Everton have no new injuries ahead of visiting Burnley in Saturday’s lunchtime Premier League kick-off, but Carlo Ancelotti must make two changes against Sean Dyche’s side at Turf Moor.
The Toffees travel to Lancashire striving to bounce back from a 1-0 loss at home to Championship title-holders Leeds United last time out, as their torrid run of form continued with just one win in their last six top-flight fixtures.
But Everton could still move back within the top-four places with a win over Burnley, who have won just once all season and sit above basement boys Sheffield United with the division’s third-worst defensive record having conceded 17 times in nine games.
Ancelotti will be eager to see his side deal further damage to the Clarets’ record this weekend and has confirmed Seamus Coleman and Lucas Digne are his only absentees through injury.
But, if the Italian is to win at a ground the Blues have only won at twice in their last 10 visits, he will have to make changes. So, with that in mind, here’s a predicted line-up the Toffees could name at Turf Moor on Saturday…
Despite conceding the game-winning goal when Raphinha let rip from range, goalkeeper Jordan Pickford enjoyed a strong performance at home to Leeds last time out with five saves, one high claim, a 100% runs out success rate and 13 accurate long balls, per SofaScore.
Pickford’s display between the posts saw him lauded by Aston Villa hero Gabby Agbonlahor, who praised the England international’s “strong personality” for not allowing the relentless criticism following his collision with Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk to affect his performances.
Everton have not kept a clean sheet in the Premier League since the opening day of the season when Ancelotti oversaw a 1-0 win over table-toppers Tottenham Hotspur, while allowing six goals in their last three games, meaning the pressure will be on Pickford to deliver again if he wishes to avoid being benched for AS Roma loanee Robin Olsen.
Ancelotti, meanwhile, will be expected to name an unchanged central defensive pairing of Mason Holgate, Michael Keane and Ben Godfrey at Burnley with the trio recording five, six and four clearances respectively against Leeds, while blocking one, two and two shots and recording two, two and one interceptions, per SofaScore.
Holgate was also the only one of Everton’s defenders to be dribbled past by a Whites player, while Godfrey won all five of his duels.
Ancelotti faces a selection headache at full-back, however, with Coleman and Digne still out, having struggled to see Tom Davies and Alex Iwobi impress against Leeds when fielded in unfamiliar surroundings.
Iwobi lost possession nine times, won just one duel, misplaced each of his two crosses, failed to register a shot on goal and offered one tackle before being replaced in the 67th-minute, per SofaScore, while Davies struggled on the opposing side with two tackles and 11 accurate passes before his early exit despite creating a big chance to score.
Niels Nkounkou, who his agent Yvan Le Mee describes as a “strong, powerful, technical and very fast” defender, should expect to start in place of Iwobi at Burnley after Ancelotti discussed the Frenchman’s omission from the squad to face Leeds.
“Nkounkou was not in the squad because I have 11 players, I decided to put Iwobi on the left. The squad is really big,” the Italian said, via quotes by the Liverpool Echo. “He’s still young, he needs more experience, he needs to work more. But I am honestly satisfied for what he is doing. He will have time in the next game because we have a lot of games.”
Ancelotti awarded Nkounkou his Premier League debut at Newcastle United last month, while favouring the 20-year-old in all three of Everton’s Carabao Cup fixtures thus far this season.
Ancelotti faces more debate over who starts at right-back, having so far only trusted Jonjoe Kenny with playing 77 minutes in the Premier League since his return from a season-long loan with Bundesliga side FC Schalke 04.
But the Italian tactician faces less question marks over his midfield and offensive options with Dominic Calvert-Lewin the top-flight’s top goalscorer with 10 to his name, while James Rodriguez ranks third for big chances created (six) and fourth for key passes (24), per SofaScore.
Summer signing Allan also ranks second only to Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish (83) for ground duels won (64) by any Premier League player thus far this term, and Richarlison registers the seventh-most successful dribbles per game (2.57) despite missing three fixtures through suspension.