11/08/2023 92comments  |  Jump to last
Match Preview

Dominic Calvert-Lewin is unlikely to start but could play an important role off the bench this weekend

Everton kick off what might be their last full season at Goodison Park this weekend as the Premier League resumes again and the Blues take on Fulham.

It is Everton’s 70th consecutive season in the top flight thanks to the club’s latest great escape, which they executed on the final day of 2022-23 on the back of some huge results at Leicester, Brighton and Wolves and, of course, Abdoulaye Doucouré’s wonder strike against Bournemouth.

Despite the chorus of “never again” from supporters, the club goes into the new campaign once again short in key areas, not least up front, where Dominic Calvert-Lewin faces a pivotal year in his bid to maintain consistent fitness, and in central defence where Yerry Mina’s departure has not been addressed by a comparable new signing.

The hope and belief among many Blues is that Jarrad Branthwaite will be able to step into the breach created by the Colombian leaving on a free transfer but there is also a feeling that the defence lacks pace and the kind of dominance that Mina offered on the rare occasions he was fit.

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Branthwaite is coming off a hugely successful spell on loan at PSV Eindhoven and the fact that he started last weekend’s home friendly with Sporting could be a hint that Sean Dyche will entrust him with partnering James Tarkowski who has shaken off a knock he sustained against the Portuguese.

Nathan Patterson will likely get the nod at right-back while Ashley Young is expected to make his debut at left-back where he will provide enormous experience and initial cover for Vitalii Mykolenko who has not had the benefit of a full pre-season.

With Dwight McNeil out injured, the midfield largely picks itself, with James Garner, Idrissa Gueye, Amadou Onana and Alex Iwobi set to start with Doucouré playing off the striker.

Who that striker will be remains to be seen. Calvert-Lewin has only played two halves of pre-season football and Dyche hinted last week that that would not be enough even if the player himself feels ready.

Youssef Chermiti is expected to be unveiled as Everton’s third signing of the summer and will hopefully have been registered in time to be eligible for this weekend’s fixture but he won’t start having only just arrived.

That will likely mean Neal Maupay leading the line with what will perhaps be one of a few last chances to prove he has something to offer in a Dyche system before the transfer deadline.

Fulham were one of the surprise packages of last season under ex-Everton boss, Marco Silva, even if they went off the boil slightly in the final third of the campaign and finished a laudable 10th.

They had an excellent result at Goodison in April in what looked, at the time, to have been a hammer blow to the Toffees’ hopes of staying up but they come into the new season under something of a cloud with leading scorer and main danger man Aleksandar Mitrovic’s future up in the air.

Silva has been able to add Raul Jiminez from Wolves but he has not been the same player since coming back from a long lay-off following a nasty skull fracture.

Dyche, having enjoyed a decent record in home games since taking over from Frank Lampard in January, will be hoping to get off to a flyer with an opening-day victory that would go a long way to settling the nerves and providing a platform onto which further signings over the rest of the month can be added.

Kick-off: 3 pm, Saturday 12 August 2023
Referee: Stuart Attwell
VAR: Anthony Taylor
Last Time: Everton 1 - 3 Fulham

Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Patterson, Tarkowski, Branthwaite, Young, Gueye, Onana, Garner, Iwobi, Doucouré, Maupay


Reader Comments (92)

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Frank Sheppard
1 Posted 11/08/2023 at 06:09:26
I predict a 1-0 or a 2-0 home win. COYB.
Peter Moore
2 Posted 11/08/2023 at 06:22:30
I fear you are right about Maupay, but sincerely hope not. We know what he brings and what he doesn't bring. As he isn't able to lead the attack effectively, I am hoping Dyche springs a surprise.

I can imagine the febrile atmosphere if he gave a twin attack of Cannon and Dobbin a chance to start together and see if we can sweep away Fulham on a powerful front foot performance with the 12th man of Goodison playing its part.

I doubt such an attacking, brave, adventurous forward selection will be made. Instead, the subdued inner dread of misfit Maupay 'blunt-spear missed-headering' the attack will leave me hoping for another KITAP1 special. UTFT.

Sean Roe
3 Posted 11/08/2023 at 06:29:00
We still don't have a striker to score goals and our biggest other source in McNeil is out so 0-0.
Jerome Shields
4 Posted 11/08/2023 at 06:49:04
I think Dyche will do okay this season based on building on his attempted improvements on individual play and effective team organisation.

Due the results of poor club management over the seasons, Everton have had difficulty getting the players they need and are likely to fall short in this transfer window.

For seasons there has been enormous pressure on the centre-forward position. Calvert-Lewin has had mental and physical challenges as a result. This has not been helped by poor recruitment which has resulted in playing players due to their contracts, which has proved a barrier to replacing their under performance.

Really, Everton are back to hopefully "punching above their weight' as Moshiri adapted the Kenwright way of survival in the Premier League on a shoestring and the hopeful emergence of a greater fool. He may emerge okay, but will have spent more than the nothing Kenwright spent.

