Everton will strive to get back to winning ways at home to Burnley this Saturday, but Carlo Ancelotti is facing a wealth of injury concerns ahead of the Clarets’ visit to Goodison Park.
The Toffees fell to their third defeat in six Premier League games with a 2-0 loss away to top four rivals Chelsea on Monday night, to now sit four points down on the Blues in the race for Champions League qualification.
Ancelotti was already without summer signing Abdoulaye Doucoure at Stamford Bridge due to a fractured foot, which the Italian now fears could see the midfielder ruled out the next eight to 10 weeks.
While Ancelotti has given some more positive updates on others, Everton continue to face fitness concerns elsewhere in their squad. With that in mind, here’s a potential line-up which could face Burnley on Saturday evening, with a couple of changes from the Chelsea game…
James Rodriguez has missed Everton’s last three Premier League games after sitting out Monday’s defeat to Chelsea with a calf issue, and is not expected to return until after the March international break.
“James had problems on his calf in the games against Manchester United and Liverpool. His calf became tight. To avoid this tightness, we prefer to keep him out to recover properly for when he is ready to start to train with the team and play at his best,” Ancelotti said on Friday.
Gylfi Sigurdsson took over the creative duties in the Toffees’ midfield at Stamford Bridge but is a doubt to face Burnley, having sustained a knock on his ankle in south-west London.
Tom Davies could come in to replace Sigurdsson against Burnley after returning to fitness, while Yerry Mina and Seamus Coleman also returned to training this week after sitting out Everton’s last four and three top-flight fixtures respectively.
Davies played the final half an hour against Chelsea for his 17th Premier League outing of the campaign, while last starting a fixture in February’s 2-0 win over Liverpool, after which the £14.4m-rated midfielder earned vivid praise from BBC Sport’s Phil McNulty.
“Davies had lost his way after a promising start to his Everton career. But Ancelotti’s sympathetic approach and faith in the midfielder has been rewarded with superb form in recent weeks,” McNulty noted following the Merseyside derby. “He was top class again here, showing energy, composure and willingness to get involved in the physical exchanges.”
Mina will likely have to wait for his 24th appearance of the season across all competitions, after seeing a central defensive grouping of Ben Godfrey, Michael Keane and Mason Holgate keep three clean sheets in the four Premier League matches which the Colombian sat out.
Coleman could come in for his 21st outing of the campaign in place of Alex Iwobi in the de facto right-wing-back role after the Nigerian forward struggled to find a groove at either end of the field against Chelsea with even a modicum of success.
Top scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin will hope to end his goal drought against Burnley after a passive performance at Stamford Bridge, with the 23-year-old not adding to his 13 goals for the Premier League season in four games.
AND in other news, Everton face a £33.5m asking price to sign a sought-after 24-year-old talent…