All eyes will be on Morgan Schneiderlin who will be in the squad for Sunday's game
Everton return to Premier League action this Sunday hoping to get back to winning ways following last weekend's disappointment against Leicester City.
The defeat to the struggling champions not only ended the Blues' hopes of ending the club's long wait for silverware, it also closed off an important avenue towards European qualification, putting the onus on a strong second half of the campaign to see if Ronald Koeman's team can close the gap on the top six.
Everton's current berth in seventh place could be enough depending on who ends up winning the domestic trophies but Koeman is hopeful of finishing higher and his frustration with the slow pace of action in the transfer market spilled over in his post-match reaction last Saturday.
Since then, of course, Morgan Schneiderlin has followed Ademola Lookman through the doors at Finch Farm and both could be named in the squad this weekend, adding some extra spice to what already promises to be an intriguing match-up.
There is no doubt that there was a widespread feeling of deflation after the cup exit, with some proclaiming the season to be over, but as Schneiderlin pointed out in his first press conference as a Blues player earlier today, things can change quickly, particularly if a team can put together a string of victories.
That has proved beyond Koeman's team since September, the last time they won successive fixtures in any competition, but the introduction of fresh blood to build on the improvement that looked to be occurring over the festive period offers hope that better performances are forthcoming.
Whether Schneiderlin makes his full debut remains to be seen. The Frenchman hasn't seen any competitive action since coming on as an 85th-minute substitute in Manchester United's 1-1 draw with Arsenal in mid-November but, as he explained after being unveiled as the Blues' new £24m signing yesterday, he has been working with a personal trainer and is confident he can play a part.
Should Koeman feel confident enough to deploy him from the start, it's possible the Dutchman might err on the side of caution and partner him with the more experienced Gareth Barry in central midfield rather than Tom Davies in Idrissa Gueye's absence.
Barry was the target of criticism from supporters for a poor display against Leicester but with City's midfield and attack boasting so much quality, the manager may choose to shield the more raw Davies and drop him back to the bench. James McCarthy has resumed full training but might not be risked so soon after recovering from a hamstring injury.
At the back, it is expected Koeman will revert to a traditional four-man defence, with Seamus Coleman moving back to his customary fullback role after starting last weekend's game in a more advanced wide role. Like McCarthy, goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg is also back in training but might have to wait another week as well.
Further forward, there will, no doubt, be the usual conundrum over which of Kevin Mirallas, Aaron Lennon, Gerard Deulofeu and Enner Valencia should get the nod to play off Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley, with none of that quartet able to find much consistency as of yet.
The visit of Pep Guardiola's title-chasing outfit, one that sees John Stones back at Goodison for the first time since he was sold for £47.5m last summer, represents a difficult challenge for the Blues, particularly as they will be expected to offer more going forward than they did at the Etihad Stadium in October when they ended City's 100% home record by eking out a 1-1 draw.
City have not been immune to inconsistency themselves this season, though, and after losing to Leicester and Liverpool over the past month, they sit in fourth place, seven points off the top of the Premier League.
They showed their attacking strengths, epitomised by the likes of Sergio Aguero and David Silva, by walloping West Ham 5-0 in the cup last Friday, however, recorded routine wins over Burnley and Hull either side of their defeat at Anfield and also saw off Arsenal at the Etihad before Christmas.
Though they went down meekly in this fixture last season under Roberto Martinez, this is usually the kind of fixture that Everton get fired up for and with the prospect of a Schneiderlin debut and the uplift from promising moves in the transfer market, hopefully Goodison will be bouncing at the prospect of claiming a scalp this weekend.
Any slips by the likes of United — they play Liverpool in the other half of Sky Sports' cringeworthy “Manchester vs Merseyside” billing — Arsenal or Spurs and an Everton win would already improve the chances of the Blues intensifying the fight to finish in the top six.
