Everton are returning to Premier League action on a high this week after winning both of their cup matches last week. One of those victories came against Manchester City, who happen to be their midweek opponent this week. This week’s fixture marks the second of three meetings against City in January, with both remaining games to be played at the Eithad.
Everton currently sit 11th in the table, while the Manchester club are in 3rd. With several injuries to contend with, Everton may have to stretch to get a result out of this one.
Joel Robles got both cup starts last weeks, but I don’t think that Tim Howard has lost his place just yet and will get the start in this one.
Leighton Baines got a rest over the weekend, but I expect the Englishman to return to the starting lineup on Wednesday. This means Brendan Galloway will likely return to his role on the bench.
Phil Jagielka made his return from injury last weekend against Dag and Red and the Skipper will likely return to the starting lineup here. This will move Ramiro Funes Mori, who sustained a head injury in the FA Cup, back to the bench. Jags partner will be John Stones.
The continued absence of Seamus Coleman creates an interesting situation for Everton. With little depth at the back it will likely fall to Bryan Oviedo to cover the right for the Toffees. There is also a potential situation where Tom Cleverley plays next to Gareth Barry in the midfield and Mo Besic plays right back, but this seems unlikely.
Another injury for Everton is James McCarthy, which opens the door for Mo Besic or Tom Cleverley to partner with Gareth Barry. Cleverley is expected to be fit for the match, but I think Besic put in a great performance against City last week and deserves the start here.
Longtime Evertonian Steven Pienaar made his return after a lengthy injury spell over the weekend and gives Everton another option on the left. That said, I think Kevin Mirallas is still the best bet for Everton on the left. The Belgian hasn’t been able to get it going much this season, but the big play potential is there. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Martinez field Arouna Kone or Tom Cleverley here.
I think that Gerard Deulofeu will get the start on the right against City. The Spaniard is probably the team’s most creative player and offers much needed flair. Another good option for Everton is Aaron Lennon.
Central Attacking Midfield
Ross Barkley is going to continue his CAM role for Everton. If for some reason Barkley couldn’t go, we would likely see Tom Cleverley or Leon Osman here.
Romelu Lukaku is another player that is expected to return from injury against City. If he’s healthy, Lukaku is the obvious choice, but if he can’t go Arouna Kone will be fielded up top for Everton.
Via – Lineup Builder