Everton have suffered another injury setback in their preparation for their Premier League encounter at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea this evening.
In Wednesday’s press conference, Rafa Benitez revealed several players have joined the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Yerry Mina and Tom Davies on the club’s treatment table after picking up fresh issues.
The most concerning of all, though, will be the setback key forward Richarlison has incurred, with a calf problem set to keep him sidelined for Everton’s trip to west London.
“Richarlison is injured maybe because of overload,” confirmed Benitez. “We don’t have too many, now we are trying to manage the problems of the past. As soon as we have key players injured, we have problems.”
The Spanish tactician then provided concerning updates over the status of experienced trio Lucas Digne, Andros Townsend and Seamus Coleman.
Benitez said: “Lucas Digne is a good player, an important player for us. Yesterday we did a training session where he was in the 11 starters, today he said he’s ill and he’s not available for tomorrow.
“In terms of time, no (updates). Townsend has a broken bone, in terms of Seamus he was pushing. He has a swollen foot, we are assessing him and will decide tomorrow.”
News that Richarlison will be unavailable for selection against Chelsea will leave Benitez and the supporters feeling devastated, given his importance to the first-team and the current injury saga engulfing the club.
In his 11 top-flight appearances this term, the Brazil international has bagged three goals and provided two assists, including pivotal strikes in victories over Southampton and Arsenal.
And his underlying numbers are further evidence of Richarlison’s influence over Benitez’s struggling side.
As per WhoScored, the South American has averaged 1.5 shots per league game, 1.2 key passes and 0.8 dribbles, while also winning 1.5 aerial duels.
What makes things worse is Calvert-Lewin’s absence and Salomon Rondon’s struggles in front of goal too. The Venezuelan did find the net at Selhurst Park, but he had failed to score in the royal blue before that clash, leading us to believe that Everton could be in bother in offensive areas on Thursday evening.
Therefore, the 24-year-old’s enforced absence will be another significant blow for Everton as they attempt to turn their season around, leaving Benitez with few options in the final third of the pitch.