Carlo Ancelotti has a number of injury concerns as Everton strive to get back to winning ways against Manchester City in the FA Cup this Saturday after succumbing to successive Premier League defeats.
The Goodison Park natives were beaten by Chelsea and Burnley in the last two weeks in a double blow to their hopes of claiming a top four finish, but they could book a date at Wembley with a win over Pep Guardiola’s Sky Blues in the quarter-final tie.
Ancelotti has confirmed that the Toffees will be without regular first-choice goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and his understudy Robin Olsen after both were sidelined with abdominal muscle injuries, leaving academy prospect Joao Virginia as his sole option between the sticks.
The 21-year-old talent is unlikely to be the only change from the XI which lost to the Clarets, though. With that in mind, here’s a potential line-up which Ancelotti may field against Man City tonight…
Virginia entered the action as a late first half substitute to replace Pickford against Burnley to earn his Premier League debut, and will now come in for only his third senior Everton appearance against the runaway top-flight leaders Manchester City.
Ancelotti could look to better protect the Portugal under-21 international with a return to a five-man defence and a recall for Yerry Mina after the Colombian returned to the bench last Saturday following three weeks out due to a calf injury sustained against the Sky Blues last month.
Coleman starting would be expected to see Mason Holgate removed from the line-up after replacing the 24-year-old against Burnley, as he failed to provide his team with any real width and earned a four out of 10 match rating from the Liverpool Echo due to wayward crosses – the lowest score given.
Andre Gomes may also be removed to accommodate the return to a five-man defence and a start for £18m-rated Mina beside Ben Godfrey and Michael Keane, as the Portuguese often struggled to match the pace of the game against Burnley when he was on the ball.
Alex Iwobi had been given the opportunity to feature in his preferred central midfield role against Burnley after he seemingly hit out on social media at being played out of position earlier this month.
However, his involvement from the centre only lasted half an hour before Ancelotti returned the Nigeria international to the wing, and will be expected to feature from the bench against Manchester City.
AND in other news, Everton are monitoring a £17m ace dubbed the next Erling Haaland…