Kick-off: 1.30pm, Sunday 15 January, 2017
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Last Time: Everton 0 - 2 Manchester City
Predicted Line-up: Robles, Coleman, Williams, Funes Mori, Baines, Barry, Schneiderlin, Barkley, Mirallas, Valencia, Lukaku
Full details: ToffeeWeb match page
Reader Comments (80)
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1 Posted 13/01/2017 at 21:01:54
Holgate, Williams, Funes Mori
Coleman, Davies, Schneiderlin, Baines(c)
Subs: Stekelenburg, Jagielka, McCarthy, Barry, Deulofeu, Mirallas, Lookman
I doubt Barry will bench though, plus I'd love to see Deulofeu start...
2 Posted 13/01/2017 at 21:17:02
3 Posted 13/01/2017 at 21:18:21
I think that line up will probably start. Hopefully against lesser opposition, he will try one or two kids starting or coming off the bench.
Regardless of the result, however, I fear top 6, or even challenging for it, has long gone
4 Posted 13/01/2017 at 21:21:08
6 Posted 13/01/2017 at 21:45:19
7 Posted 13/01/2017 at 21:51:23
Coleman, Williams, Funes Mori, Baines
Deulofeu, Barkley, Mirallas
8 Posted 13/01/2017 at 21:52:44
9 Posted 13/01/2017 at 22:15:56
They are playing extremely well and we will have to reach the levels of the Arsenal game to match them. Kompany is likely to start, so perhaps his lack of games might give us a chance.
10 Posted 13/01/2017 at 22:24:10
11 Posted 13/01/2017 at 22:24:12
12 Posted 13/01/2017 at 22:30:53
13 Posted 13/01/2017 at 22:36:32
14 Posted 13/01/2017 at 22:39:38
I think having two defensive midfield starters who have never played together before, never even seen each other play, and one of them an 18-year-old, would be suicidal against Man City's midfield. Agree with Lyndon that Barry gets the start.
And given that Barkley has shown not one iota of leadership, and in fact has just recently raised his game above "get-him-the-hell-off-the-pitch" levels, I'd say he's a loooooong way from the armband.
If you want a bold statement of change, give it to somebody who has earned it by coming up big consistently. Fella named Coleman comes to mind.
15 Posted 13/01/2017 at 22:43:00
16 Posted 13/01/2017 at 22:46:51
17 Posted 13/01/2017 at 22:54:52
18 Posted 13/01/2017 at 23:07:12
It's been a long day
And yes Don... Captain!
19 Posted 13/01/2017 at 23:09:59
20 Posted 13/01/2017 at 23:28:36
Top six? No. Evidence of progress yes. I want to see that by end of March.
21 Posted 14/01/2017 at 01:08:59
22 Posted 14/01/2017 at 01:16:29
We have improved in effort and commitment if little else, and surely soon are due a big performance. Not hopeful but I'm not dreading it. Looking forward to Sunday.
23 Posted 14/01/2017 at 03:33:07
Hopefully Schneiderlin is match fit. I wouldn't be surprised to see McCarthy start either unless, as Lyndon has suggested, Koeman doesn't want to risk him so early after his hamstring injury.
This is the team I would put out against Man City if available:
Coleman, Williams, Funes Mori, Baines;
Barkley, McCarthy, Schneiderlin, Davies;
24 Posted 14/01/2017 at 03:37:01
25 Posted 14/01/2017 at 03:40:02
“As a player and a coach most of the time I have been working in clubs trying to win titles, and that is no different now.”
That is the attitude I want at this club and every signing we make should be done with an eye toward achieving that goal. I still want to see much more from Koeman when it comes to the type of football we are playing with the players at his disposal.
This may not be a title winning side but it is far better than a side that should be losing to Norwich and dropping the points that we have. But the message that he's putting out, that the expectation for this club going forward is to compete at the top, that needs to be echoed by the supporters as well.
26 Posted 14/01/2017 at 03:43:43
Sky Sports News have him in contention, and it would be worth risking him for an hour at least, until Morgan has got to grips with the pace. He could then be replaced by Barry, who could give us the experience to hold out if we were still in the game.
Hoping for a close victory, realistically a draw
27 Posted 14/01/2017 at 04:52:23
Williams looked more anchored in a three, Holgate is the insurance with his pace.
Baines and Coleman look more composed as wing backs at their stage of their careers. Barry, Davies & Morgan in the middle. Balance there might just get the best out of Barry, athletic players around him. Barry sits, the other two in front.
