Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton travel to Sheffield United on Saturday night looking to bounce back from their Carabao Cup exit, but will be without a handful of key players at Bramall Lane.
Summer signing James Rodriguez missed the midweek quarter-final clash with Manchester United through a calf injury, and will again sit out on Boxing Day plus Monday’s trip to Manchester City with Everton playing twice in 48 hours.
Ancelotti only intends to make wholesale changes to his starting line-up when the Toffees visit Pep Guardiola’s side but may be forced into altering the XI which lost to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Red Devils, with Everton looking tired in defeat and potentially losing Richarlison through the Premier League’s concussion protocol.
So, with changes on the cards for the Blues’ trip to Bramall Lane, here’s a line-up Ancelotti could name away to Chris Wilder’s winless Sheffield United side…
Ancelotti confirmed ahead of the Carabao Cup clash with Manchester United that he would rotate his goalkeeper options, with Robin Olsen starting over Jordan Pickford, though noting that whoever opened the midweek meeting would be rested against Sheffield United.
His decision will now see Pickford return on Saturday night, as the England international continues his efforts to put October’s Merseyside Derby horror behind him that saw Jermaine Beckford suggest the 26-year-old, who reportedly earns £100,000-a-week, once again proved to be a “dangerous” player.
Among the few who looked tired against the Red Devils was the returning Seamus Coleman following his spell out with a hamstring strain, and will likely find Mason Holgate returns to duties at right-back after an impressive showing in last week’s win over Arsenal.
Andre Gomes featured against Manchester United but struggled to find a grove, with the Portuguese sloppy in possession, opposed to progressing play and slow in the press, ultimately seeing the former Barcelona man replaced by Tom Davies in the 58th-minute.
Bernard had also been introduced to the action early in the second half after Everton’s club doctor instructed Ancelotti to withdraw Richarlison after an accidental elbow to the head, yet was often ineffective and should see academy graduate Anthony Gordon start in place of the Brazilian should he be ruled unavailable.
Ben Godfrey, Yerry Mina and Michael Keane should all see their names remain in the starting line-up, alongside Alex Iwobi, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, with Everton short on defenders with Lucas Digne still out after ankle surgery.