Ralph Basnett
5 Posted 11/08/2023 at 06:49:50
Why do other teams find and sign a player in a couple of days and two weeks later we are still dithering over a forward, it’s not that we need any more strength up front and this dithering is probably going to cost us the win tomorrow and will go for a bore draw.
Gary Brown
6 Posted 11/08/2023 at 06:57:09
Assuming Danjuma is still out injured?

Still expect Calvert-Lewin to start and get first 60 minutes-ish if he manages it. Other than that (and Dyche maybe going with Godfrey next to Tarkowski - who was the one who did start last week), I recon Lyndons prediction is unfortunately spot on.

Really don't like Iwobi in left-midfield, if Mykolenko was fit, I'd have liked to see Young there in front of him. Or most of all I'd have liked to see a narrow 4-3-1-2 used with no natural wingers available anyway (as big an issue as strikers right now).

Doucouré behind both Dom and Maupay (the latter could be transformed in a two), but Doucouré then swapping intermittently with each of the 3 midfielders behind. For me, I'd drop Gana to bench (ready to come on at 70 minutes to take us through the 100-minute games) and try Onana, Garner and Iwobi together there.

All smoke in the wind though… without a spare striker, that system would be abandoned as soon as Dom cracks.

Kim Vivian
7 Posted 11/08/2023 at 07:02:13
Question... because I'm damned if I can recall:

Have Calvert-Lewin and Maupay ever been selected together yet (on any rare occasion when both were available)?

Robert Leigh
8 Posted 11/08/2023 at 07:14:17
I think your lineup is right Lyndon, the difference being, if we have Calvert-Lewin, Danjuma and Chermiti on the bench, at least we have options to change the game and get a goal (or dare I say, even two!!).

No use in exhausting Calvert-Lewin first game out, it's a long old season ahead.

1-0 with a Tarkowski header, COYB!!

Jay Evans
9 Posted 11/08/2023 at 07:28:23

I love the first game of the season. Full of hope and minus all of the stress the end of last season gave us.

I was going to ask other ToffeeWebbers where the goals are coming from this season, but I genuinely think goals (plural) are something we wont be concerning ourselves with as I don’t see us scoring more than once very often.

Altogether now,
“One nillllllll to the Everton !”

Onward Evertonians. Full support. 💙

Garry Martin
10 Posted 11/08/2023 at 07:42:24
4 nil to EFC tomorrow.

Goals coming from Pickford (3) and Maupay !!!

Kunal Desai
11 Posted 11/08/2023 at 07:46:53
I fancy the duke to pick up where he left of the last game. 1-0. Just hope Mitrovic isn't involved for Fulham.

Not sure Branthwaite starts, think it be Godfrey or Keane. Dyche will go with PL experience.

Tony Everan
12 Posted 11/08/2023 at 07:48:51
Calvert-Lewin started both games for 45 minutes. He’s had another week in training so if that has gone well I think he will start the match. We will likely see him for 55-60 minutes.

The rest of the team will be as Sporting, apart from Branthwaite for Godfrey.

Patterson Tarkowski Branthwaite Young
Garner Gana Doucoure Onana Iwobi

Prediction, very hard fought victory.

Everton 2 Fulham 1

Danny O’Neill
13 Posted 11/08/2023 at 07:50:54
Another season, another start. Don't do to us what you have done to us these past two seasons. Just don't.

The manager seems to be quietly going about his business and protecting the players from the surrounding circus and deafening silence as he did when he came in.

We may just surprise a few this season.

Join the ride, it's going to be interesting as always!

Is it me, or has the "random" fixture generator long been abandoned by the authorities?

Sky generated Derby Sundays with Merseyside, Manchester or North London all on the same day?

And the Friday night opener being Burnley (Vincent Kompany) and Manchester City?

Very convenient and staged for the cameras. Can't wait for the punditry.

Anyway, it's Everton against Fulham tomorrow. That's all that matters.

Z-Cars, Spirit and Forever. I think I'll be humming and singing them throughout the night.

Maupay winner to clinch it.

Kevin Edward
14 Posted 11/08/2023 at 07:55:56
Fulham played some tidy football last season and this one will be a real test as an opener.
We know it’s going to be tight on goals, as usual if we don’t score first then a draw is most likely.
But it’s a fresh start so with eternal optimism I’m going for 2:0 Everton, I don’t care who scores.
A solid, no nonsense performance. Something to build on etc, etc.
It’s hard to believe that its the last season at Goodison, I hope it rocks tomorrow.
Neil Lawson
15 Posted 11/08/2023 at 08:03:27
It is truly ridiculous that a competent and experienced striker has not been signed. We are left debating who should be shoe horned in to the team to play out of position. Like others, I am anxious about Dyche's reluctance to give the young players a chance. Experience is fine but not if there are more effective options available. Safety first tomorrow methinks but it would be good to be surprised.
Brent Stephens
16 Posted 11/08/2023 at 08:07:30
Danny #13 "Is it me, or has the "random" fixture generator long been abandoned by the authorities? Sky generated Derby Sundays with Merseyside, Manchester or North London all on the same day? And the Friday night opener being Burnley (Vincent Kompany) and Manchester City? Very convenient and staged for the cameras."