Rom and Valencia up front. No room for Ross. A game like this were we have less of the ball passes him by. He is by common perception much poorer without the ball. Valencia by contrast is better without it!
If, and if we are in it with 30 mins left then perhaps Barkley, Deulofeu or Mirallas might help. But with most of them pissed at Ronnie for telling them they're done, don't expect anything from them but then... LookMan! 👀
28 Posted 14/01/2017 at 06:23:31
I haven't, and that would be a much faster recovery than was projected when he was hurt.
29 Posted 14/01/2017 at 08:36:03
We will need the extra body in midfield.
31 Posted 14/01/2017 at 09:10:43
32 Posted 14/01/2017 at 09:28:11
I would make Coleman captain or if he has the character, the new guy. Anything to wipe away that defeatest, "victim" legacy.
33 Posted 14/01/2017 at 09:42:39
Holgate, Williams, Funes Mori;
Davies, Schneiderlin, Barry;
I think that's our best chance of a victory. Davies has the experience of Barry and Schneiderlin around him and Barry has the legs of the others. It would give Barkley a bit more freedom to play in the right areas and if Coleman and Baines get forward I think we would have a good attacking threat without over exposing ourselves.
Barry would sit a bit deeper reading the game and not needing any speed which is lucky as he doesn't have any!! But it would also let Davies and Schneiderlin could get forward as well.
At the back we would have some pace in Holgate and would mean Williams can sit a little deeper and read the game as feel he is best in a 3 and means any mistakes by the back 3 would hopefully be covered by one of the others.
Whatever happens I feel things will be getting better from here on in, we need more deadwood gone and a few more in. I think it will be the summer before we start to see Koeman's team but we will get there.
35 Posted 14/01/2017 at 11:01:51
As the game progresses in the second half bring on Barkley for Barry and Lookman for Deulofeu.
Formation would be 3-5-2. Deulofeu floating about up front not midfield, Lookman would do that job in the second half. Good luck, Blues.
36 Posted 14/01/2017 at 11:39:06
Good game in the offing methinks... 2-2 draw... but it will feel like a win.
37 Posted 14/01/2017 at 12:49:20
No need to ask Evertonians to give him a great welcome onto the field, I know we will give him a lovely reception and make his day extra special.
Still hoping for a miracle for Bradley and his parents.
38 Posted 14/01/2017 at 13:21:35
Can't get to the game but count us in here in Bristol.
39 Posted 14/01/2017 at 13:43:33
I would like to see 3 at the back with Coleman and Baines given licence to roam up the wings but I'm not sure Koeman will do that. Barry I'm afraid is just too slow to cope with Sterling De Bryune Aguerro etc so wouldn't play him although again, I think he will play.
The big conundrum is attack. We are so short of option given how many players we have, just goes to show the lack of quality and consistency. I would like to see Deulofeu given some time in the No 10 role if we don't get anybody else in. It's where he plays for Spain U21s so what have we got to lose.
Tomorrow's team would be:
Funes Mori, Williams, Holgate;
Coleman, Schneiderlin, Davies, Barkley, Baines;
I don't think tomorrow is the time to experiment with Deloufeu in the 10 role.
Looking forward to tomorrow be interesting to see how they respond after last week. Still lots to play for. Koeman is getting rid of some deadwood with more to follow and hopefully some more quality coming in. I like the fact that Koeman isn't fucking around and telling players that basically they aren't good enough for this club something we have been missing for a while. If it hurts their feelings then tough.
I don't see Mourhino or old Red nose etc getting stick for telling that to players in the past. And don't start with this nonsense "in any other business you wouldn't say that" shite you can't compare football with any other business, normal rules don't apply. In any other business average workers don't get 50 plus grand a week either.
Koeman has brought some long awaited hard-nosed professionalism to the club and is bringing in his own players who will buy into how he wants to play, something most of the current players seem incapable of doing. If he has flopped this time next year then all feel welcome to have a go,until then give him a chance.
2-1 to us tomorrow to kick start us to go on a run...
40 Posted 14/01/2017 at 15:58:51
I totally agree with everything' you say there. Barry has deteriorated quite quickly and no longer has the pace.
