We have an unbelievably long injury list at the moment - but hopefully after the international break, we’ll get most of the injured players back.
That posses the question - assuming a fully fit squad - what is our strongest starting XI and bench?
To make it easier - I’ll put a list of our players below:
Goalkeeper: Pickford / Stekelenburg / Virginia
Right Back: Coleman / Kenny
Right Centre Back: Zouma / Holgate / Jagielka
Left Centre Back: Mina / Keane
Left Back: Digne / Baines
Right Centre Mid: Gueye / Davies / McCarthy
Left Centre Mid: Schneiderlin / Gomes / Baningime
Centre Attacking Mid: Sigurdsson / Dowell
Right Wing: Walcott / Bernard
Left Wing: Richarlison / Lookman
Striker: Tosun / Calvert-Lewin / Niasse
Personally - I’d go with the following:
Coleman(c) Mina Zouma Digne
Walcott Sigurdsson Richarlison
Subs: Stekelenburg, Keane, Baines, Gomes, Bernard, Lookman, Calvert-Lewin
Let me discuss the more difficult selections.
I think Zouma has been fantastic in his brief time at Everton. He has the physicality, height, ability on the ball and most importantly the pace. Keane has been very good too, but he just lacks that pace. Mina has to go into the starting line up - although I see him being eased in, rotating with Keane and Holgate. Holgate has been solid, but he’ll have to settle for 2nd choice back up for now.
I think Digne just offers more than Baines - only just. His defense is very good, which I like a lot. He has the pace and ability going forward, and has already got two assists from crosses. Baines to be used in rotation, very solid back up and will offer experience off the bench and when called upon.
Gueye is an ever-present for me - he offers so much energy, both up and down the pitch. Schneiderlin has started decently and is good on the ball, the most solid Centre Mid pairing for me, enough energy, physicality and creativity, with Siggy helping out too. Gomes off the bench is perfect - he’ll add that extra creativity and ability going forward. I wonder how good his defensive ability is - time will tell, whether he can replace Schneiderlin in the starting line up. Davies has struggled, and must work hard to get back into the team. Baningime, who I rate very very highly, could easily slot in for either of the central midfielders. Hopefully he’s back from injury soon.
I think it’s pretty clear who our first choice wingers are - they have been very good going forward, and their defensive work rate has been very impressive too. Lookman is very close, if any of them start struggling for form, he should come in. Bernard off the bench, either on the wing or at Centre Attacking Mid (potentially alongside Sigurdsson) offers something different, tricky and threat. Calvert-Lewin can do a job, but I’d prefer him up-top, either in a 2 with Niasse (pace up top), or by himself.
I’d go with Tosun as first choice - his hold-up play, pressing and finishing ability are very good. He brings the wings into the game and draws defenders. I don’t doubt his finishing ability at all, we just need to make more chances for him. Calvert-Lewin is breathing down his neck, with his recent performances - he offers a lot more pace, agility, and his heading ability is fantastic. I would have no problem in rotating Tosun and Calvert-Lewin up top. Or if we want to go 2 up top - then Calvert-Lewin and Niasse, for that extra pace and willingness to run. Tosun lacks the pace to be very effective at making runs.
That leaves the likes of Jagielka, Holgate, Kenny, Davies, Baningime, McCarthy (when back), Dowell and Niasse pushing for a spot in the team. The majority of which are youngsters and can play in the u23’s if not needed. Jags is a great squad player and is very important in the dressing room. Niasse is a nuisance and will always trouble defenses with his work rate and attitude. McCarthy could be a very good addition when he’s fit. Kenny is very unlucky to miss out, but with definitely play his part. Holgate too, still learning, but very good to have in the squad. Baningime is very solid, and will no doubt be in and around the team when fit. Davies really needs to refocus and develop his game a bit, he’s struggled for a while now - but I have faith he’ll get back to top form and push for a spot and fill in when needed.
What are your thoughts?
What would your best starting line up be?
Reader Comments (26)
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1 Posted 06/09/2018 at 06:42:00
My observations have been that this is not the case, quite the opposite, and when I recently read (belatedly) about his confrontations with Roy Hodgson in the England set-up, this only served to confirm the conclusion I had come to.
I'm also currently concerned by Coleman's form – he's not started the season well and I hope that Silva has the kahunas to bench non-performing senior players and give others their chance.
2 Posted 06/09/2018 at 10:12:08
Coleman - Mina - Zouma - Digne
Gana - Schneiderlin - Sigurdsson
Walcott - Tosun - Richarlison
Subs: Stekelenburg, Holgate, Baines, McCarthy, Bernard, Lookman, Calvert-Lewin.
Nice article to read, Gareth, reminds me of how much I dislike the international break!
I think we are finally in a position that we have options: Lookman for Richarlison or Walcott; Bernard for Richarlison, Walcott or Sigurdsson; Calvert-Lewin for Tosun... exciting times!
