a fine deputy to take his place.
The cup match offers opportunities for players just recovering from injury, and after two substitute appearances on his road to a comeback, Nathan Patterson is now expected to start.
He will flank Yerry Mina, who Lampard confirmed was in contention for this game after recovering from his opening-day injury. The Colombian “leader”, as dubbed by Dominic King, will partner James Tarkowski, who was ever-present for Burnley.
Ruben Vinagre is expected to get a rare start on the left-hand side of defence at the expense of Vitaliy Mykolenko.
Due to injuries to Idrissa Gueye and Amadou Onana in their last game, James Garner will finally be handed a start alongside Alex Iwobi. Tom Davies will earn a recall, acting as the man to do the dirty work in the absence of their Senegalese stalwart.
Having spoken about hoping to give some youngsters an opportunity, the “outstanding” Stanley Mills – in the words of coach Paul Tait – could replace Anthony Gordon on the wing given the 19-year-old’s fine performances for the youth sides.
Demarai Gray is expected to continue on the opposite flank while Neal Maupay is the only real option to replace Dominic Calvert-Lewin in attack.
He was another unfortunate casualty in their clash with the Foxes and is expected to now be out until the World Cup.