"The best player on the pitch" last game is a shoe in alongside Schneiderlin who may not last the 90 minutes so I would have McCarthy as sub if fit.
Hopefully Schneiderlin Barkley and Davies can link up well in the middle and we can have Baines and Coleman bombing up and down the wings.
Could this be the turning point in our season. I just hope the 12th man is up for it too.
41 Posted 14/01/2017 at 16:20:26
42 Posted 14/01/2017 at 16:29:25
43 Posted 14/01/2017 at 18:15:04
Agree with everything you say, think Valencia although not ideal at No 10, will get close to Lukaku which he needs. We have to get at Man City at the back, don't give them time to build. When he went off against Leicester, Lukaku was a little isolated and at times we had nobody in the middle.
I felt the change of shape at half time didn't help either in a game we were controlling, despite Deulofeiu's assist !! We seem suited to 3 at the back at the moment, although it isn't my preferred set up. We may need Holgate's pace tomorrow?
44 Posted 14/01/2017 at 18:16:47
45 Posted 14/01/2017 at 19:00:46
46 Posted 14/01/2017 at 19:11:08
That is why I expect us to be well-beaten and why I would be delighted with a draw.
47 Posted 14/01/2017 at 19:31:31
48 Posted 14/01/2017 at 19:43:46
Maybe this is a chance to change it and start with Delefeu alongside Lukaku as a pair. Not playing out wide but keeping him alongside Lukaku.3 at the back 5 across the middle with Baines and Coleman wide.
Let the opposition think about us for a change. Man City's defence is not the greatest so why not give Stones and Otomendi something to think about?
49 Posted 14/01/2017 at 19:56:53
50 Posted 14/01/2017 at 20:09:52
51 Posted 14/01/2017 at 20:19:23
In my opinion, Barry, who has been a great servant, is a liability; he's too slow and not up to Premier League football.
52 Posted 14/01/2017 at 20:24:19
Funes Mori cant cope with quick feet and I would not play him against Silva and Aguero. Williams cannot cope with pace and I wouldn't play him either if we had a viable alternative.
We'll defend deep nothing more certain but that isn't necessarily a bad thing against City. They hate it.
We can win this, but we are going to have to show real defiance and we'll need the ball to bounce kindly for us.
53 Posted 14/01/2017 at 20:27:35
54 Posted 14/01/2017 at 20:58:52
Holgate, Williams, Funes Mori;
Coleman, Schneiderlin, McCarthy, Davies, Baines;
55 Posted 14/01/2017 at 21:25:24
56 Posted 14/01/2017 at 21:29:20
The reason I put McCarthy in was he is the nearest thing we have to Gueye as far as harassing the opposition and winning the ball. Given his recent injury record and the Ireland comments it may be that Koeman won't risk him.
If he doesn't I would put young Davies in central midfield with Schneiderlin and Lennon on the left of midfield for his work rate.
As Darren has said at #53, we need Lukaku to turn up for this. If he does, he and Mirallas will give City's back four plenty to keep them occupied.
I personally don't fancy us going 3 at the back against them. I think it would be inviting disaster.
I wasn't (for some reason) surprised by the Leicester result but I think we have a chance in this one.
57 Posted 14/01/2017 at 21:47:49
And Dave (#37), nice words, a real touch of perspective.
58 Posted 14/01/2017 at 22:27:31
Full credit to BIll Kenwright and the board for how they have stayed connected to this and what they have done they get a lot of stick but lead the way in this type of thing.
60 Posted 14/01/2017 at 23:40:52
We need at least 8 out of our 11 to be on top of there game tomorrow to get a decent result. Man City are a decent side but, if we have Goodison rocking, we can beat anyone.
Dave @37, always the man of reason for me.
In Ronnie We Trust.
61 Posted 14/01/2017 at 23:55:29
62 Posted 15/01/2017 at 00:54:35
63 Posted 15/01/2017 at 01:10:32
64 Posted 15/01/2017 at 06:34:52
Whenever we write a player off or a collection of drop the guy, they seem to knock a goal in. Wishful thinking but could be Barry's day.
65 Posted 15/01/2017 at 07:18:05
Playing Man City always makes me think of that rough 'oul blonde one who used to ring that fucking big bell at City games.