I was thinking the same thing when the fixtures were announced for this season. Villa early season again. And they even pencil in the hoped-for scores for all these games!

Duncan McDine
17 Posted 11/08/2023 at 08:16:39
We have to get as many players on the pitch that could potentially score a goal from a set piece. I just can't see a goal coming from open play (for us anyway). If the charlatans running the club are there tomorrow, give them hell.
Paul Tran
18 Posted 11/08/2023 at 08:20:51
I love the first day of the season. My favourite was the 4-0 mauling of Newcastle with Cottee's hat-trick. Worst was that awful 1-0 defeat to a very poor Palace side. After the euphoria of Bilic's early goal that was then disallowed, we quietly watched a dreadful display that told us what was coming.

There will be lots of tight games this season. We'll win games we 'should have lost' and lose games we 'should have won'.

You know my thoughts on Dyche. Under-rated coach. A proper manager. He is now, thankfully, also the spokesperson for the club, in the absence of anyone else. I trust him and feel assured when I hear him speak. I never want to hear from our club management again, until its changed.

Whatever the result tomorrow, I think we'll finish 13th or thereabouts.

Tony Abrahams
19 Posted 11/08/2023 at 08:40:57
I also love the first day of the new football season Paul, so tomorrow is probably going to be a hard day for me. My one man boycott (although I know a couple of other very genuine Evertonians, who have made a similar decision to myself) won’t be easy, and definitely won’t make a blind bit of difference, but hopefully Everton get off to a good start.

Hopefully it’s me who has been the jinx, because I’d stay away forever if this was the case, and then thousands of fellow Evertonians, could begin to follow a genuinely serious football club, once again.

Jerome often speaks about finch-farm, not being a very serious place with regards to the players having a real professional attitude, but I get the feeling this is changing, and if I’m correct then this is something that should stand us in good stead throughout the season. Hopefully you can confirm this Jerome!!

Christopher Timmins
20 Posted 11/08/2023 at 09:06:23
Tony, I hope in the not too distant future that the much needed changes at top of our club will occur and you will once again take your rightful place among the masses.

Dom to start and Everton to win against a club who may suffer the second season syndrome.

Stu Darlington
21 Posted 11/08/2023 at 09:18:00
I hope we have learned a little from the last home game against Fulham.We were very narrow that day and they constantly had an out ball eiher side,and skinned us down the flanks.I know they have since lost Willian, but Silva out thought us that day and we paid the price for a very flat performance all round.
we need to be up for it from the first whistle,we musn't let them control the pace of the game.A clean sheet and a scrappy goal for us would do me nicely!
Brent Stephens
22 Posted 11/08/2023 at 09:28:05
Tony #19 "My one man boycott (although I know a couple of other very genuine Evertonians, who have made a similar decision to myself) won’t be easy, and definitely won’t make a blind bit of difference,"

Tony, get that sandwich board out. I expect to see you walking up and down Goddison Road with "The End Is Nigh, Bill" on your board.

Rob Halligan
23 Posted 11/08/2023 at 09:36:52
Stu # 21. I know Willian was a free agent in the summer, but didn’t he re-sign for Fulham again?
Dave Abrahams
24 Posted 11/08/2023 at 09:58:31
Brent (22, I don’t think Tony would put ‘Bill’ on that board but it would start with ‘B’.
Tomorrow I think Branthwaite will start, Dyche used Godfrey from the start last week and he didn’t stand out especially with his use of the ball not confident with using the ball at all, then Branthwaite started the second half and did well I thought, Keane wasn’t used until Tarkowski was injured.

As bad as Maupay plays as a hold up striker how is he supposed to do the job with two big defenders marking him and nobody backing him up when he does get the ball, I hope Dominic starts the game with Maupay and Dobbin on the bench and Garner starting the game and using his well aimed passes to players to run onto as well as covering Patterson. Fulham will miss Willian as well as their want away striker hopefully.

A hard fought victory and three points in the bag will give us a good start to the season.

Raymond Fox
25 Posted 11/08/2023 at 10:02:25
We are 5/4 favourite, thats about all I can say about it.
Stu Darlington
26 Posted 11/08/2023 at 10:11:53
You may be right Rob,but last I heard,he’d gone to the Saudi league or at least overseas somewhere.
Could be wrong however,has been known!
David McMullen
27 Posted 11/08/2023 at 10:12:31
Here we go again.. Glutton for punishment, what?!

Haven't the 'spare' cash these days so I'll be in my 'armchair' as ever shouting the blues on. I think we'll win this but our current squad is still woefully short, and short on goals. I hope this is being fixed as we speak. Maupay leading the line with Keane at the back fills me with no hope whatsoever. Fills me with dread!

Pre-season was a bit dull wasn't it? Well on to the proper stuff. Poor result v Fulham last season (one of many). Let's make Goodison a battlefield no team should be taking points from us at home unless they've been in a battle.

I do think Dyche will drag us up a level this season. UTFT's.

