Coming off a solid defensive performance at Manchester City, Everton have a short turnaround, as they travel to London to face Chelsea on Saturday. The Toffees hammered Chelsea back in September 3-1. The team will look for a lot of the same as Everton try to add some scoring to their recent defensive form. Even with a few injury and rest to contend with, Martinez should still be able to field a strong side.
Martinez showed his faith in Tim Howard on Wednesday and the American rewarded the manager with a clean sheet. I think Howard gets not the nod again here, meaning Joel Robles will watch from bench.
Leighton Baines will likely continue his reign on left for Everton, leaving youngster Brendan Galloway on the bench.
With Seamus Coleman out due to injury, Martinez opted to field John Stones as his right back against City. Stones is versatile player who is good on the ball and I expect the Englishman to be fielded here again. Brian Oviedo is another option for the team at right back.
With Stones playing on the right, his central duties will likely fall to Ramiro Funes Mori. The Argentine will partner with the skipper Phil Jagielka.
Central Defensive Midfield
With the continued of absence of James McCarthy, Muhamed Besic should continue his partnership with Gareth Barry in the center of the park. We have also seen Tom Cleverley in this position, but Besic’s recent performances should be enough to edge Cleverley.
Chelsea have had a tendency to concede a lot of goals this year and I think the flair of Gerard Deulofeu is best poised to capitalize on this weakness. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Martinez decide to give Gerry a rest and field the speedster Aaron Lennon instead.
Even though Martinez continues to insist that Kevin Mirallas is an important part of the Everton plan, the Belgian see out games on the Everton bench. Instead, Leon Osman was given the start against City, but I don’t expect that become a trend. Another potential starter is Tom Cleverley, but the Englishman needs to pass a late fitness test first. Long time Evertonian Steven Pienaar is also available for Everton. Finally, we have Martinez’s most selected left wing player, Arouna Kone.
For me Kone is last in the pecking order because of his lack of versatility and creative ability. Even though Ossie and Pienaar always put in solid appearances for the club, I see their roles as more of game changing substitutes rather than starters. I think Mirallas and Cleverley both offer creativity and passing ability, but Mirallas gets a slight edge in his finishing ability. Because of that edge and Cleverley’s injury status, I’m pegging Mirallas on the left.
Central Attacking Midfield
Now back to the easy stuff. Ross Barkley is the obvious choice at CAM for Everton. Other options available here would be Steven Naismith or Leon Osman.
Even easier to call than CAM, Romelu Lukaku starts up top for Everton. Kone would then be Lukaku’s understudy.
Via – Lineup Builder