Her 'thinking' appeared to be "We've got a player called Colin Bell so I'll ring a bell... for 30 years."
One can only imagine what she might have done had City signed this feller Link
I also imagine she must hold some unofficial record for sentences aimed in her direction that begin "Why don't you shove that fuckin'..."
Up the Toffees!
66 Posted 15/01/2017 at 08:52:28
Big Ellen, she was called.
That bloody bell....
67 Posted 15/01/2017 at 09:19:06
Just looked out of my top floor window and glimpsed above the grey, the whiteness (and purity?) of Goodison. Like a sailor on a raft who glimpses a ship on the horizon and knows that he is "saved"... "Praise The Lord For Victory" said Grandma Joad.
I will be leaving home slightly earlier today early start and all. I am meeting a French TV crew at The Dark House (Le Maison Noir); they are making a short film about Everton Fans and TDH.
As you know, I always bring friends and artists from all over the world to TDH and Goodison and they had read some of the posts and seen photos on our Facebook Page (The Dark House Blues) and will be filming my match day routine at the pub.
I am always spreading the news about Everton with my work throughout Europe and I did some interviews for Reuters just before Christmas.
I love match day not particularly early KOs on Sunday bit of a rush to finish my stint as an Altar Boy at St Alphonsus but will manage it somehow.
Up The Blues and Cosmic Grooves All The way.
68 Posted 15/01/2017 at 09:49:35
69 Posted 15/01/2017 at 10:00:21
Praise the lord for Everton, George, especially when they win!
70 Posted 15/01/2017 at 10:04:24
I wrote that explanation for an Exhibition on TDH photos in Koln you can see them: Google my name and Koln/Colgne.
Off now best wishes.
71 Posted 15/01/2017 at 10:09:05
Mind you, it could be because you get that wellied, you can't find your way out!
There used to be some prodigious stay-behinds in that noble establishment... which would never happen now, of course!
72 Posted 15/01/2017 at 10:19:49
A bit embarrassing really, approaching 60 and I feel like a 6-year-old on Chrimbo morning, that's what the blues do to ya! My beautiful Mrs has offered to make me poached eggs for 11am brekky, served with ice cold export bevvies. Smart arse I hear you say, you would be friggin right too!
I won't bore you with my opinions. Suffice to say, it's time for a step up boys, no more fannying about. Big Ron has called it as it is, roll your sleeves up and give him a problem dropping you for the next game.
My heart and best wishes go out to Bradley and his family; when this club gets it right, it gets it right, proud to be a blue.
Enjoy your day, Blues.
73 Posted 15/01/2017 at 10:21:05
74 Posted 15/01/2017 at 10:21:31
Feel sorry for the kids, Ray, with these open-all-hours pubs... don't think you could beat a good stay-behind!
75 Posted 15/01/2017 at 10:41:23
Let's show 'em all we're not settling for seventh.
76 Posted 15/01/2017 at 11:00:01
Have to say the player who I love to watch is in the opposition today, David Silva an absolute joy to watch. Excellent first touch very rarely gives the ball away, and is always looking to thread the ball through for a teammate.
77 Posted 15/01/2017 at 11:47:08
I think today we have a free swing so why not attack them from the start with an attacking formation with Davies and Schneiderlin in the middle and Deulofeu / Mirallas and Barkley behind Lukaku. I guess it's like the puncher against the boxer... if we land an early blow, we might just have a chance! COYB!
78 Posted 15/01/2017 at 11:56:31
George won't thank me for saying it but he does great work with The Yellow House project.
79 Posted 15/01/2017 at 12:09:26
Can we win, of course we can its a game of football. I think we have to get on the front foot though; if we play defensive, they will kill us.
I'm backing us to draw the game, at best priced 3-1, I think that's value.
80 Posted 15/01/2017 at 12:26:34
81 Posted 15/01/2017 at 12:43:38
82 Posted 15/01/2017 at 13:14:27
Good for him. Good for Koeman.
83 Posted 15/01/2017 at 13:28:07
84 Posted 15/01/2017 at 16:19:45
To all you people who were asking to get rid of Koeman hang your heads in shame!!!
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