Dave Abrahams
28 Posted 11/08/2023 at 10:14:30
Rob (23) I think you are correct Willian signed for Fulham for another season then Fulham rebuffed an offer from Saudia for Willian two weeks after he had signed for Fulham so we do have to face the Brazilian wizard again.
James Marshall
29 Posted 11/08/2023 at 10:21:22
Morning all - does anyone know if there's a TW fantasy league this year? And if so, how to join it?
David McMullen
30 Posted 11/08/2023 at 10:27:38
Every year James I play the fantasy league, until the reality takes over. One day though we might win the league again!
John Raftery
31 Posted 11/08/2023 at 10:30:23
Lyndon, Branthwaite didn’t start the friendly against Sporting. He replaced Godfrey at the start of the second half.
Dave Williams
32 Posted 11/08/2023 at 10:40:04
Tony mate, don’t allow that lot in power to stop you from following your team. They won’t be there in any event!
The Portuguese lad has now signed so may be on the bench. I think DCL will start with Dan and Alex out wide and Onana,Garner and Doucs in the centre. Looks a half decent team to me!
Fingers crossed.
Iakovos Iasonidis
33 Posted 11/08/2023 at 10:47:31
1-0 would be fine. Scoring goals is obviously a problem, keeping clean sheets is the key this year. 1-0 wins brought us 4th place 2004
Mike Hayes
34 Posted 11/08/2023 at 10:55:02
Chermiti signed - gnonto next 🤷
Jack Convery
35 Posted 11/08/2023 at 11:11:05
and so it begins but where will it end ?

Kenwright OUT NOW.

A nil nil for me. I hope I'm wrong because these are the games we need 3 points from to stay up this season.

Kenwright MUST GO.

Alan J Thompson
36 Posted 11/08/2023 at 11:30:57
Is it a strategy or the usual Everton of today mess that nobody seems to know who is available for selection never mind the actual starting eleven, or if we might try for anything other than 0-0. Anyone remember when the opposition worried about what our team would be or which of our players they would try to man mark out of the game? Now it seems to be, if in doubt welly it down our end and get it back on the halfway line or from the long welly back to the lone striker or out wide on the left from Pickford's goal kick.

My hope, or doubt, is that the new Manager has had time to come up with something different, and not, "and now for something completely different".

Rob Hooton
37 Posted 11/08/2023 at 11:35:47
After a summer of trying to forget about football the bug is back and biting as ever, so looking forward to seeing how we fare tomorrow.

As goals might be at a premium I'll take twenty 1-0 wins right now and a relatively stress free season.

Trying to plan some trips to Goodison with my son and dad this season, imagine every game will be a sellout as the time to say goodbye to The Grand Old Lady draws near. There'll be a few tears shed over the next 18 months or so, hopefully not for what happens on the pitch!

COYB, I'm plumping for 2-1 (before we go on our 1-0 streak).

Jer Kiernan
38 Posted 11/08/2023 at 12:03:59
Maupay is stinking the place out, his performances tail end of last season and beforehand were appalling to almost comedic levels, 1 in 40 speaks for itself, another long season ahead and thats IF we are not used as a scapegoat on the FFP charges and deducted points

Thanks Bill, Thanks Miss Dynamite ;) The fans must not relent this clown is not welcome at Goodison Park and needs removing, I mean hes only had 30 years to prove himself, and prove himself he has


Alex Gray
39 Posted 11/08/2023 at 12:16:35
Going to be optimistic before moaning about us all year. 2-0 and Danjuma debut goal if he starts.

Barry Hesketh
40 Posted 11/08/2023 at 12:29:39
I honestly hope that Maupay has the opposite of second season syndrome and starts banging the goals in for Everton.

Examples of use:
You've been so quiet and Maupay that I've been worried about you.
Lawson, Jonell, Roses are for the rich.

They're not interested in people coming in and being Maupay around the training ground.
The Sun(2017)

You're moody on the inside and Maupay on the outside.
Times, Sunday Times(2015)

1. dejected; gloomy
2. aimless; idle
languishing, listless, droopy, or glum

As I said, I really hope he comes good, but it doesn't seem likely in Dyche's team set-up or given his general demeanour on most occasions.

Brian Wilkinson
41 Posted 11/08/2023 at 12:49:28
It’s all down to if Calvert-Lewin is part of the match team squad or not for me, if we can get minutes from both him and Dobbin as a swap, I think we have a chance.

If we go into the game with Maupay as the lone striker, with no Calvert-Lewin and also the injured McNeil missing, it is going to be a tough afternoon, no mugs Fulham, Willian destroyed us on the left last season, he is the one we need to get a hold off, then you have Mitrovic and Jimenez to worry about.

All down to our starting 11 tomorrow, I would start with Branthwaite going toe to toe on Mitrovic, but I think Dyche will select Keane and go with experience over raw talent.

Tougher opening game than people think, need a good end to the transfer window and players back, if we act before the window closes we will be fine, just need to ride the storm for now and hope and prey we can get more minutes out of Calvert-Lewin this season.

The only prediction I will make is a half cleared ball by their defence will fall to an Everton player, we will be out of our seats and watch in slow motion, as the player draws his foot back to crack it one, and still in slow motion the crowd shouting noooooooo, as Guaye cracks one into row Z

Jamie Crowley
42 Posted 11/08/2023 at 13:02:28
The opener is one of my favorite days of the year. Love it.