I agree with some with regards concerns over Coleman's form; Kenny is now breathing down his neck but it's also a case of Jonjoe's improvement.
I'm still not sure over Tosun, though his work rate is admirable. When we play Man City or Liverpool, I wouldn't be adverse to a front three of Walcott - Richarlison - Bernard.
3 Posted 06/09/2018 at 10:55:29
Kenny. Mina. Holgate. Zouma. Digne.
It's got to be either 3 centre-backs or two holding midfielders for me, simply because of how high Silva likes to push his fullbacks right up the pitch. I prefer to have cover already in place, so this is why I would line up this way... haha!
It's very rare to get your best eleven on the pitch and because it's a squad game nowadays, then this is the most important thing: to develop a good squad.
4 Posted 06/09/2018 at 10:57:31
Bernard – where will he play?
He's not a winger. He's a Number 10. Can he play Number 10 in the premier league? He struggled there in the Champions League so Fonseca (remember him?) played him on the left of a narrow attacking midfield three with licence to roam.
I've no idea how Silva will play him. He didn't do well at all against Bournemouth, looking well off the pace and suddenly he's “injured”. The big clubs had doubts about him because he's so small and slight. This is a major worry. More so now than it was when we first signed him. Sure he'd be great for Man City, in their setup, but we ain't Man City and we don't have Man City players.
Mina – where does he fit in? He's big and strong, but he's quick and he's slow. He's fast over 50 yards, he's slow over 10. He's very slow to turn. Can he play a high line and be turned or is it better to sit deeper? The high line in pre-season has been replaced with one slightly deeper and those issues in pre-season have gone. Until Mina plays, we don't know how he will do and if he is the best.
André Gomes – no one has a clue about him. He's a very Portuguese player. Portuguese sides nearly all play 4-3-3. There's no Number 10. They have one 6 and two 8's. We play 4-2-3-1, so that's two 6's and one 10. Will Gomes be a 10? Can he play as a 6?
At first I thought get him into a 6 position. If he can be disciplined then he can replace Schneiderlin and his passing is superb, really superb. But my mates who support Benfica say no. He can't play so deep he's terrible at defending and he goes missing too much. Also, he's brilliant in and around the box. That puts him at Number 10.
So suddenly we are back to last season. For Rooney, Klaassen and Sigurdsson, read Bernard, Gomes and Sigurdsson. How does it fit together? The main point for optimism though is Gomes is really an 8, Bernard likes to drift wide and Sigurdsson works hard.
If I had to bet my life on it, I would go with a change of tactics and the move to a Portuguese 4-3-3 with Schneiderlin deep as the 6, and Gomes and Sigurdsson as the 8s.
The thing is Silva wants options and variety and to play different ways against different teams. He's still working on a base formation for now. Expect surprises in a month or so as he nails this formation down and then changes it to beat better opposition.
5 Posted 06/09/2018 at 10:59:58
6 Posted 06/09/2018 at 15:18:57
I understand that the service hasn't been good to him and he has been trying his best this season. But I would expect more from someone who has been given the #1 striker role.
We don't have enough options up front. Tosun is basically the only striker who is Premier League standard.
7 Posted 06/09/2018 at 15:26:05
Zero drive from this midfield, I'm afraid, means we will not win enough games against lower sides and none against teams above us.
Priorities in January need to be a proper box-to-box midfielder, oh for a modern day Peter Reid, and a top-notch striker, this means abandoning the £20-£30M bracket, which we've recently shopped in and moving into the £50M plus market.
There's a lad at Torino, Andrea Belloti who would suit the Premier League, strong lad good in the air and puts himself about a bit and scores goals.
8 Posted 06/09/2018 at 15:29:44
That's very good ambition. I like it.
Definitely better than those who always believe 'good players who will not come to join us anyways'.
9 Posted 06/09/2018 at 21:35:23
In fact, Sigurdsson's pass completion rate has dropped alarmingly this season. He has averaged only 12.5 completed passes per game compared to 18.5 last season. When you consider that he has been in the No 10 role this season whilst mainly wide left last season, these stats portray an alarming drop in form.
Similar to Coleman he may be experiencing a post-injury dip. I cannot see him retaining his place for long with such stats.
10 Posted 06/09/2018 at 22:37:50
Walcott Richarlison Bernard
11 Posted 07/09/2018 at 13:27:29
As Steve F says the likes of Bernard, Gomes and Mina are yet to feature and their merit can only be speculated on. The first two especially may take time to adjust to the physical nature of the Premier League.
I actually think Zouma may prove to be one of our best players this season and he can't even get onto the Chelsea bench though he wants to return to London to give it another shot.
I guess what I'm saying is that the re-shaping of this team/squad has only just started.
I hope once all have bedded in that this may be our best XI towards the end of the season.
Kenny Mina Zouma Digne
Lookman Bernard Walcott
Assuming (hoping) that the likes of Kenny, Lookman and Calvert-Lewin get stuck in and make strides forward this season. Otherwise, you'd sub in Coleman, Sigurdsson and Tosun.
