With last weekend's draw at Manchester City having lifted optimism again following the disappointments against Bournemouth and Crystal Palace, Everton travel to Burnley looking to further their case for European qualification in Ronald Koeman's first season in charge.
The Blues have gone three Premier League games without a win but remain well-placed four points off the top ahead of the trip to Turf Moor where expectation will be high that they can pick up three points that would put them back in the mix among the front-runners.
Leighton Baines is set to miss out again with a hamstring strain after feeling the effects from a behind-closed-doors friendly and might not be back in contention until next month. Assuming Koeman doesn't alter his formation to a back three, that should see Bryan Oviedo continuing at left back in an unchanged back four.
It's midfield where there might be at least one change, with the manager hinting in his pre-match press conference that Ross Barkley could be recalled after missing out against City. In that instance, Gerard Deulofeu or Tom Cleverley are the likelier candidates to make way. Aaron Lennon, meanwhile, is fit again but is unlikely to feature in the starting XI.
Burnley are an unpredictable side and have been a bit of a mixed bag at home so far this season, losing to Swansea and Arsenal but beating Liverpool and Watford handily. They were beaten soundly at Southampton last weekend, with a consolation penalty giving the 3-1 scoreline a more respectable air than would have been the case had the Saints held on to a three-goal advantage.
Sean Dyche's side can be physical and uncompromising when they're in the mood, though, and in Tom Heaton they have a highly-regarded goalkeeper who is starting to attract more attention from bigger clubs. They will be without experienced Belgian midfielder Stefan Defour, though, after he suffered a hamstring injury last weekend which will weaken their potency in midfield.
On paper, Everton should be too strong for the Clarets but the onus will be on them to prove their worth as top-four contenders by following up the draw at the Etihad with victory.
Referee: Mike Jones
Last time: Burnley 1 - 3 Everton
Predicted line-up: Stekelenburg, Coleman, Jagielka, Williams, Oviedo, Barry, Gueye, Cleverley, Barkley, Bolasie, Lukaku
Full coverage: ToffeeWeb match page
Reader Comments (46)
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1 Posted 21/10/2016 at 22:13:58
2 Posted 21/10/2016 at 22:30:56
3 Posted 21/10/2016 at 22:39:44
Everton are due to win again which doesn't mean they will but, after the strong outing at the Etihad, we all hope better times are ahead.
4 Posted 21/10/2016 at 22:58:07
5 Posted 21/10/2016 at 23:04:24
Maybe some folk can stop saying we've had an easy start as a quarter of our games have come against teams in the top 3 and we didn't lose either of those matches. In fact, half of our matches have been against opposition currently in the top half of the table. So it's a fair run of games, and we're just 4 points off top place.
There are obvious weak points in the team, and we aren't likely to play the top teams off the park, but if we can continue to be hard to beat, then we'll be challenging top 6 come Christmas. Hopefully then we'll add some much needed quality in January.
6 Posted 22/10/2016 at 00:20:16
8 Posted 22/10/2016 at 01:29:20
9 Posted 22/10/2016 at 01:49:45
Holgate, Jagielka, Williams;
Coleman, Gueye, Barkley, Barry, Oviedo;
Bolasie, Lukaku, Mirallas.
Cleverley and Deulofeu back to the bench but I think Deulofeu will come on in the second half.
I watched Burnley beat the other lot. They defended really well and were good on the break. A well disciplined side from what I saw that deserved their victory.
This will be no walk in the park but I think we have the players to break them down.
10 Posted 22/10/2016 at 01:59:03
11 Posted 22/10/2016 at 02:19:07
In the context of a season that lasts until May, how is a "hard fought point" at title favourites Manchester City "worthless" if we don't win a "must win game" at Burnley in erm October?
A point away to City is a good point regardless of when it comes in the season.
Yes, I would expect us to beat Burnley, but if we don't, then it's not the same as Wimbledon 1994. That constitutes must win.
No disrespect mate, I just dislike the Sky -influenced "season is decided in September / October" mentality. In my unfortunately experienced opinion, take no notice of league or results (less extreme cases) until after Christmas. That's when you get a feel for where you really are.
12 Posted 22/10/2016 at 02:20:30
13 Posted 22/10/2016 at 03:10:19
I hope Koeman doesn't play negative (as in defensive) against Burnley, and plays an attacking formation. If we are to get a top-seven finish, then you have to go for the win against sides like Burnley.