Will awake tomorrow, bar will be open in the searing FL heat. Both TVs with games on.

Tomorrow is an important game. We need every single point against our "peers" if we are to survive. Fulham is one of those peers this upcoming season. We can't drop home points to those other teams we mean to finish above.

I'm hoping Calvert-Lewin comes on around 60 minutes. McNeil out is a major concern, but I'm hoping we'll be ok with the rest of the squad fit as a fiddle and healthy. I'm also looking for "breakout" seasons for Onana and Garner. They're going to another level this season I'd wager. Both young and bags of talent in my opinion, I have high hopes for them both.

UTFT, let's do this.

Danny O’Neill
43 Posted 11/08/2023 at 13:12:04
Come on, Brian,

I more thinking about which song I go to sleep to tonight with the dogs before getting up very early in the morning. With the dogs to talk about the match ahead before heading off.

I can't choose between I guess that's why they call it the blues or the story of the blues.

I think I'll go for the former. More than life itself.

I totally respect everyone's views. I share them.

It is beyond belief that the two apparent leaders, who will likely be absent tomorrow, remain non-communicative. On our own again. Disrespectful. Distain.

I could use more colourful language but they can just do one. They should.

But when tomorrow comes, it becomes about the team and getting the result.

Brian Wilkinson
46 Posted 11/08/2023 at 13:58:16
Danny, if we do not get our fingers out, how about a blast of bad moon rising by Creedence Clearwater revival.
Tony Abrahams
47 Posted 11/08/2023 at 14:29:46
If I had an incurable illness then the end would definitely be nigh for both of us Brent!

Stu@21, I don’t think Silva out-thought us, I thought we beat ourselves by playing with a 4-4-2 formation, that day?

They passed it around because Everton never put any real pressure on the ball, in a game that I thought was our worst performance under Sean Dyche. (Along with United away - another 4-4-2)

I don’t think the mood was helped before the game when people heard Maupay, was in the starting line up, and even though we were very poor that day we still should have went in leading, only for Maupay missing a sitter just before the half time whistle was blown?

Brian Wilkinson
48 Posted 11/08/2023 at 15:06:49
Here’s another song for you Danny, B A Robertson, knocked it off, opening line of some of us have talent, some of us haven’t, with a chorus of

Knocked it off, you know I knocked it off
While I was sitting in the corner with my tracksuit off
I was hopin' I'd be playin'
But I never thought I'd be winnin' the game
You knocked it off. Yeah, I knocked it off
While I was standing on the goalline when the ball got crossed
I thought I'd have a go and shoot it
But I never thought I'd put it away.

Dennis Stevens
49 Posted 11/08/2023 at 15:20:08
That team selection looks like it would lend itself to the old Chrimbo tree formation - I don't mind getting an early present!
Brian Wilkinson
50 Posted 11/08/2023 at 15:21:13
On a finishing note Danny, I am leaving myself wide open for the most craziest suggestion, but if Calvert-Lewin does not make the bench, I would look to play Michael Keane as an emergency target man, he will win more headers than Jimmy Krankie, and if a half chance falls in the box he is not a bad finisher, until we get a proper striker playing there.
David West
51 Posted 11/08/2023 at 15:36:14
If DCL can't play a full 90min, does anyone else feel it would be better getting the first 45 out of him ?
Coming on with half an hour to go either needing a goal or chasing a draw can't really benefit the lad.

Surely it would be better physically for Dom to start after the full warm up ? It would be better for the team to have him from the start to maybe get a positive start even if he can't last the match.

Hope Branthwaite gets the nod.
I'd play Onana off Maupay if he's going to start. Tell Onana to roam, to get forward, carry the ball the way he has in preseason.
I think we will be solid, hard to beat but blunt still upfront If no DCL or danjuma.

With Danjuma, DCL, Chermiti and hopefully gnoto soon we may have a bit of threat.


John Keating
52 Posted 11/08/2023 at 15:42:03
We have to start Calvert-Lewin and Branthwaite.

Calvert-Lewin now has injury free minutes, says he feels good, start him and if he feels the pace at half-time sub him.

Branthwaite needs to play. He has to know he can be a regular starter at Everton. He is another we have to look to for our future. Left-footed, quick, tall as long as he continues to improve alongside a nasty Tarkowski, play him!

Bill Watson
53 Posted 11/08/2023 at 15:51:19
Brian #50

Totally agree. On TW, the season before last, I was suggesting using him off the bench, in a sort of Mick Lyons up front role, when we were chasing a game.

Paul Hughes
54 Posted 11/08/2023 at 16:34:58
Bill #53,

I agree with the 'Keane up front' shout too. Better target man and finisher than Maupay.

I remember Steve Watson getting a hat-trick as an emergency striker as well.

Jay Harris
55 Posted 11/08/2023 at 16:36:55
Pre-season, apart from the U21s at Tranmere, was clean sheets all round so I hope we can keep one tomorrow against a very attack-minded Fulham team.

