Everton face a difficult challenge today as they travel to the Etihad to play Premier League Champions, Manchester City.
Rafa Benitez’s side have been plagued with inconsistent performances, with just four wins from their first eleven games, which has now put the Merseyside club outside of the top half of the table in 11th.
A number of injuries have played their part in Everton’s slow start this season, with Dominic Calvert Lewin, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Yerry Mina and Richarlison all suffering with injuries in the last three months.
Luckily, Richarlison is now available for selection after returning from injury a few weeks ago, with the Brazilian international being left out of their most recent World Cup Qualifiers to focus on his fitness, he should be raring to go.
However, one player that was thought to be back in the side this weekend after being spotted in training, has been ruled out by the Spanish boss in his pre match press conference, where he confirmed four players including Mina would not be available against Man City.
Mina returned to training over the international break, with Everton taking to Instagram to confirm the centre back’s return.
The caption simply read; “Return of the King.”
The setback in defence will be gutting for Benitez and a big blow to his plans, as the centre-back has offered important defensive play in his time at the club.
Echo Everton reporter, Adam Jones, spoke on The Royal Blues podcast about Mina’s positive impact on the side and offered an interesting statistic that proves Mina is essential to Everton;
“Sky Sports put up some stats about how Everton have played in the last two years without Yerry Mina compared to the results they’ve got with him. I think it’s a 57% win percentage with Mina and that drops to 24% when he’s not in the side.
“We can speak a lot about Mina’s effectiveness and how much he can keep himself fit but it’s statistics like that which prove he’s Everton’s best centre-back when he’s on his game.”
The injury blow is exacerbated by Sunday’s opposition as they play a City attack full of goals. Without Mina, therefore, the scoreline might not look pretty come full time.
Benitez will be hoping to reintroduce key players over the next few weeks as the team goes on a run of difficult games, facing Chelsea, Arsenal and a fierce Merseyside derby against Liverpool in their upcoming fixtures before Christmas.
Picking up points where possible and getting comfortably inside the top half of the table will be the ultimate goal for the manager in the last few weeks of 2021.
In other news: Calvert-Lewin can unlock Rafa’s Everton revival