13 Posted 07/09/2018 at 14:16:17
I look at Leicester and see how Maddison is performing and wonder, could Dowell not have such an impact? I'd like to see a midfield of Gomes, Schneiderlin and Dowell.
I'd also like to see Calvert-Lewin given a chance as the central striker, he has more to his game than Tosun.
Also, Walcott can be brilliant, he can also be awful. So here both Lookman and Bernard can hopefully push him for a starting role.
But I don't think there will ever be a 'best 11'. So much will depend on the opposition, and on form.
14 Posted 07/09/2018 at 15:15:26
15 Posted 07/09/2018 at 15:17:57
16 Posted 07/09/2018 at 23:20:57
b) have actually played some games and shown some form
The answer is - Nobody knows...add in the fact that 3 or 4 of the previous managers didn't have a clue either, even after my conditions a & b had been met, you might as well draw the names out of a bag or let TW pick it.
17 Posted 08/09/2018 at 00:45:28
Tony #14, bollocks. Ramsey, Shaw, Barkley and Oviedo are back to what they were before. It just took patience. Two years are required for a full recovery. Larsson, Alan Smith, Cisse... people come back from this. Coleman will be Coleman again by next spring. And Gazza never broke his leg, he tore his knee ligaments. Completely different injury.
18 Posted 08/09/2018 at 01:42:36
While Gana is obviously a destroyer, positionally hes more like an 8 than a 6 by virtue of the fact he goes ball hunting, certainly off the ball, so Id say we play a 6, 8 and a 10.
19 Posted 09/09/2018 at 10:14:38
There has to be concerns over Yerry Minas lack of fitness, what kind of injury are we up against , will it be recurring?
Its obviously going to take some time before hes up and running anyway we may not even see the best of him until after Christmas.
With Bernard its anyones guess how hes gonna get on. Obviously he has the quality as weve seen but whether he will have the physique for the English league is another matter. Its too early to rule him out as being too small etc after not really shining against Bournemouth.
Again though I will say I thought he should have featured against Rotherham or Huddersfield and if he is still not fully fit by the end of September then you to delet I thought he should have featured against Rotherham or Huddersfield and if he is still not fully fit by the end of September/October then you start to ask why and what are the issues and if we are dealing with another Cristian Atsu type signing, lots of promise but nothing remotely fulfilled, only time will tell us.
Gomes could be anything from another Schneiderlin to a really great loan signing, its too early we just dont know.
Our midfield lacks pace and arguably since Barkley left the club we havent had anyone that can carry the ball or run with the ball even though he was frustrating.
Walcott can do this but from wider areas not really influencing the game from the centre areas likewise Richarlison.
Its hard to really pick at this stage the best team, hopefully by Christmas time the team will pick itself regardless of names or transfer fees the players will hopefully be playing well enough to pick themselves and hopefully we can have 11 that are playing well enough by that stage.
20 Posted 09/09/2018 at 11:40:58
These 3 are infinitely better than the players they have replaced, but that doesnt seem to be enough to convince the sceptics about Silva and Brands. They would rather speculate that the 3 that havent started a game Mina, Gomes and Bernard are either long term crocks or not up to Premiership quality. I am quite happy for all the sceptics to come back on here after all these lads have played 20 games then lets here your opinions, at least then they will be based on what you have actually seen rather than the perceptions you have about players you haven't seen play for Everton.
21 Posted 09/09/2018 at 12:51:14
Schneiderlin is not good enough for a battling defensive midfielder, or a ball playing one.
Sigurdsson is not good enough in open play to break down stubborn defences. Most of his assists and creativity comes from dead ball situations.
I for one hope that Bernard and Gomes have something about them because that midfield is an £80m mistake.
22 Posted 10/09/2018 at 00:25:26
23 Posted 10/09/2018 at 08:09:45
So my end of season XI (assuming new players settling well and young players pushing on – definitely will not happen for all) is:
Kenny Mina Zouma Digne
Lookman Bernard Richarlison
24 Posted 10/09/2018 at 10:56:53
Arteta was woeful in his first 15 minutes in the Premier League.
I must say that the 3 players signed by Silva and Brands who have started so far certainly look like first-team players... so every reason for optimism.
25 Posted 11/09/2018 at 19:44:27
26 Posted 11/09/2018 at 20:26:45
I saw that - looks like Lookman will start? And also unsure if Walcott is fit again... Hopefully this injury list is cleared soon.
Kenny Holgate Zouma Baines(c)
Dowell Sigurdsson Lookman
Subs: Stekelenburg, Browning, Mina, Digne, Bernard, Walcott, Niasse
Assuming Calvert-Lewin, Coleman & Gueye are out... and Mina, Bernard & Walcott are fit enough to play 30 minutes.
27 Posted 16/09/2018 at 10:42:45
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