Willan and Mitrovic are still with them and, according to Marco Silva, are fully committed to the cause, so it won't be easy. I would have felt more confident if Mina had been here but it's a lottery on who plays alongside Tarkowski.

For me, Godfrey is too small and poor in the air so Mitrovic will be too much of a handful for him. Michael Keane always has a fatal mistake in him but may be more suited to this game. Jarrad has the most promise but against scheming old heads, it may not be the game for him.

Midfield picks itself so tactics and forwards are the only debatable issue.

I hope Danjuma is fit. He seems to have settled in well at the club and is a bit of a character. I also hope Calvert-Lewin gets the nod even if it is only for 60 minutes out of 100.

I know Demarai Gray seems to be on the outs but this is an ideal game for him and, unlike Maupay, he knows where the net is, not that that will make any difference to Dyche.

This is a game which we need to target the 3 points but come to find Everton have drawn the most opening day fixtures in the Premier League so it's about time we changed that and the last 2 seasons' home losses to Fulham.

1-0 to the Everton. UTFT.

Billy Shears
56 Posted 11/08/2023 at 16:49:25
Another nervy 1-0 home win methinks, we need to pick up as many points as possible from our first four games...

Then the Gooners come to town. Gotta a feeling we just might be this season's stealth team!


John McFarlane Snr
57 Posted 11/08/2023 at 16:59:08
Hi Bill [53],

Playing Keane up front wouldn't be the worst decision, as you say, we have done it in the past with Mick Lyons, and Jimmy Gabriel.

It's my opinion that, with the exception of goalies, a decent player can operate in more than one position, some better than others.

Billy Shears
58 Posted 11/08/2023 at 17:05:45
It wouldn't surprise me if Maupay bags us the only goal of the game!

We must start to turn Goodison Park into a fortress again and perform much better on the road (be much braver),p icking up points early doors is key this season methinks.

Dave Ganley
59 Posted 11/08/2023 at 18:19:05
New season, new optimism, again, looking forward to being back at Goodison and looking forward to a win. UTFT
Garry Martin
60 Posted 11/08/2023 at 18:24:11
DCL On for first 45, hopefully bag 1 or 2 then take him off and play Maypay.
Maupay can't score goals but he will tie 2 defenders up which frees up other players to cause mischief in the oppositions defence.
Raymond Fox
61 Posted 11/08/2023 at 18:43:10
Its a game we need points off if we are not to be biting our nails at the end of the season again.

They are no mugs and we will be fortunate to nil them.
The players that Dyche has to choose from don't inspire much confidence that we can score many goals, that's our Achilles heel and everyone knows it.

What the result will be I've no idea, obviously I want a win but we may have to settle for a draw.

John Keating
62 Posted 11/08/2023 at 18:51:12
Busy time!!

Hibs v Lucerne Thursday good win!
Tomorrow v Fulham good win
Next Thursday in Lucerne for second leg! Good win

No rest for the wicked but it will be a great week!

Danny O’Neill
63 Posted 11/08/2023 at 19:43:49
A good sleep on the early train from Euston tomorrow morning.

A swift one in the North Western at Lime Street.

I'm going to take a swing past Bramley-Moore Dock to take it all in.

Then to the Saddle, on to the Harlech Castle and the Brick. If you are there, I'll see you.

Then into our home.

The customary trip to the Arkles for my Grandfather after the match.

Maybe time for one in the Crown before the train back?

Then sleep all the way home with a smile on my face.

I will leave at 7am and get home about midnight-ish as many others will do.

It's more complex than a military operation.

But always worth it. Who is not looking forward to this?

Let's go with confidence. It's our club and our team. Not theirs.

Apologies. I am in the zone.

Nick White
64 Posted 11/08/2023 at 19:48:18
Like a lot of earlier comments, I'm going for a 1-0 win and expect a fair few of them this season. My expectation is that we will be solid and hard to beat and pinch a goal in many games. I would love to see the win tomorrow. My prediction for the season is for us to finish top of the bottom half with Luton, Sheffield Utd and Wolves going down.

As posted above, I would say the Cottee debut hat-trick in the 4-0 vs Newcastle is my favourite opener. I'm so glad I was at a wedding for the 1-6 game vs Arsenal!

Danny O’Neill
65 Posted 11/08/2023 at 19:54:59
I always remember watching us get beat 4-1 at home to Tottenham on the opening day in the 1984-85 season followed by defeat to West Brom.

We won the league with the then most ever points.

I'm not suggesting that by no means, but tomorrow is a game of football. Win, lose or draw, it doesn't shape our season.

I will just be glad to be there.

David West
66 Posted 11/08/2023 at 19:55:22
Danny @63, yes, lad!! I admire your dedication. You won't be disappointed when you see how the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock is coming along. Let's hope you won't be disappointed with the result.

Hard-fought 1-0 I'm going for.

Mike Corcoran
67 Posted 11/08/2023 at 20:12:03
Danny @65, that's the one I remember too.

That season getting increasingly squashed on the barrier behind the goal in the Street End was the greatest season ever for 15-year-old me. Jonelle jumpers, Trim Trabbs, teenage discos, drinking and the greatest team in the effing world bar none that season.