14 Posted 22/10/2016 at 03:33:57
'A point away to City is a good point regardless of when it comes in the season.'
Hmm, you may dislike the way Sky drum up the football season to suit their own agenda... but it seems your own views are equally baffling.
How about we just take the point we won last week and try to add to it this week?
15 Posted 22/10/2016 at 03:39:38
I meant that a point against Man City is a good point regardless of when it comes in the season (in response to an earlier gloomy perspective on the result). And from personal (years) of experience, the league never settles down until December / January time. Didn't mean to baffle you, just my opinion.
Paul, get your point but don't think we'll have to play against many teams like Man City this season!!
16 Posted 22/10/2016 at 04:02:51
17 Posted 22/10/2016 at 04:31:00
18 Posted 22/10/2016 at 05:27:13
With Farhad has come new rhetoric and renewed optimism. The City game was useful in showing where we need to improve (pretty much in every department). The squad will be added to, and future games with City will be less one-sided.
19 Posted 22/10/2016 at 05:43:38
It's a glaring problem that we have, that has been discussed ad infinitum on here where does the creativity in midfield come from?
Back to the armchair (meekly)....
20 Posted 22/10/2016 at 05:45:53
We need to be winning this if we want to try and be in the mix. And after recent dropped points (apart from the excellent point against Man City), we need a nice 3 points to get some momentum back on track.
Burnley are decent at home though, so it will be tough. But let's get at them! COYB.
21 Posted 22/10/2016 at 05:53:05
Credit where it's due; three of our back four were struggling to live with them, but we dug in, we showed the sort of resolve we have been screaming for for two years. This is clearly where Koeman has began the rebuild... and rightly so.
When Lukaku found himself one on one with Clichy, he made sure it stayed that way, by driving right at him he made sure the chasing defenders could not recover, he went by Clichy as if he wasn't there. He needs to keep doing that. I hope Bolasie, Deulofeu and Mirallas were all paying attention. We have got to stop fucking about with it when the counter punch is on.
We are not equipped for the slow patient build-up. The four players mentioned (plus Barkley for that matter) were born to counter-punch. This Burnley side will take a few scalps up there this season, It would be foolish to not afford them the respect they deserve.
Same collective resolve as last week please but, when it breaks for us, let's drive like we mean it.
22 Posted 22/10/2016 at 07:35:59
With Barkley having the freedom of the attacking third.
While Lukaku and Bolasie up front, their moment will be good, and can both move wide or come centrally.
Also Koeman can easily change the formation to 4 at the back, by taking out either Funes Mori or Oviedo.
Coleman, Williams, Jagielka, Funes Mori, Oviedo;
Subs: Robles, Holgate, McCarthy, Cleverley, Deulofeu, Mirallas, Valencia.
23 Posted 22/10/2016 at 08:39:47
I will be attending with an old schoolfriend the only person in our year at Wallasey Grammar School who did not support Everton or the Red Shite. He had no Burnley connections, but just liked the style of play of Ray Pointer and that skillful Burnley team of the early 1960s. Okay, maybe he just wanted to be different!
I have been advised not to wear my Everton scarf, as I'll likely to be ejected from the stand! I do not expect many goals, but am sure if we score 2 we will win.
Looking forward to West Ham next Sunday to complete my short North West tour with Everton double!
24 Posted 22/10/2016 at 08:44:08
25 Posted 22/10/2016 at 08:47:44
It's a long season, I know we're only in October, but we all know that the margins will be tight next May and without doubt we'll look back at past results. A point away at Man City is great; not many teams will get that, but if we want a European spot, we need to be picking up 6 points against teams like Burnley... that's why it's a must-win match.
26 Posted 22/10/2016 at 09:09:52
Did Man City hammer us? Or were they visibly faltering? Depends on the point you are trying to make I suppose.
Every team in the league would be delighted to go to City and get a point. By all accounts, City played well against Barca yet lost 4-0. >What would you rather do play well and get no points, or play not so well and get a point? You can play well without the ball and I thought we did, thoroughly deserved the point.
Anyway, I'm expecting a win today 3-1. And I don't care how we play. I want a win and I can almost guarantee that every Blue at Turf Moor today would take a win over a performance. Both would be nice but ultimately is about winning. Three points please.
27 Posted 22/10/2016 at 09:25:07
28 Posted 22/10/2016 at 09:41:56
Today could be a different game and the usual non-performers could shine, as the opposition is weaker than Man City. But that is not to say that Burnley are weaker than us. The result could go anyway, but I hope we can keep our momentum going with a win.
