Carlo Ancelotti’s hopes of Everton qualifying for Europe are fading fast after a run of four Premier League games without a win ahead of hosting Tottenham Hotspur on Friday night.
The Toffees were forced to settle for a point at Brighton & Hove Albion on Monday and lost centre-back Yerry Mina to an adductor injury. He joined top-scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the treatment room, and he too remains out for the visit of Jose Mourinho’s side.
Ancelotti had hoped to see Calvert-Lewin return from an abductor muscle problem for the Spurs affair, with Everton now eighth in the Premier League table and seven points shy of the top-four after a run of two defeats and two draws.
But while Calvert-Lewin will again be missing, the Italian has confirmed that four players will return from injuries. So, with that in mind, here’s a potential line-up the Blues could field with three changes from Monday night’s XI…
With Calvert-Lewin on the sidelines, Ancelotti will hope to see stronger offensive displays from James Rodriguez and Richarlison after the pair failed to thrive while leading the line against Brighton.
Everton struggled for creativity for most of the game at the Amex Stadium and may look to atone for the issue by playing Lucas Digne and Alex Iwobi on the wings, with Gylfi Sigurdsson dropping to the bench having been too passive, too often on the south coast.
Ancelotti can be expected to make do without three players occupying the central midfield positions after confirming that Allan will be fit to return and partner Tom Davies, who ran himself into the ground trying to control the engine room against the Seagulls.
Andre Gomes could come in to join Allan and Davies with the Portuguese also passed fit following a hamstring injury, but is likely to have to accept a back-up role alongside the returning Joshua King while Abdoulaye Doucoure, Bernard and Fabian Delph remain out.
Digne moving into midfield to take up the wide-left position he has occupied on seven occasions this season would see Ben Godfrey return to left-back, where Ancelotti claimed “he played really well” earlier in the campaign.
Mina’s absence will also be expected to see Mason Holgate and Michael Keane lock down the central-defensive positions with Godfrey and Seamus Coleman at full-back, marking the first time that back-four have started a Premier League fixture together in those positions.
Ancelotti is also likely to make a change in goal after confirming that Jordan Pickford has overcome an abdominal injury, which had kept the England international – who Trevor Sinclair has praised for having “excellent” reflexes – out of his side’s last two league games.
Robin Olsen opened both the 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace and goalless stalemate with Brighton but has not featured in the league when Pickford has been fit since his Everton debut against Leicester City during a 2-0 win at the King Power Stadium in December.
AND in other news, an “outstanding” talent is keen to join Everton this summer, but there’s a hitch…