Bill Watson
68 Posted 11/08/2023 at 20:15:37
Billy, #58

It'd certainly surprise me!

John Chambers
69 Posted 11/08/2023 at 20:23:17
Not sure we'll see much of Calvert-Lewin tomorrow. Just watched the video on the official site of training for tomorrow and no sign of him in any of the shots.
Derek Knox
70 Posted 11/08/2023 at 20:25:26
Seems ages since that last game against Bournemouth.

Going and hoping for a win tomorrow, but seeing Maupay as our option up front doesn't instil any confidence in me whatsoever. Hopefully be proved wrong, as long as we get 3 points on the board, I will be happy.

Hopefully see you in The Harlech, Danny!

Neil Copeland
71 Posted 11/08/2023 at 21:05:28
As always, I can't wait for the game tomorrow and to be back into Goodison for a competitive game. It's probably our last full season at The Old Lady but trying not to think about that.

Like many I expect, I probably won't sleep much tonight.

Also looking forward to seeing the usual faces and maybe one or two new ones tomorrow. To all Blues, travel safely and roar the team onto victory.


Robert Tressell
72 Posted 11/08/2023 at 22:00:07
Disappointing that Maupay is pencilled in to the predicted line up with only Doucoure and Iwobi in support.

I can't seem to find any injury news though. Presumably McNeil, Calvert-Lewin and Danjuma are all not quite fit to start (or possibly feature at all in the opener). But what of Cannon, Gray, Dobbin and (getting a bit more far-fetched here) Dele Alli?

I also wonder whether Dyche might go with a back 3 tomorrow (as he ended the season) rather than squeeze 4 or 5 central midfielders into a strange looking 4-5-1 formation.

None of this is ideal – and Fulham are no mugs – but I expect us to look fit, organised and commit numbers forward in attack.

Jay Harris
73 Posted 11/08/2023 at 00:06:01

Apparently, Dele Alli had a setback in training and is back in the treatment room. Danjuma had a mild knock but I'm hoping he is fit. He looked a bit of a character at Finch Farm and was doing his best Yerry Mina impression.

McNeil has strained ankle ligaments so we're likely looking at another 4 weeks and hopefully Calvert-Lewin is available despite Dyche poo-pooing the idea.

Gray hasn't trained at all preseason but I hope Dobbin gets his chance.

The less said about Maupay the better.

Alex Parr
74 Posted 12/08/2023 at 03:10:39
Looking forward to the start of a new season, hopefully some optimism now. To me, with Dom fit, we are easily a mid-table side. Yes, it's not Nil Satis Nisi Optimum to be happy with that, but it's a start for a full rebuild of the club, playing staff and support staff, with our move to a new stadium soon.

If I've got one gripe, I wish people would get a grip about the current boo-boys. I've watched the frendlies and the training videos and numerous matches: Neil Maupay may be limited as a player but he fucking grafts, he performs well in training by the looks of it. Does anyone think maybe it's the Goodison Groan that lowers his performances on match days?

Let's get behind whoever is on the pitch, and fucking support them. UTFT COYB NSNI

My team: based on who I think is available:





Crellin (not convinced at all by Virginia, give this lad a chance, unless he's on loan?)
Dobbin or Cannon
Maupay or Chermiti

Anyone going, loud proud and controlled aggression. UTFT

Ant Sorvoja
75 Posted 12/08/2023 at 03:36:43
Alex [74]

I fully agree with you that more than anything we need a positive mindset for the new season. I don't know how I would be able to cope with another season of despair, underachievement and last round miracles.

Hope Youssef makes to the bench. Wish we would have signed Yosser H and gave him a job to headbutt few in.

Sam Hoare
76 Posted 12/08/2023 at 07:41:27
I have a sneaky feeling Calvert-Lewin might start. And I'm hoping Danjuma is fit too and can play in his favoured left-wing spot. I hope he starts Branthwaite over Keane or Godfrey.

It will be a tough game, they all are, but Fulham missing Palinha is helpful and possibly Pereira too. I'm not sure of the situation over Mitrovic but I don't think he's featured for them in pre-season a great deal.

Patterson Tarkowski Branthwaite Young
Onana Gana
Iwobi Doucouré Danjuma

Tony Waring
78 Posted 12/08/2023 at 09:22:36
Nothing to dowith today's opener but I watched Burnley last night and was very impressed but for the fact that they have no attacking spearhead. They moved the ball quickly and accuratly. They will not be a pushover for the majority of teams this season. Remarkably I did'nt recognise one name mongst them ! All kids as far as I could see but Kompany has them playing some good football.
Brian Harrison
79 Posted 12/08/2023 at 09:29:55
I go to the game today more in hope than expectation, haven't really improved the squad much from last seasons disaster. Touch and go if DCL starts otherwise we are left with a choice of Maupay or Dobbin upfront who would have believed at the end of last seasons that these would be our options up front if DCL doesnt start. Probably Iwobi on the right and if fit Danjuma on the left, and neither are known for their goal scoring. I think it will be interesting to see if Danjuma is fit who does Dyche select as his midfield 3 between Garner, Gueye, Onana and Doucoure.