29 Posted 22/10/2016 at 10:22:10
Holgate, Williams, Funes Mori;
Coleman, McCarthy, Gueye, Davies, Bolasie;
It would be nice to give Barry the rest he deserves.
31 Posted 22/10/2016 at 10:52:33
He has been firm on Barkley, but may well recall him, but would he be equally tough on Jags? I doubt it, as he is our captain and has probably enough credit in the "bank" to keep his place. I would be surprised if McCarthy wasn't brought back in after his impressive showing last week.
This is a significant game, as we can't hide behind the fact that this team are not millionaire league leaders. The optimism of winning a point at Man City will be tempered by memories of the previous defeat at Bournemouth and lame draw with Crystal Palace. This result will tell us more about our team.
33 Posted 22/10/2016 at 11:13:29
34 Posted 22/10/2016 at 11:38:33
"We have got to stop fucking about with it when the counter punch is on."
Yes, couldn't agree more.
35 Posted 22/10/2016 at 11:52:07
36 Posted 22/10/2016 at 11:52:07
Ron is still testing some players out which is why I think he is ignoring the youngsters and playing the likes of Cleverley to see who he wants to keep and who he will move on. For me it is a case of picking up as many points as we can while he does this and not be too bothered how well deserved those points may be.
I am sure performances will improve as the season progresses and Ron learns who will form part of his future squad and who won't.
37 Posted 22/10/2016 at 11:52:51
1. It has been tried many times by various teams (including us) that you can't win games by trying to walk the ball into the net.
2. Barkley, Mirallas and Deulofeu are on borrowed time. Koeman will not put up with the rubbish these guys are spewing, week-in & week out.
Our defence seems good as does our attack. We have two problems we must overcome:
1. We need a fully functioning and creative mid-field set up.
2. We need other players who can score goals.
We don't seem to be playing as a team at the moment, just individuals. This is the poisoned legacy that was left to us from Martinez. The quicker we change this, the sooner we'll become successful.
38 Posted 22/10/2016 at 12:07:00
Barcelona walked the ball into the net against Man City without much trouble at all.
You will notice that, unlike most Premier League clubs, including us, who play with one forward they play with three top-class forwards.
Maybe if Rom had more support instead of a midfield of defensive-minded players that rarely cross the halfway line or make a forward pass, we would score more goals and win more matches.
39 Posted 22/10/2016 at 12:31:10
I'm sorry mate but I don't watch Barca. That type of football has always bored me.
Last week I watched the FA Cup Final from 1966. The massive thing about that game was how fast it was.
We are told by our illustrious media how fast the game is today. Utter rubbish! The 1966 game was end-to-end attacking football and NOT side-to-side boring crab football that all managers copied from Spain.
40 Posted 22/10/2016 at 13:14:54
Every time I see team selections as above, they far too often include the names of Barkley, Mirralas and Deulofeu individually, or, a combination thereof. I am hoping that the team selections are based on the fact that 'they are still here', rather than their technical ability!
I can't understand fans wanting these type of players playing for us and thinking they are going to produce the goods on a regular basis. Although, I cannot help feeling that today, one of the three mentioned will have a far too long awaited great game, only to be propelled into star status once more!
41 Posted 22/10/2016 at 13:28:01
They will be viewing home form as vital to keep them in the prem so we need to be bang on it from the first minute. Changes that we could make are Barkley maybe for Cleverly? Mirallas for Delufeou? Or could McCarthy come in? Be interesting to see what we do.
42 Posted 22/10/2016 at 13:41:17
We will need to scrap to gain control in the midfield which Ronald will know; if we do, then I expect us to win. If we lose, then it will be down to lack of effort I think it's that simple.
43 Posted 22/10/2016 at 13:53:24
It'll be interesting to see if Ross starts today... If he does, he needs to at least look like he's interested!
44 Posted 22/10/2016 at 14:03:31
25 Funes Mori
45 Posted 22/10/2016 at 14:07:23
46 Posted 22/10/2016 at 14:09:46
Burnley will work hard all day, that's guaranteed, so we will need players with some skill who will graft as well; Lennon is one of them.
47 Posted 22/10/2016 at 14:09:59
48 Posted 22/10/2016 at 14:12:37
Proof of our mettle beckons...
Koeman you Blues!
52 Posted 22/10/2016 at 14:26:16