Just hoping for us to keep a clean sheet and nick one at the other end.

Robert Tressell
80 Posted 12/08/2023 at 10:19:52
Hope you are right Sam. If DCL and Danjuma are fit then I think we'll batter Fulham.
Dave Williams
81 Posted 12/08/2023 at 10:43:40
Sam- no Garner?
Eddie Dunn
82 Posted 12/08/2023 at 10:44:19
We won't be scoring for fun and I just hope that our backline can cope. A draw is on the cards.
Shaun Laycock
83 Posted 12/08/2023 at 11:12:52
I'm thinking a tight 1-0. Goal from Duke or set piece.

Will Mabon
85 Posted 12/08/2023 at 11:35:33
Graham Hammond
86 Posted 12/08/2023 at 11:48:13
I would have to agree with Brian Wilkinson, Bill Watson, and Paul Hughes in saying that I would rather see Michael Keane up top today if DCL does not start, I do not like running players down but Neal Maupay on his own up front is clearly not the answer and pointless, enough is enough. Funnily enough, I saw Will Keane (Michael's twin brother) play as a Striker for Preston in the week, he looked much better than Neal Maupay and far more suited to what we need and want from a DCL replacement. Anyway, back to today, I really hope Dyche gives Branthwaite the nod, I will be disappointed if he goes with Godfrey or Michael at the back over Jarrad.
Mick O'Malley
87 Posted 12/08/2023 at 12:10:57
There’s nothing better than walking down Priory Rd, heart full of hope for the first game of the season, I’m putting the last couple of seasons out of my mind and hope for better things as we plan for our ground move,let’s turn Goodison into a fortress again, one we’re the away team has to play out of their skin to get a result, I’m gutted at missing the RL Challenge cup final though, come on Leigh Leopards, first Wembley visit for 52 years, Come on you Blues 💙 UTFT
Tom Bowers
88 Posted 12/08/2023 at 12:25:05
Tony Wareing, spot on regarding Burnley.

A young useful outfit that will give many lesser teams than Man. City lots of trouble but without a decent striker may pay the penalty down the line much like Everton will do again without someone coming good this season.

Dave Abrahams
89 Posted 12/08/2023 at 12:30:39
Graham (86), With PNE signing Will Keane on a season long loan that may stop their interest in Tom Cannon.
Bob Wilkinson
90 Posted 12/08/2023 at 12:41:33
I'm 70 in December and been supporting Everton for well over 50 years now
I honestly don't think I've ever gone into a season as depressed as I am now with the club.
All I see is another season of struggling to avoid relegation and no end in sight to it for seasons to come
We go into the first game with doubts over DCL being fit, Chermiti probably signed too late to figure, Gray and Cannon probably not in the squad as they are likely to be sold or loaned out
Why do we all see this but the clowns in charge apparently don't and are happy for us to be going into what should be a winnable game with a weakened squad and this is likely to be the same for the next couple of games
I used to go into each season with hopes of Europe and/or a run in the cup competitions - now its just survival that's our goal
Dave Abrahams
91 Posted 12/08/2023 at 12:51:07
Mick (87) and Bob (90), I understand how you are feeling, got a bit of both today but I’m going with Mick and hoping this is the first day of the new Everton who will start with a win to give us some cheer and hope.

I hope Leigh win today as well, fifty two years since a visit to Wembley makes our record look half decent.

Andrew Keatley
92 Posted 12/08/2023 at 12:52:47
Sam (76) - Have to agree with Dave@81; Garner will surely start. Danjuma will be on the bench, but hopefully DCL is deemed ready to play 60+ minutes.

Harrison Reed always seems to save his best performances for games against us, so I hope Onana, Gana, Doucouré and Garner can put real pressure on him and stop him being busy.

Graham Hammond
93 Posted 12/08/2023 at 13:06:37
Dave (89), I googled Will Keane, it would seem he has signed a two-year deal with Preston having scored 39 goals over the last two seasons at Wigan. I cannot say I was surprised to read this! By all accounts, Ryan Lowe said that four other Championship clubs were all in for him. I am just saddened that we bought Neal Maupay and then having bought him we play him up top on his own, you just couldn't make it up. The named Referee and the named VAR Official just add to my worries today!
Bob Wilkinson
94 Posted 12/08/2023 at 13:07:05
Dave (91) I hope you are right as I want the very best for my team but realistically we are in a position where the majority of fans would be happy to avoid relegation

That's how far we have declined under Moshiri

Bobby Mallon
95 Posted 12/08/2023 at 14:04:05
Maupay oh I hope he proves us wrong but ffs we are at home and need a win
Tom Bowers
96 Posted 12/08/2023 at 14:05:38
Still a lot of ''loose ends'' at the club and we fans have little or no idea who is to figure this season and who will be sent packing.

Deals seem to be protracted always don't they.

Will we get to see Deli Alli, Gbamin or Gomes again in a blue shirt or will they be gone, who knows.

What we do know is today's probable starting lineup depending on who Dyche's preference is up top and in central defence.

It should be good enough to compete with a side like Fulham and if not then God help us.


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